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Torture, beatings, hard labour and 16-hour workdays at Shuangkou Forced Labour Camp in Tianjin

17/06/2013

(Minghui.org) The Shuangkou Forced Labour Camp in Tianjin has brutally persecuted Falun Gong practitioners for the last 14 years. Inmates endure harsh, inhumane conditions, forced to do hard labour for 16 to 17 hours every day. Many would characterise the conditions as "slave labour".

Falun Gong practitioners suffer additional abuse during and after work hours. They are subjected to relentless brainwashing, forced to watch and listen to propaganda slandering Falun Gong after they finish work. The use of torture has escalated recently, particularly for Falun Gong practitioners.

Brutal beatings and depravity

As soon as practitioners arrive at the labour camp, they are subjected to severe beatings. Guards instigate inmates to join in the beatings in attempts to “transform” practitioners.

Some practitioners, such as Mr Li Guangyuan, were beaten until their ribs were broken. Mr Li Jie was hit until he couldn't walk. Another practitioner's legs were paralysed as a result of the beatings. Some were beaten to death or injured so badly they died later. More still were shocked with electric batons.

At the bare minimum, the majority of practitioners were had bruises on their faces and open wounds as a result of the abuse. This kind of brutality took place at the No.1 and No.2 Wards in the Shuangkou Forced Labour Camp.

Guards at the Ward No.3 have been even more vicious. They gathered newcomers in the “library” for the purpose of beating them in groups, sometimes involving more than 20 practitioners at a time.

Guard Tong Xiuhe orchestrated the proceedings behind the scenes, while inmate Lu Liu directed others to beat the practitioners. Inmate Fan Shigang purposely kicked their private parts.

Practitioner Li Fengkun, who was recently sent to the labour camp, was slapped in the face more than 30 times by one inmate. Mr Zhang Yong was kicked so hard that he could neither sit nor lie down as a result.

Covering up crimes

Ward No.4, associated with the Shuangkou Police Station, has played the key role in deceiving inspectors visiting the labour camp. They enlisted collaborators to fool staff from the Inspection Department who came to investigate claims of abuse submitted by Falun Gong practitioners. As a result, what inspectors saw was not the true picture at all.

Ward No.5 was also involved in the coverup to a great extent. In order to cover up their crimes, staff often transferred practitioners who had been beaten and injured to other wards.

Severe torture and abuse

An inmate with surname Mu and others at Ward No. 5 tortured practitioners severely. One time, they carried an elderly practitioner, Mr Lian Shengchun, to a room with running water. During the freeze of the winter, they stripped him naked and poured cold water on him. Steadfast in his belief, he said to the perpetrators: "I will never change my mind. Is that all you can do? Save yourself from pouring water, I'll do it myself!" With that, he jumped right into the vat full of cold water. His determined will shook the torturers so badly that they quickly ran away.

Mr Li Wanbing had pus on his ankle as a result of long-term slave labour. Inmates used a dirty toothbrush to scrub and infect his wound. His lower leg became dark and swollen. Even so, he was forced to do hard labour every day. When his condition deteriorated, the guards finally took him to a clinic. After his wound eventually healed, he was transferred to Ward No.1 for brainwashing. Under guard Wu Mingxing's orders, he was forced to stand still for 15 to 16 hours straight, which caused his health to deteriorate once again.

A practitioner with surname Du was put into solitary confinement for a long period of time. Several inmates were assigned to monitor him 24/7. He was handcuffed to the rail of an iron bed and deprived of toilet use. When this practitioner went on a hunger strike to protest the gross mistreatment, he was brutally force-fed by inmates and guards, suffering tremendously.

Mr Zi Rong from Sichuan Province was also subjected to brutal persecution for upholding his faith in Falun Gong. He was frequently forced to sit in the lotus position for a long time, and was even thrown into a urinal, which caused him to faint. Later on, in order to avoid taking responsibility for his deteriorating condition, the labour camp told his family to take him home.

Detained practitioners were also hung up for several hours, deprived of sleep and forced to put on headphones and listen to content defaming Dafa at maximum volume from early in the morning until midnight. The guards did not allow them to take off the headphones even while eating or using the toilet.

As a result of the torture methods described above, many practitioners felt dizzy and/or nauseous, and some even lost consciousness. These cases only represent only a small portion of the persecution that has taken place in the Shuangkou Forced Labour Camp and is still continuing today.

Slave labour in toxic environment

Except for Ward No.4, which is guilty of other crimes, guards at all other wards have used all means possible to exploit prisoners for profit through slave labour.

The Shuangkou Forced Labour Camp mainly makes handmade products. Its forced labour tasks have included gluing paper boxes, stitching flowers and balls, wrapping coils, folding paper, putting together stationary products, etc. All of these activities are conducted in an environment that is very harmful to prisoners' health.

One example is gluing paper boxes or wooden flowers. Prisoners are forced to use toxic glue of inferior quality. During the process of heating the glue, the poisonous gas generated is directly absorbed; there are no protective measures, such as face masks, offered. As a result, many inmates end up coughing and the skin on their hands peels off.

Exploiting prisoners for profit

The tasks that don't involve many poisonous substances are normally low-profit jobs that were rejected by other places. However, since the labour camp uses slave labour – and thus has no labour costs – they are still profitable enough.

To maximise their profits event further, the labour camp authorities often increase the work quota beyond what most people can endure in a day.

One example was the quota for the balloon workshop - one case per day. This involved making several hundred balloons, which amounted to over 10 hours of work for an experienced worker. Because Falun Gong practitioners helped each other out and worked very diligently, they were able to finish the work a bit early, leaving some time to clean up the workshop. After the guards detected this, however, they increased the quota to one and a half cases per day. Subsequently, it was increased to two cases per day; however, as that was impossible to achieve, the guards eventually brought it back down to one and a half cases.

If the quota were increased for one team, others followed, making it very hard on all of the prisoners involved.

Physically penalised and mentally drained

One inmate from Ward No.1 was putting caps around balloons. In order to finish his task, he had to work day and night. As a result of working long hours, his fingernails fell off, leaving him in a lot of pain. He was then assigned to clean up washrooms, which reflects the guards' mentality that "even though you can't work, you still have to work."

One inmate from Ward No.5 was always unable to finish his tasks, so he was often beaten and penalised. Later, he'd choose to be penalised by having to stand with his body bent at 90 degrees, with his hands on his knees, than participate in slave labour. He had to keep standing in this position throughout the whole workday.

One time, the number of coils prisoners had to wind went from 1,200 to 1,500; later it was increased to 1,800. After deducting six hours for sleep, there was not much time left for eating because one had to finish the work within 17 to 18 hours. The large amount of work plus lack of sleep made the inmates mentally numb. Therefore, this task was also called "psychological coil".

The same type of psychological torture was applied to stitching work. A large quantity of fabric was placed in front of the prisoner. It was nearly impossible to finish the task. For male inmates who had hardly done any stitching work before, if they were not quick enough, they'd be sworn at and beaten. Many of them were exhausted and often vomited as a result of mental pressure and physical abuse.

Sometimes prisoners sustained injuries, such as deep cuts, in their efforts to move quicker and meet the unreasonable quota assigned to them. They also were not allowed to wash before they ate when they had lead or glue on their hands.

Unscrupulous greed

Even though they exploited prisoners so much, it still didn't satisfy the desire of those guards who wanted to procure maximum profits. When guard Tong Xiuhe saw that the profit didn't reach his expectations, he began to curse people, claiming that if they didn't earn him enough money, he wouldn't feed them.

One time, inspectors came to check on the Shuangkou Forced Labour Camp. To hide his crimes, Tong Xiuhe got all of the prisoners together in advance of the visit. “If asked how many hours you work a day, how would you respond?” he enquired of the inmates. One inmate replied with “eight hours”; since this was much shorter than the actual hours worked, he though this would be an acceptable answer. Unexpectedly, he received a beating. Tong Xiuhe said, "Don't you just work four to five hours a day? You've been focusing on studying every day, right? You should answer like that!"

With the crimes of the forced labour camps being widely exposed in international media, we hope that governments and kind people around the world pay attention to this issue and help stop inhuman abuses of the Chinese communist regime.