October 03, 2016 | By a Minghui correspondent from Hubei Province, China
(Minghui.org) Having endured eight years of imprisonment and brutal torture for his belief in Falun Gong, Hubei practitioner Mr. Feng Feng was released from the Fanjiatai Prison on July 5.
“I was routinely beaten and verbally abused, regularly deprived of sleep, and forced to stand or sit on a small stool for long periods of time for days on end. At Fanjiatai, solitary confinement and intense brainwashing are used as means to force Falun Gong practitioners to renounce their belief.” The newly released Jingzhou City native recounts his experience.
For not wearing the prison uniform, he was placed in solitary confinement for 76 days just prior to his release. He was not allowed to brush his teeth or take a shower, and was denied visitation rights.
Physical violence against prisoners of conscience is commonplace in China’s correctional facilities. Mr. Feng has been subjected to various torture methods, including shocking with electric batons, beatings, solitary confinement, and being cuffed and shackled in a fixed position for days.
The following is Mr. Feng’s account of his experience.
Arrested for My Belief
I started practicing Falun Gong in 2004 after I witnessed how my parents had benefited from it. I quickly regained my health and got rid of many bad habits. I became honest and considerate, and took on a whole new outlook on life.
However, my newfound spirituality attracted attention from the local authorities. I was taken from my home in July 2008 and sentenced to eight years in prison despite my lawyer’s efforts. The decision was upheld later by a higher court.
The only way to describe my days at Fanjiatai Prison is hell on earth. The torture and mistreatment that I have endured are unimaginable to others, but is truly what’s going on against the detained practitioners on a daily basis.
Beatings and Sitting for Long Periods of Time
I was taken to the notorious Fanjiatai Prison in May 2009 and placed in Division No. 4, where all Falun Gong practitioners were detained. I was monitored by two other inmates, who routinely beat me.
Because I refused to wear a name pin, I was forced to sit on a small stool for long periods of time every day for the entire winter in 2010. The cement floor made the cold winter even more bitter. I didn’t even get any warm water at the end of the day to wash with.
Torture reenactment: Sitting for long period of time
I was subjected to another round of sitting from June 2011 to February 2012 for more than 14 hours each day, all because I didn’t respond to roll call.
Shocked in the Mouth with Electric Baton
Torture reenactment: Shocked with electric baton
A few weeks after transferring to Division No. 8 in February 2012, division head He Kai, under the influence of alcohol, beat and shocked me in the mouth with an electric baton when I didn’t respond to roll call. The entire division of 150 inmates witnessed the violence.
I went on a hunger strike to protest it and was taken to a hospital and given IV fluids on the third day. After I skipped 19 meals, political instructor Fan Junru promised me that it was not going to happen again.
However, Fan’s promise was broken a few months later. In an attempt to get me renounce my belief in April, He Kai cuffed me and took me to a small office, where he pushed me to the ground and shocked me with an electric baton for almost half an hour. The pain was excruciating.
When He Kai finally stopped, I asked to use the bathroom and tried to get away. He followed me and with the help of another guard, captured and locked me into a small cell of only about 5 square meters. There was a cement block against one wall with a wooden board on top as a bed, and a bed pan in a corner where I relieved myself.
My feet were shackled and my hands were cuffed separately to the sides of the bed, leaving me sitting on the wooden board without being able to move much. The shackles on my feet were fixed to the bed with a lock. Whenever I moved my hands, the cuffs cut into my wrists and caused severe pain. I was kept in that position for the first three days and a total of 15 days in solitary confinement.
orture reenactment: Cuffed and shackled
Blood in My Urine
I was called to the Division office in the middle of the night one night in May. He Kai hit my back with two batons simultaneously and left me covered with wounds. I shouted for help and woke the inmates in that building. I managed to take the batons from He at one point but didn’t hit him back. Instead I handed them to guard Yu Hongwei, who had just woken up.
Another round of beatings happened just a few days later at the division workshop. He Kai beat and continued to kick me in the back when I fell to the ground. I later found blood in my urine.
Cuffed and Shackled for Seven Days
I was again taken back to a small cell by the end of May. I was cuffed and shackled, and locked down for seven days straight. I had not been allowed to sleep for two days prior to that.
My wrists had deep cuts by day six, but the guards didn’t care. The cuffs irritated the already infected wounds, with pus oozing out. I feel numbness in my fingers to this day, after more than four years. The scar on my right wrist is still visible.
It was already hot in late May and the air circulation in that small space was terrible. The mosquitoes almost ate me alive.
“You Can Be Jesus.”
He Kai took me out of the small cell at the end of June. He beat me as soon as we got back to our division. He cuffed my hands separately to the upper corners of the door, leaving my body hanging, and taunted me, “You can be Jesus.”
Torture reenactment: “The big hang-up”
I was cuffed to two windows in the hallway one time, with my arms spread out and two heavy wooden signs around my neck. Two inmates monitored me and made me stand the entire night. The heavy signs put so much pressure on my shoulders and neck and left me with permanent injuries. I still experience pain in my shoulders and cannot lift anything heavy.
He Kai came to me one afternoon in July and said, “I have tried everything on you but nothing has worked. I’m going to have to turn you into a psychopath.” With the help of the prison medic and five inmates, he shoveled a handful of white pills down my throat.
He Kai once told me that he was the most vicious of all of the more than 500 guards at the Fanjiatai Prison. However, his every attempt to make me renounce my belief failed. I was getting transferred out of his division. Every time he saw me before the transfer, He beat me. Right before the transfer, He beat me until I was covered in wounds and taken to the prison hospital.
The ill treatment didn’t stop just because I was hospitalized. The medical staff and the guards decided to only let me sleep from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m., and I was to stand for the rest of the 20 hours of the day. Four inmates took turns monitoring me. I was at the hospital for 10 months, from August 2012 to May 2013.
Torture reenactment: Hitting with a paper roll
I was taken to political instructor Chen Zhenming’s office after he returned from vacation. While an inmate held one of my hands, Chen slapped me until his hand started to hurt. He rolled up a magazine and hit my face with it, and caused a nose bleed.
Chen changed my schedule so that I could only sleep from 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. Later it was changed to just an hour, from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. I grew so weak that I couldn’t stand anymore, but I was not allowed to sit and could only lie on the ground. The sleep deprivation and standing for more than 20 hours a day lasted for a whole month, until I finally gave in.
I found out later that warden Zhou had given instructions to the division heads, guards, and inmates monitoring Falun Gong practitioners to do whatever they could to get the practitioners to renounce their belief. Zhou wanted a 100% transformation rate.
Denied Bathroom Use
When I was discharged from the hospital and transferred to Division No. 1 at the end of May 2013, I refused to perform hard labor and didn’t report my every move to the inmates monitoring me like I was told. I was not allowed to use the bathroom in the mornings until lunch break, and in the afternoons until dinner. I was made to stand for long periods of time and developed many bumps on my legs.
I didn’t participate in roll call and didn’t squat as ordered in November 2014, and was pushed to the ground and beaten.
Warden Huang Hai and inmate Liu Jun beat me in the summer 2015 because I refused to perform hard labor. Huang apologized later on.
For not wearing a prison uniform in April 2016, I was put into solitary confinement for 76 days. I was not allowed to brush my teeth or take a shower for 55 days.
Category: Accounts of Persecution