Based on reports from across China, different detention centres use the idea of the water dungeon in different ways. Water dungeon is a grotesque torture. A victim is stripped down to underwear or naked and locked into a small iron cage with spikes on all sides. Some water dungeons submerge a Falun Gong practitioner in chest-deep, filthy water; in others, the water is too deep to stand in. Usually, the water dungeons are well-hidden rooms or cells where practitioners are forced to stay for days and nights on end in total darkness. The water is most often extremely filthy, containing rubbish and sewage.
Confined in a water dungeon for months
Ms. Ding Yan, 32, ( from Shijiazhuang City, Hebei Province, north China) was able to speak at a secret press conference held in Beijing in October 1999. It was the first time that foreign media were able to meet with Falun Gong practitioners and learn first-hand of the persecution they been suffering.
Ms Ding, one of the principal organisers of the press conference, was arrested soon afterwards and sentenced to four years in prison. While she was incarcerated in different places, the police used various methods to torture her, including forced hard labour, painful shackling, and being hung in the air with her hands shackled behind her back. In the Shijiazhuang Detention Centre, Ms. Ding was placed in an iron cage with nails sticking up more than an inch through the wooden floor.
At the Chengde City Prison, guards stripped Ms Ding naked and locked her in an iron cage with spikes on all sides, then submerged the cage in dirty water up to her neck. The area was kept completely dark. Ms Ding died in September 2001, after enduring months of the water torture.
Wangcun Forced Labour Camp, Shandong Province
“When we mention the water dungeon in the labour camp, many imprisoned practitioners have seen it with their own eyes, and some have even been tormented inside. The interior of the water dungeon is a pool built of cement. On the side is an iron rack that is used to hang people from, and above is a cement cover. The person inside cannot tell day from night. The water is so deep that there is no way to rest. Modern medical experiments have proven that it is life-threatening to go without rest for 5-7 days. As such, the water dungeon is a devil’s lair that kills people without showing blood.”
Nanmusi Women’s Forced Labour Camp, Sichuan Province
“There was another sinister torture used by the guards at Nanmusi: the water dungeon. The water dungeon was a solitary confinement cell littered with urine and excrement. They would then pour water in there and force practitioners to sit in there. No bath was allowed, even in the hot summer. After a while many practitioners would develop scabies all over their bodies.”
“The water dungeon area is very small and one cannot lean against the wall for support. The practitioner is forced to sit on the cold cement floor. The police then pour water onto the floor, soaking one’s coat and trousers with freezing water. After they repeatedly pour water into the dungeon, one’s body will be completely soaked and partially immersed in water. Oftentimes the water can go chest-deep. Ice-cold water and wind chill one to the bone. If one does not yield, this torture can continue indefinitely.”
Xishanping Forced Labour Camp
“Falun Gong practitioner Kang Hong was held in Team 11 in the camp. He was frequently locked in the ‘Leifeng Tower’, which is a horrendous cell for solitary confinement. It is a famous water dungeon. It was dark all year long. There was neither natural nor electric light. Standing water and human waste accumulated several inches deep inside the dungeon. To make it more frightful, many dead rats and snakes were tossed in. Because of his insistence to continue practising Falun Gong, Kang Hong was handcuffed and hung from the steel door inside the water dungeon for three days and nights. The skin festered all over his body. When he got out he was shaking all over. Han Yiming from Xishi in Beipei District was locked up for more than ten days in this frightful dungeon. Liao Lianhai from Qijiang also received the same treatment.”
Huairou County Detention Centre, Beijing
“At 8:00 p.m. that night, Xiao was unexpectedly brought in for an interrogation by the detention centre. He was back in his cell 15 minutes later with heavy shackles. At 9:00 p.m., two young criminal inmates, Fang Yanhua and Zhen Wei, began to torture Xiao with the water dungeon punishment. They said that they were forced by the police in charge, or else their prison term would be extended and they might suffer the electronic baton penalty. The police officer on duty that night was Captain Dong; his number is 05971. Wearing a cotton coat and trousers, Xiao was sat down beside the cell vent in a very uncomfortable position, unable to stretch or lie down. Although the water dungeon area was very small, he still could not support his body against the wall. Then Fang and Zhen started to pour water onto the floor, soaking Xiao’s coat and trousers with freezing-cold water. After Fang and Zhen repeatedly poured water into the dungeon, Xiao’s body was completely soaked. Ice-cold water and the chilly wind together covered his body like piercing knives.”