Falun Gong Practitioners Severely Abused in Lanzhou Prison

According to incomplete statistics, about 200 Falun Gong practitioners have been detained in Lanzhou Prison since 1999. Officials from the Gansu Provincial Political and Judicial Committee and the 610 Office (an organisation of special agents just for persecuting Falun Gong) made a rule in 2000 that all practitioners detained at the prison must go through an “education procedure” when they first arrive. They are then taken to different sections of the prison, where they are subjected to further abuse. Below are details of the persecution suffered by Falun Gong practitioners in Lanzhou Prison.

Persecution Upon Arrival at Lanzhou Prison

1. Practitioners are stripped and body searched. The guards search all personal belongings and confiscate Falun Gong books and stationary. Then they spray paint the words "Lanzhou Prison" on all clothing, confiscate all coats, and force practitioners to wear the prison uniform.

2. Practitioners have their hair cut.

3. Practitioners are forced to have a photograph taken for the prison's secret archive.

4. Practitioners have to sing Chinese Communist Party songs and learn about the Party. They have to recite the prison regulations and submit to brainwashing.

5. Practitioners are forced to do intensive labour, such as peeling garlic, picking seeds, knitting blankets, and so on.

6. Practitioners are forced to line up and do drills. Whoever refuses is punched and kicked by the inmates, who are incited by the guards. If they do not obey, they are handcuffed and hung up.

7. Practitioners are not allowed to talk to each other and are more restricted than the criminal inmates.

8. Practitioners are not allowed to study Falun Gong literature or talk to others about Falun Gong.

9. Practitioners are put in solitary confinement and small cells.

10. Prison personnel spy on practitioners when they talk with their families. Section leaders take notes on their conversations. Criminals are designated as personal monitors, to watch and listen to everything a practitioner does and says.

11. Practitioners are brutally force-fed if they protest by staging hunger strikes.

Practitioners from all parts of the province were detained in prisons in Lanzhou, Linxia, Dingxi, Tianshui, Jiuqian and Dingxi after 2004. Practitioner Bi Wenming died in 2005 as a result of being tortured in Dingxi Prison. In order to shirk responsibility, officials from Dingxi Prison did not detain practitioners again. The practitioners held there were sent far away, to Jiuquan Prison.

In order to pressure practitioners to renounce Falun Gong, the prison forces them to do hard labour. Prison officials assign three criminals as personal monitors to deal with every practitioner. The selected criminals are the most vicious ones. In order to carry out the quota assigned by their leaders, to “transform” [forcibly renounce Falun Gong] 98 per cent of the practitioners, they use very brutal tactics. They have used high voltage electric batons, rubber batons, and other instruments to beat practitioners.

Withholding Practitioners' Personal Money

In 2003 Zou Minjie, the deputy political instructor of the No. 5 Ward, said to inmate Zou Xiaodong, who was in charge of accounting for the ward, "The prison has a rule: all funds sent to Falun Gong practitioners by their families must be withheld." Over the last few years, prison officials or prison wards have pocketed all the money sent in by practitioners' families. Practitioners inside and outside the prison did not know about this. During those years, many practitioners sent money to Mr. Li Wenming, who was detained at the No. 11 Ward; Mr. Sun Zhaohai in the No. 3 Ward; and Mr. Qiang Xiaoyi in the No. 6 Ward. These men never received any money.

Arbitrary Denial of Visitation Rights

Prison officials monitor every visit and telephone conversation between practitioners and their families. The guards can terminate conversations at random or threaten visitors that they cannot visit any longer.

The prison authorities have locked practitioners into small cells and designated a dozen or so inmates to be their personal monitors. Then they force them to watch video programmes that slander Falun Gong. Guards also order practitioners to write “confessions.” Whoever shows any sign of resistance is beaten.

Officials from the Prison Administrative Bureau of the Gansu Legal and Judicial Department put up posters that slander Falun Gong in Tianshui, Lanzhou, Linxia, and Jiuqua prisons all year round and force practitioners to look at them. An exhibition of these posters toured all the wards in order to poison the minds of the criminal inmates. The posters showed how practitioners were “punished” with forced labour or heavy sentences in order to scare criminals, so that they did not dare to get near practitioners.

Practitioners were not allowed to phone their families. They were deprived of their right to communicate and attend outdoor activities. They forced practitioners to do high intensity labour, up at 6:00 a.m. and finished at 7:30 p.m., sometimes forcing them to work until 9:00 p.m. Practitioners had to work 14 hours a day, 6 days a week. This also occurred in the No. 3, 7, 8 and 11 Wards. Many practitioners in the No. 8 Ward wrote to prison leaders and the Procuratorate officials stationed in the prison, saying that this treatment violated the Labour Law. However, prison officials and the Procuratorate simply turned a deaf ear. Instead of investigating the allegations, they urged the No. 8 Ward to look for the practitioners who wrote the letters. When the practitioners were identified, they were then brutally tortured.

Forced Standing or Sitting

Practitioners were forced to stand or sit from 6:00 a.m., when they got up, until 10:00 p.m., the time they went to bed. After a period of time, their legs swelled and their buttocks developed painful sores. They were often punched and kicked by their personal monitors.

Small Cells and Solitary Confinement

The conditions in solitary confinement are extremely poor. In a room less than five square metres, the detainee has to get water for food and clean the toilet from the urinals. Every day, the detained practitioner is only given two steamed buns, each the size of a fist. In the room is a bare cement bed. In the biting cold of winter, practitioners have been kept outside and exposed to the freezing weather. In the summer, practitioners were kept inside their cell and all the doors and windows were sealed off, so the the cell was extremely hot and damp. According to the prison regulations, the maximum detention in a solitary confinement cell is 30 days. However, prison authorities have detained practitioners arbitrarily, long past the maximum.

In October 2005, Wang Zhongmin, the newly appointed director of the Gansu Prison Administrative Bureau, began a large scale campaign to force practitioners to renounce Falun Gong in an effort to get credit and seek rewards from his superiors. He also invited so-called "experts" in the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners from Beijing so that they could teach the local prison guards techniques to force practitioners to renounce Falun Gong. This included sleep deprivation, which supposedly resulted in a high rate of "transformation." These so-called “experts” said that sleep deprivation was low risk and normally people could not sustain if for more than three days. Since it doesn't leave any signs of injury on a person's body, the prison authorities did not have to worry that the families would seek legal redress.

A "transformation" team headed by Shi Tianyou, the newly appointed deputy head of the prison, was set up in Lanzhou Prison. Most of the guards were drafted in from other prison wards. They worked together with the most vicious criminals to work on practitioners. One small cell was specifically designated for detaining practitioners. Inside the cell was a television, which showed propaganda videos that slandered Falun Gong, and practitioners were forced to watch these programmes.

Xiao Bing, a guard from the No. 5 Ward, viciously persecuted Mr. Wen Shixue, a practitioner nearly 70 years old. Mr. Wen's health deteriorated after being tortured. As a result, he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and ended up partially paralyzed. After having forced the other practitioners to renounce Falun Gong, Xiao Bing and several others guards turned to Mr. Wang Youjiang. They took Mr. Wang from the hospital back to the prison ward and tortured him with the same vicious methods. They wanted to have a perfect "transformation" rate. When they failed to “transform” 100 per cent of the practitioners, Shi Mingyu, the head of the ward; Xiao Bin; and other guards put Mr. Wang Youjiang, who was disabled and unable to take care of himself, in solitary confinement for 45 days. Mr. Wang's health worsened. Practitioner Mr. Jiang Chunbin went on a hunger strike several times in protest of the persecution. Xiao Bing used various methods to torture Jiang Chunbin.

Other practitioners who were persecuted in Lanzhou Prison, and the abuse they suffered:

Mr. Cui Yonglin and Mr. Li Tianxiao were badly beaten by guards and criminals from the No. 1 and No. 7 Wards in 2010. They used rubber and electric batons.

Mr. Bi Yujie, 35, was an employee of the Shanxi Northeastern Aluminum Processing Plant. Guard Li Dexue shocked him with high-voltage electric batons in 2003. As a result, Mr. Bi almost had a nervous breakdown.

Mr. Zhang Tao was detained in a small cell for a long time and tortured in 2010.

After Mr. Yang Yinhai openly declared that the three statements he had written under brutal torture were null and void, guards in the No. 8 Ward threw him into solitary confinement for about half a year. When they released him, he was unrecognizable.

Personnel from the No. 3 Ward were unable to force Mr. Li Wenming to renounce Falun Gong in 2005, so he was transferred to the No. 10 Ward. Political instructor Dai Sixue of this ward tortured Mr. Li and also cuffed and hung him up for two months. As a result, Mr. Li suffered from general edema and began to have blood in his stool.

Luo Xianhu, the Party secretary of the Gansu Provincial Political and Judicial Committee; agents from the provincial 610 Office; Li Senzhu, the Party secretary of the Political and Judicial Committee in Lanzhou City; agents from the Lanzhou City 610 Office; the political and judicial committees, as well as 610 Offices at county and district levels and police stations, collaborated with the prisons to create a system for persecuting practitioners. They set a rule that after practitioners who did not cooperate with the persecutors or who did not renounce Falun Gong were released from prison, they would secretly be taken to the notorious Gongjiawan Brainwashing Centre by officials from the local 610 Office, police stations, and communities.

Falun Gong practitioner Mr. Niu Wanjiang was secretly picked up and taken to the Gongjiawan Brainwashing Centre at 12:00 a.m. on September 16th, 2005. Also taken to the brainwashing centre under the same rule were Mr. Guan Ziping and Mr. Yang Xuegui.

In order to cover up their crimes, officials from Lanzhou Prison destroyed the shackles that weighed 19 kilograms, which had already been banned, as well as their home-made handcuffs in August 2005.

In dealing with visits by human rights officials from the UN Committee Against Torture in 2003, Luo Gan, Party secretary of the Political and Legal Committee of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee, went to Lanzhou Prison ahead of the UN officials. In order to keep the detained practitioners from exposing the brutal persecution there, they secretly moved them to an abandoned confinement area.

When the Hongkong police came to inspect Lanzhou Prison in the summer of 2004, Lanzhou Prison officials used the same trick to deceive these visitors and to conceal their crimes.

Chinese version available at http://minghui.ca/mh/articles/2011/3/12/237450.html

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