Ms. Crystal Chen
Room 212 in the Tianhe District Detention Center, Guangzhou City, China, was the scene of Chen’s first experience of torture. She was 27 years old at the time and had been practicing Falun Gong, an ancient spiritual practice, for three years. Chen was arrested just days before Christmas in 1999, after handing in a petition letter at the Central Petition Bureau, expressing her wish for the persecution of Falun Gong to stop.
From that moment on, she continued to be tortured by prison guards for six long years. Escaping to Thailand and finally being accepted into the United States as a United Nations refugee has been a long journey for Chen. Now as she walks in freedom, she is committed to ending the persecution in China.
Guangzhou native Crystal Chen operated the largest textile trading companies in the region until 1999, when the persecution on her faith began. Her livelihood was torn away as a result and she was also detained. From then on, the local authorities regularly used salt torture and force-feeding to coerce her into denouncing her beliefs.
Only one thing in her life stayed the same — her faith in Falun Gong and its tenets of “Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance”.
The Chinese regime forced barbarous torture upon her in detainment, aimed at breaking her spirit. For 14 hours straight, Crystal Chen was beaten and insulted by guards. Their relentless abuse drove her to the brink of suicide.
Ironically, the Chatou Women’s Forced Labor Camp in Guangzhou City where Chen was detained was selected by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in 2005 as the “National Women’s Pacesetter for Ethics.”
Falun Gong practitioners are treated as slaves in China, Chen reveals. She was forced to do factory work for 16 hours a day, making anything from Disney merch to Christmas lights. Not only did the labor conditions mangle her hands, the guards also incentivized other inmates to abuse Falun Gong practitioners with an early release from prison.
In the CCP’s “cold genocide” campaign to eradicate Falun Gong, forced labor is only one of the tactics used to coerce practitioners into denouncing their faith.