International Businessman Recounts 10 Years of Torture in Prison (Part 2)
(Minghui.org) (Continued from Part 1)
[Editors' note: an accomplished professional in Gansu Province has been repeatedly arrested for refusing to renounce Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since July 1999. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison following his third arrest in May 2002. Mr. Han Xu, who is proficient in four languages, details the torture he suffered in this two-part series.]
Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison
At the detention center, someone who was in contact with the 610 Office told me that practitioners' cases, including mine, had been singled out as one of the 10 “big” ones in Hu County. Our verdicts had been finalized internally.
We were provided with free legal consultation before the trial. When I asked the lawyer if I could plead not guilty, he said that he was told not to do that. Thus, I decided to defend myself.
During the hearing, the judge refused to let me read my defense statement, but I did manage to say that I was tortured during my interrogation. They took my microphone and removed me from the courtroom. In the end, all 10 of us were sentenced. I was sentenced to a 10-year term.
While I was detained, I talked to the inmates about the principles Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and shared my food with them. In the winter I shared my clothes. The head of the inmates said that since Falun Gong is so good, they should learn to follow Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and to no longer beat newcomers.
Conditions were really terrible in the detention center. We would be given a bowl of vegetables cooked in water that had a layer of mud in the bottom of the bowl and a layer of worms floating on the top. Sitting on the cement floor in the winter, we shivered in the cold.
After we were detained in Hu County for eight months, the Public Security Bureau switched us between criminal detention and residential surveillance so that the five months of my initial detention did not count towards my term of imprisonment.
We were transferred to Chang'an County Workers' Nursing Home (also known as Xi'an Brainwashing Center) after we went on a hunger strike.
The Hu County Public Security Bureau confiscated money from practitioners with the excuse of paying the expenses at the drug rehabilitation center. They ordered me to write to the Lanzhou Public Security Bureau and ask them to deduct 3,000 yuan from the 10,000 yuan they had confiscated to pay the expenses in the center. I refused. The police also tried to have my bank account frozen several times, claiming that it was illegal money, but the bank refused. The 10,000 yuan was later returned to me after my family filed a complaint against the procuratorate.
I was transferred to Weinan Prison after being held in the Hu County Detention Center for eight months. The prison, which is also known as Shaanxi Province No. 2 Prison, housed criminals who were given indefinite or death-with-reprieve sentences. It is also where they “transform” male Falun Gong practitioners in Shaanxi Province.
The inmates in most of the divisions in the prison are forced to make boilers, while others produce children's clothes for export to America and other items to New Zealand. The inmates worked more than 10 hours a day, and those who did not meet their quota had to work overtime.
I was held in solitary confinement with two inmates assigned to monitor me around the clock beginning in 2003. I was not allowed to be in contact with anyone and the inmates had to accompany me even when I went to the restroom.
When I first entered the prison, I was told to work but I refused to. I told the guards that I did not commit any crime. I also refused to count off.
To fight for my right to do the exercises, I went on hunger strikes many times, the longest time for 25 days. I was then taken to the prison hospital to be force fed. A doctor who knew me told me quietly to give up on hunger strikes, because force feeding would be used to torture me.
So I told the education section chief and prison section chief that if something happened to me when I was force-fed, my family would file lawsuits against them. After that, the head of the guards force-fed me to assure that I was not mistreated.
The prison started to work on “transforming” Falun Gong practitioners in 2006 after learning “transformation” techniques from Masanjia Forced Labor Camp.
One day in a “transformation” meeting when practitioners who had been forced to write the three statements were speaking on the stage, another practitioner and I stood up and shouted, “Falun Dafa is good! Oppose the persecution!” Our voices could be heard throughout the whole building.
When the two inmates next to us recovered from our sudden outburst, they quickly covered our mouths and pushed us down on the ground. I lost consciousness. The guards handcuffed us and pulled us up by our collars. We were detained and tortured in an isolation cell for three months.
There is a long corridor in what is called the “forbidden division” with dim lighting and a small area for prisoners to exercise. Each isolation cell is about six to seven square meters wide with a CCTV surveillance camera on the ceiling and a squat toilet bowl below the camera. Those who are locked in these cells are let out twice a day to wash up.
During the summer, the cells turn into steambaths. Although there is a small window at the ceiling of the cell, one cannot see the sunlight.
Brainwashing with Torture
I was transferred to solitary confinement after three months, and three convicted murderers were assigned to monitor me. I saw a newly-painted yellow line in the cell with a sign hanging on the door that said outsiders were prohibited from crossing the line. The cell walls had slogans that slandered Falun Gong pasted all over them, and the only small window in the cell was covered with paper.
I knew they were going to torture me.
The leader of the inmates informed me that I could not step out the door unless I was “transformed” nor could I talk to anyone. I had to sit on a small stool from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily and had no access to anything except the “transformation” materials.
I was brainwashed every day and made to watch VCDs with a 10-minute break every hour and a half. However, I was forbidden to move. When the police officer who was in charge of the brainwashing session came to talk to me, I warned him not to torture me, or they would have to accept responsibility if anything happened to me.
When I sat on the small stool daily, I recited the Fa, which strengthened me and was comforting. When I wrote out my “learning experience,” I would write at least seven to eight pages about Dafa and clarify the truth. I wrote about 84 such articles during the seven months I was in the brainwashing center.
The inmates threatened me and refused to let me keep myself clean in August, the hottest month. When I protested the abuse and asked to see the guards, they had me fill out an application form, which they tore up after I had filled it out. They told me that the guards wouldn't see me unless I was “transformed.”
I had to endure seven months of that torture. Whenever a certain drug addict saw me, he mocked me for staying in the cell for so long. I later learned that the guards used him to torment Falun Gong practitioners and reduced his sentence for doing so.
I was held in the isolation cell in the forbidden area for another two months when I wrote a letter in the winter of 2009 about the abuse taking place in the prison.
I was told to sit on the cold tile floor during the day. At night, the cold would keep me awake, even though I was wearing cotton-padded clothes and covered with blankets. When woke up, I could only sit up with the blankets wrapped around me until morning. While I was in this cell, I was given only a bun and a mouthful of vegetables every day.
Once, the guards wanted to interrogate me when it was especially cold. I was handcuffed to the iron chair in the interrogation room for more than three hours, but no one ever showed up. The chair was icy and the window and door were open, and I almost froze to death.
Insults to Human Dignity
Apart from torturing me physically, they also insulted my dignity in an attempt to make me give up my faith.
When I was held in the forbidden area, I could not get water to wash, so I had to use the water from the toilet.
There is a button at the back of the toilet bowl and water would gush out when it was pressed. The front part is the area for defecating. When I first entered the cell, the inmate told me to find a cloth to wipe the toilet clean so that I could use the water from the toilet to wash my face.
Looking at the yellow-stained toilet, my stomach churned.
But in order to survive, I cleaned the toilet. When I was very thirsty before meals, I would press the button and scoop up a handful of water to drink while keeping my eyes closed. I could feel my stomach rebelling, especially when I remembered how I had been a key employee where I worked and was fluent in four languages, able to negotiate with foreign clients.
This was an insult to my dignity. I thought that, if I ever had the chance, I would have to tell my classmates, teachers, foreign friends, and clients what I had experienced in this, the 21st century.
During the 10 years I was incarcerated, I was able to endure it by having Master and Dafa in my heart. I was finally released on December 22, 2012.
Arrested Again and Brainwashed
I was arrested again in August 2017 by Gongxingdun Police Station officers for telling people about Falun Gong. They didn't show me their ID cards or tell me their names or where they worked. They ransacked my house without a search warrant and my neighbors were detained and had their houses ransacked when they couldn't find any evidence in my house. My laptop and printer were later confiscated.
I told officer Su Jun that it was illegal for them to search my house without a warrant, to which he responded that their boss was the search warrant.
I refused to cooperate when I was taken to Wuyuanlu Police Station to be interrogated. Eventually, Su printed my statement and told me to sign it.
I asked him why he didn't write his name and work unit on the paper before asking me to sign. I also told him to write down that searching my house without a search warrant was illegal and that the General Administration of Press and Publication had repealed the ban on Falun Gong books, which meant that the Falun Gong materials that I had were not illegal items.
I told him that I wouldn't sign it when he said that he couldn't report anything I said in the document. He said that it was fine if I didn't sign it. However, two police officers arrived, took my thumbprint and a blood sample, and handcuffed me to the iron chair for the entire night. The next morning, Su came in and announced that I would be held under criminal detention for 15 days and fined 2,000 yuan.
While in detention, I told everyone about Falun Dafa and persuaded a dozen people to quit the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its youth organizations.
One police officer wanted to debate with me about Dafa. When I finished explaining the practice, he said, “I can't win against you.”
Afterward, someone would shout “Falun Dafa is good!” whenever he or she saw me.
On the 14th day, the police were afraid my family would come looking for me, so they transferred me to the Gongjiawan Brainwashing Center. To oppose this, I went on a hunger strike. During that time, my elderly sister and brother-in-law tried to find out where I was.
The police called my family to tell them to come to take me home. Although I returned home, I am still being monitored.
During those nearly 11 years, I was fired from my job and my wife divorced me, unable to handle the tremendous pressure.
My sister, who is in her 60s, and brother-in-law used up almost all their savings to visit me in the detention center and in prison. My nearly 90-year-old father only had a disabled dog for company, so he looked forward to seeing me, his only son.
And I am only one among the thousands and thousands of Falun Gong practitioners who are still being persecuted for refusing to renounce their faith.