[xtypo_dropcap]A[/xtypo_dropcap]n elderly man from northeast China, who police abducted in September to force him to renounce Falun Gong, died in custody on Oct. 30, according to a Falun Gong human rights group.
On Sept. 10, 61-year-old Mr. Zhang Qingjun and his wife were abducted by two officers from Shixian police station and taken to a brainwashing facility located at Songlin Nursing Home. Over the following days, dozens of agents from the local Tumen City 6-10 Office, Communist Party, police, and neighborhood committee used various methods in an attempt to force Zhang to “transform,” to give up his practice of Falun Gong.
As Zhang resisted the forced conversion efforts, he was quickly sent to a labor camp in Jilin Province. According to sources inside China, he died on Oct. 30, just eight days after arriving there. Camp personnel said he died of a sudden heart attack.
Both Mr. Zhang and his wife had been detained, sent to labor camps, and subjected to torture multiple times since 1999 because of their identity as Falun Gong practitioners. Most recently, the elderly couple was abducted in April 2008 by Shixian police officers, beaten and kicked in custody, and held at Anshan Detention Center for over two weeks.
New Transformation Campaign
Zhang’s detention and death are tied to a new campaign by the Chinese communist regime to intensify “transformation” efforts of Falun Gong practitioners across China. The multibillion dollar, three-year campaign, revealed in a series of internal communist Party documents, some of them posted online, was released in English by the Falun Dafa Information Center on Oct. 24.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline that consists of meditative exercises and the study of moral teachings based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance. In 1999, when regime leader Jiang Zemin ordered the persecution of Falun Gong, between 70 to 100 Million people from all walks of life were practicing Falun Gong according to Chinese government estimates at the time.
The Falun Dafa Information Center estimates that there are now between 20 to 40 million active practitioners in China. According to the leaked CCP documents, seventy-five percent of the known practitioners in China are being targeted in the new transformation campaign. This means that tens of millions are at risk of being brainwashed and tortured over the next three years.
On one web page from Xinglong township in Sichuan Province, the instructions call for an increase in funding for transformation efforts. The document states that “to transform one Falun Gong person costs on average 45,000 yuan [$6,750] nationwide, 40,900 yuan in Sichuan provice, [and] in my township, 39,000 yuan.”
“What these documents call for is a campaign of surveillance, extralegal abductions, physical torture, and psychological abuse on a massive scale,” said Falun Gong spokesman Erping Zhang in their press release.
“When Chinese authorities talk of ‘transforming’ Falun Gong practitioners, what they mean is torturing out of people the aspiration to be honest, kind, and tolerant. They torment healthy, rational people to the point where the victim either betrays his or her most deeply held beliefs and completely submits to the will of the Communist Party, dies from abuse, or is driven to the edge of sanity. They push practitioners to the point where life is a living hell,” Zhang said.
Brainwashing and Torture
The Falun Dafa Information Centers says, transformation—a euphemism for forcing practitioners to renounce Falun Gong and pledge allegiance to the Communist Party—has been at the core of the anti-Falun Gong campaign since its inception. As part of the transformation process, individuals are typically subjected to physical and psychological torture, often at specially dedicated facilities housed in non-state institutions such as schools and companies.
Chen Gang, a 38 year-old musician and former logistics manager for the Carlsberg Brewery in Beijing, and also a Falun Gong practitioner who now lives in the United States, has gone through forced transformation. Chen’s story was featured in a Nov. 4 Epoch Times’ report.
Chen said he was arrested in 2000 and spent 18 months at the Tuanhe Labor Camp in the suburbs of Beijing where he was tortured until he was broken. He said after the final, most cruel torture he was unable to walk for two weeks and agreed to write a transformation statement, with the police filming it, then forcing him to read it out.
“To this day I still regret that I did that,” Chen said. “I just wanted to keep that little area in my heart that’s mine, that’s me: this is what I think … I wanted to keep that as a pure land in my heart, but to get their bonus they use any kind of method to take that little pure land from your heart. That is what they call reeducation, and what we call brainwashing.”
According to the Falun Dafa Information Center, the Communist Party has consistently used brainwashing centers in its decade-long persecution of Falun Gong. Nonetheless, since the issuing of the above orders in mid-2010, the Center has noted increased reports of practitioners being taken by the dozens to such facilities.
Since mid-September alone, cases have been received of practitioners being taken to brainwashing centers in Beijing, Shaanxi, Shandong, Liaoning, Jilin, Hebei, Hubei, Sichuan and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Given the temporary and extralegal nature of the facilities, many of the above mentioned centers are located in schools, hotels, and other public buildings.