Memoirs from a Beijing Women’s Prison: “I wish I was imprisoned in Auschwitz”

Ms. Xu Na, one of eleven incarcerated citizen journalists who practice Falun Gong.

Ms. Xu Na, one of eleven incarcerated citizen journalists who practice Falun Gong.

For persevering in her faith in Falun Gong and exposing the crimes of the Chinese Communist Party, Ms. Xu Na has been repeatedly incarcerated and tortured. Xu’s husband, Mr. Yu Zhou died in police custody just ten days after being incarcerated in 2008. Reports later emerged that he was tortured to death.

Xu is an award-winning artist and freelance writer. In 1995, she began practicing Falun Gong with her husband Yu, a talented musician and member of the popular three-person band “Xiao Juan and Residents in the Valley”.

Xu was sentenced in 2001 to 5 years in prison, enduring torture at the notorious “7th branch” of the Beijing Women’s Prison. She was also put in solitary confinement, deprived of sleep, not allowed to take showers, and denied family visits.

Ms. Xu Na and the late Mr. Yu Zhou

In 2008, while Xu and her husband were on their way home from a concert, they were arrested by Beijing police. After just 11 days in custody, Yu was dead. He was 42 years old.

Yu’s death in custody was widely reported by international human rights organizations and Western media, including Amnesty International, the New York Times and the Associated Press.

Authorities barred his family from accessing surveillance videos in the prison and from seeing his body. Xu was not allowed to attend his funeral and was herself sentenced to 3 years in prison.

Publication of Memoirs

On May 23, 2021, The Epoch Times Chinese Edition published Xu’s recollections of being tortured in Beijing Women’s Prison from 2001 to 2006.

Xu wrote:

“How I wish I was imprisoned in Auschwitz concentration camp, not a Chinese prison. Because in the Nazi gas chamber, people can die quickly, but in the Beijing Women’s Prison, it’s worse to be alive than dead. Repeatedly, you go through long sessions of torture…’

Various tortures were invented, such as splitting, pulling the legs 180 degrees apart, ordering three prisoners to sit on the legs and back of the victim and press down repeatedly. The police are proud of this invention: ‘This method is good because the pain is unbearable, but it doesn’t break the bones. [so it’s harder for people to know we’ve tortured them.]’

The purpose of the Nazi’s persecution was to destroy the body of the Jews, but the purpose of the CCP’s persecution is to destroy the spirit and conscience of the people.’”

During her incarceration, Xu also witnessed the death in custody of a 29-year-old female doctor, Dong Cui. Dong was often beaten in the neighboring prison cell and was tortured to death on March 18, 2003. 

Xu saw through her cell window police officers carrying Dong’s body away several hours later.

For reporting Dong’s death, Xu was punished and isolated in a small cell.

Many of Xu and her husband’s friends who practiced Falun Gong such as  Mr. Peng Min and his mother Li Yingxiu,  Mr. Huang XiongMs. Shen Jianli;  Ms. Li Li also died in police custody during this time.

Reflecting on her late husband, Xu wrote: “he didn’t want to die, but he was prepared to prove his innocence at the cost of his life.”

2020 Arrest and Sham Trial

On July 19, 2020, Xu was arrested along with 10 Falun Gong practitioners in Beijing simply for publishing photos of Beijing devastated by the coronavirus, which was peaking at the time.

The practitioners’ lawyers were denied certain rights protected by Chinese law, including copying court documents, requesting court documents, as well as being present during important case proceedings.

On April 2nd, 2021, the Falun Gong practitioners were indicted on the charges of “undermining law enforcement with a heretical organization,” a standard pretext used by the Chinese courts to criminalize Falun Gong practitioners.

Further Reading:

Video campaign for Mrs. Xu Na, who was kidnapped and detained by Chinese authorities in 2020.