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Heilongjiang Province Women’s Prison Coerces Practitioners to Become Bad People and Exploits Them as Sweatshop Workers
February 03, 2013 | By a Falun Gong practitioner in Heilongjiang Province, China
(Minghui.org) I was once illegally detained at Heilongjiang Province Women’s Prison for many years. During that period, I was forced to go through a “reform” process. I want to expose how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) pretends to be a kind educator, when in fact it is inflicting harm on innocent people.
1. Guards Instigate Criminal Inmates to Morally Drag Falun Gong Practitioners Downhill
At the time of my detention, there were more than 500 Falun Gong practitioners incarcerated at Heilongjiang Province Women’s Prison. The prison authorities required that the guards achieve a “reform” rate of at least 90%, or else their compensation would be adversely affected. As a result, the guards used all means possible to try to get practitioners to renounce their belief. They assigned murderers, thieves, fraudsters and drug smugglers to monitor practitioners around the clock. They also conducted so-called “education” and “training” sessions under the pretense of “helping” those practitioners who renounced their belief under pressure to “adapt to and survive in normal society” upon their release. I was one of those practitioners made to go through these brainwashing sessions.
The brainwashing process followed several specific objectives. The first goal of such “education” was to turn practitioners into “normal people” who could fight and curse just like criminal inmates. The prison authorities claimed that Falun Gong teaching “to not fight back when you are beaten or sworn at—you must be tolerant” (Zhuan Falun) would only invite attacks from others.
The guards mixed a small group of practitioners together with more than 200 criminal inmates. We were routinely beaten and verbally abused. Anytime we didn’t listen to these criminals, they reported us to the guards. The guards then placed us in solitary confinement and subjected us to torture and/or brainwashing.
Those criminals were free to use the restroom, yet we practitioners had to go in groups under surveillance. They could wash their clothes anytime they wanted, but we were only given one hour on designated Saturdays to do our laundry. Moreover, practitioners in different groups were not allowed to see each other.
The second goal of such “reform education” was to encourage practitioners to fight for personal interest. We were told that there was no room in today’s society for honest and kind people. To achieve this goal, the guards brought in nearly 100 white-collar criminals to influence us. These offenders only cared about their own personal interests and would do anything and everything to make other people suffer.
The third goal of such “education” was to encourage practitioners to lie and deceive others in order to protect their self-interests. The guards said that they knew we were good people cultivating Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance (the main principles of Falun Gong), but that nobody in today’s society abided by those principles. Thus, they claimed that we had to learn not to be deceived by other people. To this effect, they instigated nearly 20 white-collar criminals to teach us how to tell lies and commit fraud.
The fourth goal of such education was to make sure we thought the way they–the communist regime–wanted us to. The prison brought in around 10 criminal facilitators, as well as piles of books, to influence us. They forced us to write down our “thoughts” after reading each book, keeping us at this task until we produced essays that were satisfactory to them.
Once, they told the following story: “There was a tribe in which everyone worked as a thief. They made a living by stealing. An outsider joined them, yet he refused to steal anything. As a result, he eventually starved to death.” We were then asked to write down our thoughts. One practitioner wrote, “I’d rather die than steal,” which did not meet the guards’ approval. In contrast, a few former practitioners who had enlightened along the evil path and now worked as the guards’ helpers wrote: “In order to survive, we must steal. This is adapting to the environment.” The guards were very satisfied with their essays.
In order to persecute Falun Gong practitioners, the prison kept them among criminals. The guards constantly instigated criminal inmates to bully practitioners. Many practitioners became disabled or were even tortured to death as a result.
2. Practitioners Forced to Make Toothpicks for Export to South Korea
The prison demanded that each division turn a profit every year, so the guards used all means possible to find economic opportunities for the prison. While I was incarcerated, the guards assigned us jobs of weaving flax fabric and making toothpicks.
We were forced to do hard labor every day, oftentimes from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., or sometimes even to 9 p.m. We had to carry rolls of fabric weighing around 100 lbs, as well as file cabinets weighing several hundred lbs, up and down the stairs. The toothpick bags weighed about 80 lbs each, and we also did loading and unloading jobs.
Labels on toothpicks made by detained practitioners and exported to South Korea
Above are a few labels I managed to smuggle out of the prison. The text is in Korean and indicates clearly that the toothpicks were made in China. I guess Koreans probably would never have imagined that the toothpicks they bought were made by sweatshop workers—Falun Gong practitioners detained at the dirty Heilongjiang Province Women’s Prison.
3. Forced Coercion Cannot Change People’s Hearts
No matter what means the CCP used to force practitioners to “reform,” their efforts were in vain. As far as I know, most of those practitioners forced to give up their belief in Falun Gong at the prison have since issued solemn declarations, nullifying their renunciation made under coercion, and have resumed the practice of Falun Gong. Only a handful of people are still fooled by the CCP.
Before my release, several guards told me what they really thought about me. They said: “To be honest with you, it is not we who changed you, but you who changed us. We all know that you (practitioners) are good people, but we are just carrying out orders.”
During the several conversations I had with the guards, they often expressed their admiration of determined practitioners and disgust for those who gave into the coercion and became “prison helpers.” Those who enlightened along an evil path complained, “Everyone hates us. Those who refused to be ‘reformed’ detest us, the criminals are annoyed by us, and the guards bully us.”
Parties involved in the persecution:
Bai Yingxian, prison head: +86-451-86639099 Shi Genghui, deputy prison head : +86-451-86639066 Please refer to the original Chinese article for additional parties involved in the persecution.