Death Toll Escalates as Transformation Attempts Increase at Wanjia Forced Labor Camp
NEW YORK, October 31, 2002 (Falun Dafa Information Center) – According to reliable sources in China, officials at Wanjia Forced Labor Camp have been making a concentrated effort to force a higher percentage of Falun Gong practitioners to renounce their practice and become “reformed” since June of this year. Officials in the camp have been using a variety of instruments of torture against practitioners, and observers have noted that the escalation in frequency and intensity of torture since June is directly linked to a large number of deaths of Falun Gong practitioners in the camp.
Recently, the persecution against Falun Gong practitioners has further escalated in both the Wanjia and Changlinzi Forced Labor Camps in Harbin City. Wanjia has applied especially brutal pressure, using a new method of torture that includes starvation, overwork, mental torture, and restriction of activities.
According to sources inside China, Wanjia Labor Camp is now holding several dozens of Falun Gong practitioners who have already finished serving their terms. However, the labor camp refuses to release those who will not write a “separation statement” denouncing their belief in Falun Gong. One instance involved 50 female practitioners who refused to write such a statement and were thrown into male prisoners’ cells to face abuse.
The family of one deceased Falun Gong practitioner formerly held in Wanjia quoted prison guards in the camp as saying, “…when a Falun Gong practitioner is beaten to death, it is counted as a suicide. The bodies are not to be identified and are to be directly cremated.” Other labor camp personnel told another family member, “According to government regulations, no compensation will be given (when a practitioner dies). A Falun Gong practitioner’s death is worth nothing.”
Following a campaign of terror involving 200-300 guards and several dozen armed policemen between June 18th-21st, 2001 in which dozens of Falun Gong practitioners were reportedly tortured severely and/or killed, the labor camp and other security agencies have taken great pains to block information.
In June, trials were held in the camp in which inmates and practitioners subjected to brainwashing who had cooperated with camp authorities to beat and persecute faithful Falun Gong practitioners all had their sentences adjusted accordingly. Some who had helped the guards persecute practitioners were released on the spot. Others had their sentences reduced by three to six months or even a whole year. In contrast, twenty practitioners who did not cooperate with the coercion had their terms extended in varying lengths from three months to one year.
Falun Gong practitioners being held at Wanjia managed to transmit a statement detailing the terror they have faced, which was sent to the Clearwisdom website overseas. The statement states: “During the past two years in custody we have suffered from all kinds of inhuman torture…some of which was caused by persecution from police and inmates. Several “night watchers” (inmates) often said, ‘We will not be held responsible even if we beat you to death,’ (and) ‘If we beat you to death our sentences will be reduced.’ They (prison guards) stop at nothing to persecute Falun Dafa practitioners. The main punishments include forcing us to stand up for a long time, sealing our mouths with tape, letting us starve, exposure to biting cold or standing in the scorching sun, hanging up in the shape of an airplane, being locked in a small cell, sitting on an iron chair, wearing handcuffs, being shocked by electric batons, beatings with clubs as well as cuffing and kicking. Incidents of Falun Dafa practitioners taking beatings have occurred frequently.”