Qiqihar Woman Remains Peacefully Defiant After Enduring Torture for Her Faith

Ms. Li Aiying (Li Erying), of Qiqihar City, Heilongjiang Province, continues to be harassed by authorities after completing an illegal four-year sentence in 2019. Li was arrested on November 4, 2015 and sentenced to four years for her faith in Falun Gong. In June 2016, she was then transferred to Heilongjiang Women’s Prison, where she suffered unimaginable torture and was nearly persecuted to death. Below is a personal account of the persecution she experienced.

Firsthand Account of Torture in a Chinese Jail

I was taken to prison on June 8, 2016. An inmate, Fan Xiumei, took me to the room and tried to make me put on the prison uniform. I refused. Later, Fan made me sit on a small, square, uneven stool about five inches high. I had to put my hands on my thighs, sit upright, and look forward. If I moved even a bit, I was kicked and beaten. I was forced to sit until 10 p.m. and not given any food nor allowed to wash.

Later at night, I slept on the upper bunk bed under Fan’s watchful eyes. When I awoke at 3 a.m. and began meditating, an inmate named Xiao Lili grabbed a stool and started beating me with it. I was pushed off the upper bunk.

There were nine people in the room and they tried to cover my mouth. When they failed to, they pushed me into a room with and began beating me. A group of people would show up, beat me for a while, and then leave. Then another group came and beat me again. I cannot recall how many times I was beaten that day.

On the third day, Fan told everyone in the room to really take it out on me or risk having points deducted from them or getting their sentences extended. Inmate Li Huafen then started to pinch me. She pinched me all over, especially my nipples, bruising me all over. Another inmate, Tao Yucui, used a shoe to hit me in the face and made my nose bleed. Xiao wore thick shoes and kicked my head countless times.

I went on a hunger strike on the fourth day. At the captain’s instigation, the inmates made things increasingly worse for me. They found 15 or 16 inmates and declared that they will have me “transformed.” They stood in two rows and started beating me. Some pulled my hair, some twisted my arms, and some slapped me until I was knocked to the ground. I fainted.

When I came to, it was already dark. I found a shoe on my face and the floor was wet. I realized that my hands were swollen and I couldn’t move my right arm or lift my legs. 

I lost the ability to take care of myself, but the inmates refused to stop and still forced me to sit on the stool. When I shouted “Falun Dafa is good,” the captain put me in a straitjacket and tied me to the bed with a few people monitoring me around the clock. I was tied up for three days and two nights and not allowed to close my eyes.

Then it got even worse. The police took two straitjackets and tied my hands, legs, thighs, and waist tightly and put a small stool under my buttocks. Whenever I shifted, the stool would go over on its side. It was unimaginably painful. Then I was hung up for eight hours, until nighttime when I was force-fed. By this time, I had no feeling in my limbs and my heart beat erratically. I did not have the energy to even open my eyes.

I was bruised all over but still forced to sit on the stool. When I could not, an inmate would pull my hair while another stomped on my feet to force me to sit upright. I could not close my mouth since it was so swollen from the beatings, and Fan rubbed my teeth with her shoes and used a broomstick to poke my eyes. When I refused to count off, the inmates kicked my back. I could not move my right arm or wear my clothes. My arm was dislocated.

To try to force me to give up on the hunger strike, the police instructed the medic to put the tube into my trachea. I nearly suffocated. Several people pinched my nose and force-fed me. The feeding tube broke my nose and caused excessive bleeding.

When my family came to visit me and saw that I was emaciated, they requested that I be seen by a doctor. I was taken to a hospital, where the doctor said that I had high blood pressure and severe heart disease and should not be beaten any more, that I could die at any time, and that I really should be admitted to the hospital.

On the Brink of Death

I was in the hospital for six months. When I returned to the prison, the captain instructed Fan to torture me again. As a result of the long-term abuse, I developed hallucinations.

One day, when I wanted to get onto my bed, I instead moved the other direction and fell off the bed. Several inmates carried me back to the bed but after I could not move. When I wanted to go to the restroom, inmates had to pull and carry me. The pulling fractured my femoral head and I again went to the hospital. I stayed at the hospital for over 40 days before I was taken back to the prison. 

In my heart, I had always felt that those who persecuted me were very pitiful. Maybe it was due to my inner kindness, some inmates had a change of heart and began help me secretly; inmate Li also apologized to me.

Due to the long-term force-feeding and being malnourished, I was unable move my bowels for half a month and also had difficulty urinating. This caused an intestinal obstruction, which led to stomach pain and pain in my ribs. In the end, my whole body was cold even during the summertime. The inmates had to wrap me up in a blanket and put a hot water bottle on me, but my temperature remained the same. Anyone who saw me thought I was going to die soon.

However, I was very alert and had a very strong faith. I told myself that I would not die. And then a miracle happened. I could feel a warm current coming out of my heart and spreading all over my body. I thought to myself, “I didn’t die. I’ve come back to life.”

The next day, I started meditating. The captain saw me and told me to stop. I said, “You’re violating the law.”

She walked off without saying a word. From her expression, I could see that she sincerely admired Falun Gong. After that, I got better with each passing day.

Li’s Family and Present Harassment

Li began practicing Falun Gong in 1996. Since the persecution started in 1999, she has been arrested five times and sent to forced labor camps twice. Her family was also implicated as a result of her faith. Her husband is in poor health and cannot work due to pressure from the authorities; in order to survive, her son left home and was nearly conned a few times while looking for work; her brother nearly lost his life while trying to rescue her; her sister had hallucinations when she saw her emaciated and had an accident that injured her head. 

Li was harassed again in December 2019 by the authorities during the “zero-out” campaign and pressured to write a guarantee statement, which she refused to do. In September 2020, the authorities harassed her via phone and ordered her to the police station. She refused to comply, so they went to her home on October 27, 2020, to get her to sign the statement. She wasn’t at home, so her husband signed it on her behalf. Signing the statement upset her husband terribly and he became more depressed.