The goal that the CCP is trying to achieve with brainwashing is “transforming”, or reprogramming Falun Gong practitioners to the point that they abandon their spiritual practice. Authorities promise that their ordeal will be over once they sign a three-fold “statement of guarantee” to display the “correct” understanding about Falun Gong, promise to give up Falun Gong and never associate with other practitioners or go to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong. In addition, they are required to disclose information about friends and family who practise Falun Gong.
The mental anguish does not stop there: "Transformed" practitioners are immediately required to not only stop believing in Falun Gong, but to turn against it. Once a transformation statement is signed, practitioners are also often put in front of television cameras and told to read the statement with their “new understanding” about Falun Gong. These recordings are subsequently used as propaganda materials against other Falun Gong practitioners. If the statement is not satisfactorily repentant or is insufficiently disparaging of Falun Gong and its founder, the process must be repeated.
If they don't write a "statement of guarantee", practitioners keep being subjected to the most gruelling forms of mental torture. If they do write a "statement of guarantee", they are quickly forced to take an active role in transforming and persecuting other Falun Gong practitioners. There is no way out for them. Some who have undergone this torture and live to talk about it have described it as spiritual murder.
Is murder considered the most evil? Is physical damage considered the only form of harm? No! When a person's thinking is controlled, her innocence is violated, and the small and last space to think freely is invaded. When her belief is killed - what is more cruel, excruciating and miserable than this? It is the biggest crime. I know that the mental breakdown of Falun Gong practitioners is the direct result of psychological devastation and spiritual murder.
- Zhang Yijie
How Falun Gong practitioners are broken
The accounts from Falun Gong practitioners who have been subjected to prolonged brainwashing sessions reveal that the following methods are frequently used:
- They are isolated and locked up, either completely alone or with criminals.
- They are beaten and physically tortured on a daily basis.
- Their clothes are stripped off, and they are deprived of their personal dignity – it is drilled into their minds that they are criminals who have committed a terrible crime, that they are people with dangerous mental problems.
- They are deprived of sleep for days on end; if they fall asleep they are woken up immediately with a blow or loud sound. This is continued until they can no longer keep track of time or remember basic details about their life.
- They are forced to watch videos vilifying Falun Gong, and especially its founder Li Hongzhi, for 10 hours a day. The films are played at full volume, and they are not allowed to look away for even a brief moment.
- They are being persuaded that the only way they will ever be able to leave again is if they sign the "three-fold statement of guarantee" and that everything will be over once they do.
- Their parents, children, and siblings are brought in as a coercive tactic, to cry and even kneel in front of them, begging them to come home. Their spouses are brought in to threaten with divorce.
- They are threatened (and this action is actually carried out) that their jobs, pensions, or enrolment at university will be taken away. They are also threatened that their family members will lose their salaries and education opportunities.
- Transformed former Falun Gong practitioners (ideally someone the person was previously very close to) are forced to help them "see the light". These one-to-one sessions are alternated with ones in which many people talk at the same time.
- They are told that Falun Gong is banned around the world since there is an international consensus that it is "evil". This is repeated hundreds of times daily for weeks or months until they accept it and start to believe in this themselves.
- It is attempted to replace Falun Gong in their minds, by instilling a different ideology e.g. by indoctrinating them with Marxism (in cultural revolution style), and they are told that this is all for their own good.