(Minghui.org) Having suffered 3.5 years of frequent torture for not renouncing her faith in Falun Dafa, a 70-year-old woman in Chuxiong City, Yunnan Province, was finally released in December 2022. Now, over six months after Ms. Wang Meiling returned home, she still has persistent pain, especially in her lower back and pelvis. She also has headaches and often feels lethargic and drowsy.

According to Ms. Wang, the guards and inmates at Yunnan Province Second Women’s Prison did everything to make her life miserable in an attempt to force her to renounce her faith, which has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

They administered her with unknown drugs, sprayed her eyes with chili water, and physically assaulted her. She was in her late 60s while in prison, and was still forced to do hard labor with no bathroom breaks. The guards also restricted her drinking water and her washing up and laundry. Her pension and medical insurance (as part of her retirement benefits) were also suspended while she was in prison.


Summary of Persecution

Ms. Wang, born in 1953, lives in Chuxiong City and is a retired accountant from a local piston pin company. She learned Falun Dafa in February 1999. After the persecution started five months later, she suffered numerous arrests, harassment, and incarceration for upholding her faith.

Before her latest imprisonment, she had been put in a forced labor camp in 2002 for 3 years (her term was extended for eight months as she didn’t renounce Falun Dafa), and a prison in 2011 for 3 years. The following are the details of her latest arrest and prison torture.


Arrest and Home Raid

When Ms. Wang came home from grocery shopping on the morning of June 21, 2019, eight plainclothes officers who waited outside of her home grabbed her purse and keys. They forced their way into her home. One of them waved a piece of a blank search warrant in front of her. They said that someone reported her for handing out Falun Dafa fliers. Her computer, Falun Dafa books, fliers, DVDs, and paper currency printed with information about Falun Dafa (as a way to raise awareness about the persecution given the strict information censorship in China) were confiscated.

When the police dragged her downstairs after the raid, she shouted “Falun Dafa is good” in protest. The officers taped her mouth as a result.


Interrogation and Denied Visits During Detention

The police took Ms. Wang to Xicheng Police Station for interrogation. She refused to answer any questions. In the afternoon, she was transferred to Niujiezhuang Police Station. An officer wanted her to sign a list of confiscated items, she refused as she wasn’t allowed to verify what was taken from her. The police photographed her, took her to a hospital for a physical examination, and put her in Kunming City Detention Centre that evening.

Two officers from Niujiezhuang Police Station went to the detention center to interrogate Ms. Wang several times. They verbally abused her when she refused to answer questions.

The detention centre guards repeatedly forced her to squat down and stand up. She fainted from elevated blood pressure on the third day.

Ms. Wang’s family hired a lawyer for her soon after her arrest. But when her lawyer went to the detention centre to visit her in July, the guards didn’t allow him, claiming that her case was special.

The family filed a complaint to the supervising agency of the detention centre, only to be threatened by the police to stop causing trouble to them. The family did not back down. The lawyer was granted a visit to Ms. Wang in August.


Trial and Prison Sentence

Ms. Wang was indicted by the Wuhua District Procuratorate on October 17, 2019. She was charged of “organising cult organisation to sabotage law enforcement,” the standard pretext used to criminalise Falun Gong practitioners in China.

Shortly after Ms. Wang’s indictment, an official of the Wuhua District Court called her family and asked if they would hire a lawyer for her. The family inquired if they could be her non-lawyer defender and the official said yes. But when the family submitted their application, the presiding judge Qin Xiaoying demanded them to provide proof of no criminal record, which is not required by the laws.

Still, the family went to Xicheng Police Station to apply for such a record, and the officer refused to issue it. The judge hence denied the family’s request to represent Ms. Wang.

Ms. Wang’s lawyer and her family applied for her bail release three times between August and October 2020. The judge denied the application the first two times without giving a reason. The third time the judge denied it claiming that she might not appear in court once released.

The lawyer raised to the judge to have Ms. Wang released on bail during a pre-trial meeting on November 13, 2020 but was still denied.

Hours before Ms. Wang’s hearing on November 19, 2020, she was taken to Xinhua Hospital for a blood test and COVID-19 test and then taken to the courtroom, without having breakfast.

Her lawyer demanded the judge to recuse herself because she violated the legal procedures in several areas:

1) Ms. Wang had been detained for 13 months, long exceeding the 3-month limit, without official procedures to extend the detention
2) the judge denied the lawyer’s application to release Ms. Wang on bail without giving any reasons
3) the judge refused to let the lawyer photocopy her case materials before the hearing. The judge didn’t agree and proceeded with the hearing.

The prosecutor did not present any evidence during the hearing, nor did any witness appear in court to accept cross-examination. He also suggested giving Ms. Wang a heavy sentence because she was a “repeat offender,” as she had served a labor camp term and a prison term for practicing Falun Dafa before. The judge announced on November 23 to sentence Ms. Wang to 3.5 years with a 5,000-yuan fine.

Ms. Wang appealed with the Kunming City Intermediate Court. Her family again applied to represent her and demanded that the court held an open hearing of her appeal case. Yang Qiang, the presiding judge of the appeals court, also ordered the family to submit proof of no criminal record. Yang said that, even with the proof, she may still deny her family to be her non-lawyer defender, especially if they practice Falun Dafa themselves.

The family filed a complaint against Yang to both the Yunnan Province Procuratorate and Kunming City Procuratorate and demanded Yang to retract her decision. Neither of the institutes responded to the complaint. Without holding a hearing, the intermediate court ruled to uphold Ms. Wang’s original verdict on April 21, 2021.


Tortured in Prison

Ms. Wang was taken to the Yunnan Province Second Women’s Prison on May 19, 2021. For the first two weeks, the guards isolated her in the 8th ward and ordered her to memorise the prison rules and write statements to renounce her faith. She refused to do so. Instead, she wrote about how she benefited from the practice and how the Chinese communist regime persecutes the practitioners.

After Ms. Wang was transferred to the 9th ward, the guard assigned two prisoners (collaborators) to watch her around the clock. The collaborators dictated when she could wash up and use the bathroom in the mornings because the practitioners were not allowed to meet one another and had to take turns using certain facilities.

After she came back from washing up, she had to sit still on a small stool from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sitting in the position did a lot of harm to her lower back and legs and damaged the flesh on her buttocks. She could only use the bathroom three times a day, exactly at 10:30 a.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. The collaborators told her that she had to relieve herself in her pants if she had emergencies.

Ms. Wang was only given four cups of drinking water (less than 1 liter total) every day and relied on the collaborators to get her meals. She had to finish whatever and however much food they brought her.

After the sitting torture, the guards forced her to attend the physical training sessions in the mornings, for which she had to march or run, despite that she was approaching 70 years old.


Strict Management

Two months later, Ms. Wang was placed under strict management because she still refused to renounce her faith. The training sessions were then switched from mornings to afternoons to expose her to the baking sun. She had to sit on a small stool from 5:40 a.m. to 10 p.m. if she wasn’t in training.

Ran Tao, the director of the 9th ward in charge of persecuting Falun Dafa practitioners, shouted at Ms. Wang, “All of you who come here are criminals! You have the only option to plead guilty and transform! You don’t have a choice of not to give up Falun Gong. I’m here to eliminate Falun Gong!”

Ms. Wang tried to clarify to Ran that practicing Falun Gong didn’t violate any law and that the practice has been spread to the whole world but is only persecuted in China. Ran threatened that they had all kinds of methods to “straighten you out.”

Another guard Wang Xin slandered Falun Dafa during a physical training session in July 2021 and Ms. Wang tried to stop her. Wang Xin sprayed her eyes with chili water and didn’t allow her to wash her eyes afterward.

The guards only let Ms. Wang shower and wash her underwear and socks once a week. She only had seven minutes to do so. She was allowed to do laundry twice a month and wash her bedding once every other month. Every night she had little cold water to brush her teeth and wash her mask, face, and feet.

One day in October, Ms. Wang suffered from hypertension and dizziness and refused to go to the training session. A guard had her write a statement promising that she would obey the management. Since then she was allowed to have an extra cup of water each day and could wash up and go to the bathroom after reporting to the guards.

At one point a guard purposely prohibited her from using the bathroom at the time she was scheduled to go. She went anyway because she could not hold it any longer. A captain called her to his office and said that she violated the rules. He then threatened to put her back to strict management.


Filing Complaints

In December 2021, Ms. Wang received a reply from Yunnan Province Procuratorate regarding the complaint she filed from prison back in August. She explained in the complaint that she committed no crime for exercising her rights to belief. The Province Procuratorate told her that her case had been forwarded to Kunming City Procuratorate. The City Procuratorate replied to her family stating that it would not take her case.


Restricted Purchases

In addition to the physical persecution, the guards also restricted the practitioners’ purchase of daily necessities as a way of “soft torture.” Anyone under strict management was only allowed to spend 100 yuan (US$ 14) a month on daily necessities, not food.

Before making a purchase, the practitioner must fill out an application and state in the application that she broke the laws for practicing Falun Dafa. Without the statement, the guard would deny the application. In other words, a steadfast practitioner would never be able to buy necessities such as tissue paper or sanitary napkins. When under strict management, Ms. Wang had to use the used tissue papers from other prisoners for a month.


Guards Instigate Collaborators to Abuse Practitioners Around the Clock

The collaborators would come up with various ideas to torture the practitioners in an attempt to please the guards so that they could earn points for reduced prison terms. They’d verbally insult the practitioners, or make the practitioners’ everyday routine as difficult as possible.

The collaborators assigned to watch Ms. Wang would not report to the guard when she needed to use the bathroom outside of the scheduled times. They’d postpone it for as long as possible, and when she finally got to use the bathroom, they’d rush and yell at her to quickly get out. This caused her mental distress and resulted in her abnormal urination and bowel movements.

During the scheduled weekly shower time, the collaborators would do the same. They’d shout at her saying that her time was up or she’s used too much water, which needed to be deducted from her next shower time. She would panic and could not finish a shower or wash her underwear properly.

One night in October 2021, Ms. Wang wasn’t allowed to wash up until everyone else had finished. While she was washing, the inmates began to verbally abuse her, accusing her of washing herself so late and affecting their sleep.

Ms. Wang went on a hunger strike the next day to protest the persecution. She noticed that the drinking water the collaborators got her tasted funny. For several days, she felt terrible and drowsy after drinking the water. She then found out that the collaborators gave the water to a guard before giving it to her. Knowing that the guard must have added a toxic substance to it, she refused to drink the water. The collaborators then stopped giving her water to the guard, and her dizziness went away.

One weekend, one of the collaborators purposely pushed her while she was doing laundry. She fell and hurt her back, which worsened her back pain.

One of the collaborators who was assigned to watch Ms. Wang in February 2022 was a drug dealer from Myanmar. She would not give Ms. Wang hot water in the winter, even though the guard had agreed to do so. Once she told Ms. Wang that after she was released, she’d report every practitioner she met to the police. The other collaborator got violent with Ms. Wang even if she just asked for a cup of water.

Two other collaborators were assigned to watch Ms. Wang in June. They’d force her to squat down or bend over to wash and clean the cell, knowing that she had hypertension and severe back pain. When she could not physically do so, they’d threaten her. She tried to report them to the guards, and they pushed her to the ground.

For years the guards purposely incited the inmates’ hatred toward the practitioners by implicating the inmates while torturing the practitioners. Some inmates blamed the practitioners for not quitting their beliefs and caused them to suffer.


Persecution Intensified Before Release

A few months before Ms. Wang was released, a collaborator told her that she had to write a guarantee statement promising that she’d not practice Falun Dafa or contact other practitioners after she was released. The collaborator, after Ms. Wang refused to write the statement, threatened to make it very difficult for her to use the bathroom, wash up, get drinking water, or do laundry. One time the collaborator purposely took a lot of a spicy dish and forced her to finish it.

The prison authorities gave out moon cakes and fruits before the Mid-Autumn Festival in September 2022. The collaborators took them away from Ms. Wang along with the little sugar snack she had. For her meals in the next few days, they got only rice for her with no dishes. After she reported to the head guard, they retaliated by not letting her go out to wash up.

With all the abuses, Ms. Wang’s health deteriorated. She not only had hypertension and back pain, but also developed chest pain, incontinence, and frequent urination. When she refused to take the medication provided by the prison (fearing that it may contain toxic substances again), the prison doctor wanted her to sign a disclaimer saying that she should be responsible for whatever happened to her. She wrote on the disclaimer, “When I first came to the prison, I was perfectly healthy. The conditions I have now are the results of the abuses during strict management in prison. I should not be responsible for what happens to me.”

Not allowed to use the restroom, Ms. Wang was forced to wet her pants in October 2022. A collaborator accused her of doing so on purpose and forbade her from washing her pants for two weeks. Another time the collaborator had her wrap the dirty pants and put them in her closet until the weekend.

Before she was released on December 21, 2022, a guard tried to make Ms. Wang renounce her faith, “Your pension is suspended and your daughter (Ms. Hong Yizhao) was fired from the school she taught at because of not renouncing the practice. Times are hard and it won’t be easy to make a living. I can talk to someone in the Political and Legal Affairs Committee to resume your pension and get your daughter’s job back, as long as you renounce Falun Dafa.”

After she turned down the guard’s offer, the guard denied her request to call her family, and would not let her use the bathroom. She had to relieve herself in her washbasin.


Pension and Medical Insurance Suspended

In August 2019, two months after Ms. Wang’s arrest, the authorities suspended her pension. When she got home, the social security bureau wanted her to return the pension she received in July 2019, claiming that she wasn’t entitled to any retirement benefits while serving time. Only then, would they resume her pension and she was also ineligible for the annual increase of the pension during her prison term. In addition to her pension suspension, her medical insurance was also stopped in April 2021, which hasn’t been reinstated by the time of writing.

Chinese version available