Women Tortured and Sexually Assaulted in Beijing’s Chaoyang Detention Center
A Chilling, Eyewitness Account of Medieval Brutality in a Modern City
NEW YORK, November 27, 2002 (Falun Dafa Information Center) — Mei Zhao woke up soaking wet in the freezing wind, shivering from the buckets of icy cold-water police guards were pouring over her head to revive her.
She had passed out from the torture.
Hovering in a dazed state somewhere between consciousness and unconsciousness, Ms. Zhao could no longer clearly see her tormentor, policeman Du Shijun, but she could hear him say as he reached for his electric baton, “Go ahead and report it to the world if you’re so resourceful! Jiang and the Party are running this country; I’m just following orders.”
Reminiscent of Pulitzer prize winning journalist Ian Johnson’s description of the death of 58-year-old grandmother Chen Zixiu in Weifang three years before, the beatings and torture Ms. Zhao suffered and observed while detained in the Chaoyang Detention Center in Beijing have become all too common over the past three years during Jiang Zemin’s persecution of Falun Gong.
The following is Ms. Zhao’s story as she reported it to the Falun Dafa Information Center on October 14, 2002.
Forced into the Streets, Family Persecuted
For the past three years, Ms. Zhao has been forced to live on the streets in order to avoid unrelenting harassment and persecution from local police simply because she practices Falun Gong.
When Ms. Zhao first left home to avoid persecution, the authorities arrested her husband to coerce him to provide information about his wife’s whereabouts. When her son went down to the police station to find out about his father and ask for his release, the police responded by ordering his school to suspend him. Then, in order to avoid further harassment and persecution, her son was also forced to live on the streets for the next two weeks.
During this time, in addition to struggling to survive, Ms. Zhao helped to produce and distribute flyers and other informational materials that reported the facts of what was happening to practitioners of Falun Gong throughout the country. Such grassroots efforts to disseminate information on the human rights abuses against Falun Gong practitioners in China are common as all TV, newspaper and radio stations are controlled by Jiang’s regime.
One day while Ms. Zhao and others were working at the materials production site, a gang of police broke in, beat all five practitioners severely and took them down to the Chaoyang Detention Center. Here, each practitioner was assigned to a different cell, and after they were given another brutal beating by the cell leader, they were stripped and made to stand against the wall. When Ms. Zhao asked the cell leader why she was beaten for no reason, the other prisoner replied, “The detention center guards told us to do it. Each Falun Gong practitioner is to be beaten upon arrival. You are no exception. Jiang gave the order from high above.”
Torture, Sexual Abuse Abound in Detention Center
Ms. Zhao says she was put into a cell containing 30 other Falun Gong practitioners from all parts of China. They had all come to Beijing to exercise their legal right to appeal to Jiang’s regime for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong. All were thrown into the detention center for their efforts.
Ms. Zhao recalls: “The police officers used all sorts of torture devices. Their methods were extremely cruel, including forcibly inserting electric batons into female practitioners’ vaginas and shocking them, applying electric shocks to sensitive areas such as palms, foot arches and nipples, burning women’s faces and pubic hair with cigarette lighters and inserting dirty socks into their vaginas and rectums.”
Ms. Zhao also reported: “The cries of the women being tortured often echo in my ears, and the brutal scenes still appear before my eyes. So many Falun Gong practitioners have lost their lives simply for speaking a few truthful words to the public–but Jiang and his accomplices will do everything in their power to prevent this truth from getting out.”
Ms. Zhao says a fellow Falun Gong practitioner, Yulan Mei, died from injuries sustained while being force-fed with a combination of dehydrated milk and a highly concentrated solution of salt water.
Ms. Mei’s death was reported by AFP on May 26, 2000.
Ms. Zhao Names Detention Center Tormentors
Ms. Zhao also provided the names of some of her tormentors, stating how police officers Du Shijun, Zhang Yingnan, Zhou Changwang, and Kang Jianjun handcuffed all Falun Gong practitioners and then forced them to stand outdoors in freezing temperatures for 12 hours at a time.
During the interrogation sessions, Du Shijun and Zhang Yingnan shocked the women’s breasts with electric batons and forced them to curse and step on the photo of Falun Gong founder, Mr. Li Hongzhi.
Ms. Zhao revealed how fellow practitioner Li Zhen’s eyes were beaten black and the entire right side of her face turned dark purple; how, while being tortured, one lady over 60 years old passed out many times, and another who was over 70 lost control of her bladder; and how female practitioners Tan Yingchun and Pan Dongmei from Guangdong Province were sexually abused while being interrogated.
To reveal these factual details of the torture and sexual abuse of women in the Chaoyang Detention Center, Beijing, would be a crime punishable by death in Jiang Zemin’s China. Therefore, to protect Ms. Zhao from the wrath and retaliation of those who are “just following orders,” her name has been changed in this report.