Cases of Sleep Deprivation Being Used as a Means of Persecuting Falun Gong (Part 1)
(Clearwisdom.net) Among the methods used to torture Falun Gong practitioners detained in police stations, forced labor camps, prisons, and brainwashing centers, one of the most common is sleep deprivation. Practitioners are not allowed to sleep for long periods of time, and the longest reported has been for 50 days. This is not only torture of the body, but of the mind and spirit as well. The intention is to destroy one's will, get a confession, and make them give up their beliefs. Although there have been many reported cases, since this torture does not result in obvious physical damage, it has been taken less seriously by the public. In reality, sleep deprivation is one of the most insidious torture methods.
In the past 11 years of persecution, tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have been imprisoned, several hundred thousand have been sent to forced labor camps and detained in brainwashing centers, and countless others have been placed under house arrest, detained short term, or had their homes ransacked. Practitioners subjected to detention and who refuse to renounce Falun Gong have suffered different degrees of sleep deprivation. The number of reported cases on the Minghui website total 65,590 thus far.
Sleep Deprivation at the Beginning of Detention
After 610 Office officials and the police arrest Falun Gong practitioners, they interrogate them first to try to have them “confess” and force them to renounce their beliefs. Sleep deprivation is often used, and this does not leave any physical evidence of torture. They often tie up practitioners, beat them and threaten them. Alternatively, they try various enticements to try to get practitioners to give up their beliefs. When neither method works, they divide up into groups and rotate to deprive practitioners of sleep around the clock. When practitioners fall asleep, they are beaten, burned with cigarette butts, doused with cold water, their eyes are forced open, or their eyelids are painted with hot pepper water. The physical and mental torture goes on for days. Here are some examples:
Minghui reported on September 8, 2005 that a Falun Gong practitioner in Shanghai was illegally arrested one evening in October 2000 for distributing Falun Gong materials. During his 72-hour detention in the police station, he was handcuffed and his feet were chained to a chair. If he moved his arms, the handcuffs would cut into his flesh. Then he was moved to a small cell in the basement, where he was not allowed to sleep. In the middle of the night, the police resumed the interrogation, threatening and beating him.
Another practitioner from Shanghai, Mr. Lan Bing, was arrested in September 2001 by police from the Xuhui Police Department. He was interrogated and deprived of sleep at the police department. A bright light was pointed directly in his face. He was tortured for seven days, and he finally lost consciousness and was carried to the Xuhui District Detention Center. He was left on the cement floor and didn't wake up until three days later.
Mr. Du Ting, a practitioner from Shanghai, was arrested in Haikou City, Guangdong Province. While he was held in the Haikou Detention Center, he was interrogated with torture and deprived of sleep for more than ten days. After he was sent back to Shanghai, he was interrogated again by the police from the Minhang District Police Department and was not allowed to sleep. His wife, Ms. Fu Xiaohong, had been deprived of sleep continuously for 12 days while she was under detention. Later she was sentenced to one and a half years of forced labor.
At the end of 2000, Mr. Zhu Kang and his wife, Ms. Wang Ding, were arrested in Minhang District, Shanghai. Police officers Yan Weichun and Jiang Jingbo from the Minhang District Domestic Security Division brutally tortured them. Mr. Zhu was deprived of sleep for six days while being tortured. Ms. Wang was sent to a brainwashing session after over a month of detention in the Minhang District Detention Center. She suffered constant mental and physical torture, and on one occasion she lost consciousness.
In January 2001, police from the Hunan Road Police Station arrested Mr. Jiang Yong in Xuhui District, Shanghai. Police did not allow him to sleep for eight days. When Mr. Jiang fell asleep, they stripped off his clothes and poured cold water on him despite the cold weather, and then turned on the air conditioner in the room. In the meantime, they shocked him with electric batons.
Sleep Deprivation in Labor Camps
On July 22, 2005, Minghui reported that Ms. Zhu Xia, a 32-year-old practitioner from Chengdu City, Sichuan Province, had been detained for more than 18 months in labor camps and went through 10 months of brainwashing sessions. She suffered from long-term sleep deprivation, brutal beatings and intensive brainwashing. Once she was put on display by the CCP in a parade and publicly humiliated.
On April 2, 2004, Ms. Zhu was released, but she had already developed a mental disorder. She suffered from hallucinations and would cry, laugh, curse, or pound on windows and doors. She would urinate and defecate everywhere, rip off the bed cover, and often put her hands over her head and shout incoherently.
In the Kaiping Forced Labor Camp in Tangshan City, a doctor from the Zhaogezhuang Hospital was deprived of sleep for more than a month because she refused to renounce Falun Gong. She was forced to stand around the clock and drug-addict inmates rotated to watch her. If she closed her eyes, she was beaten. After a while her legs became swollen, and she was forced to squat with her hands holding her head. When she still didn't give in, they started to slap her in the face, and then shocked her with electric batons.
Ms. Zeng Qinfeng, 70, is a practitioner from Zunyi County, Guizhou Province. She recalled, “In the labor camps, the camp guards instigated the drug-addict inmates to force me to recite camp rules. After I told them that I could not read, I was punished by being made to stand for nine days straight without any sleep. They forced me to stand in different positions. After being tortured for a long time, I was so tired and sleepy, I lost consciousness and collapsed to the floor. After I woke up, they pulled me up to continue to stand. They pushed me to the ground a few times. They also pushed me against the wall. My legs became swollen.”
Mr. Zhao Dong, a practitioner from Chengde City, Hebei Province, was persecuted in the Shuangfengsi Forced Labor Camp, where he was deprived of sleep twice. Once when the labor camp found out that Mr. Zhao disclosed what had happened to him in the labor camp to the outside world, camp guard Zhang Wenjie handcuffed him without allowing him to sleep for several days. Zhang also put him into a small cell and shocked him with electric batons. Another time, Zhang did not allow Mr. Zhao to sleep for more than 15 days. Once when the camp guards saw him sleeping, they beat and shocked him with an electric baton. Later, Mr. Zhao's term was extended.
In the Tiantanghe Women's Forced Labor Camp in Beijing, the camp guards tortured every practitioner with sleep deprivation. One practitioner described her experience in the labor camp in 2007, “We were held in a crowded room for 18 to 20 hours a day, where the camp guards shouted loudly at us, defaming Falun Gong. When deputy director Chen Li saw practitioners getting weak from the torture, she said with satisfaction that they would continue rotating to torture practitioners to see how long the practitioners could stand it.”
On September 3, 2007, in the Tiantanghe Women's Forced Labor Camp, when Ms. Lin Shuying refused to renounce Falun Gong, camp guard Gong Xia ordered a few inmates to beat her. She had bruises all over her face and one of her teeth was knocked out. Then camp guard Xia Xi tortured Ms. Lin with sleep deprivation. Ms. Lin was only allowed to sleep for two hours a day. She was not given enough food and was denied use of the restroom. She was exposed to freezing conditions in the winter with all the windows kept open in her room. Practitioners Ms. Yang Yuqin and Ms. Lu Yulian were tortured to the point that they developed mental disorders.
On February 13, 2010, Minghui reported that Ms. Zhang Yijie, a former official at the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation suffered torture in the Beijing Women's Forced Labor Camp.
In the mid-1980s, Ms. Zhang and her husband were both appointed to positions as diplomats at the Chinese Embassy in Romania. In the early 1990's, after she returned to China, she was a division chief at the General Office of the Ministry of Commerce. She started to practice Falun Gong in 1994.
After the persecution of Falun Gong began in 1999, Ms. Zhang appealed to the government, and thus became a special target for persecution. Because she refused to renounce Falun Gong, she was detained seven times. Ms. Zhang was rescued out of China and now lives in New York.
In June 2001, under the order of Li Lanqing, head of the national 610 Office, the Beijing Police Department sentenced Ms. Zhang to one and a half years of forced labor. She was then sent to the Beijing Women's Forced Labor Camp. Later, her term was extended for ten months.
During her detention at the labor camp, Ms. Zhang suffered severe torture by sleep deprivation twice, once for 18 days, the other time for 42 days. In the meantime, she was also drugged and subjected to other torture. Ms. Zhang described her experience:
“During the 42 days of torture, I was forced to stand straight. Whenever my eyes closed, they hit my head with a baton. They also drugged my food so that I would not have a clear consciousness. Then they asked me to read materials that defamed Falun Gong. I tried my best to control my consciousness to skip all the bad things about Falun Dafa, but I started to get confused. Sometimes when I dozed off, the female camp guard directly put the drug tablets into my mouth.
“In July 2003, when I was released from labor camp, I moved slowly and my speech and mind reacted slowly, too. I had lost my memory and my mind was often in an empty state. Later, I resumed practicing the Falun Gong exercises, and after a long time I gradually recovered.”
Ms. Zhang Yijie
On April 8, 2011, Minghui reported about the situation of a family of five from Wuhai City, Hubei Province. The Peng family was a happy one and all the family members practiced Falun Gong: father Peng Weisheng, mother Li Yingxiu, brothers Peng Liang and Peng Min, and young sister Peng Yan.
However, Mr. Peng Min and Ms. Li Yingxiu were persecuted to death, Mr. Peng Liang was arrested seven times and detained long-term, Ms. Peng Yan was detained and tortured, and Mr. Peng Weishi developed a mental disorder after suffering long-term persecution.
While Mr. Peng Min was held in the Wuchang Qingling Detention Center, he was brutally tortured. His fifth vertebra and neck bone were fractured, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. He died at the Wuhai City No. 7 Hospital, and his body was secretly cremated on April 6, 2001. Mr. Peng Liang and Ms. Li were sent to a brainwashing center. Later, Ms. Li died at the same hospital.
Ms. Peng Yan is the youngest in the family, born in 1977. On February 28, 2000, she was arrested and later sentenced to three years in prison. On August 8, 2001, she was sent to Wuhan Women's Prison. After her brother Peng Min's and her mother's deaths were publicized on the Internet, the prison received an order to “transform” her quickly.
Since Ms. Peng refused to cooperate, she was forced to stand straight for at least 20 hours a day and only allowed to sleep for two hours a day at most, sometimes no sleep at all. She was also handcuffed to a steel gate in an awkward position for nearly two months. About 40 inmates were ordered to watch her around the clock. In May 2005, officials from the 610 Office directly participated in the brainwashing of Ms. Peng. She was also forced to do hard labor. In August 2008, she was confined to a small cell with her hands handcuffed behind her to a steel gate again.
(to be continued)