Despite torture being officially forbidden in China, it is widely and systematically used across the country’s vast prison system, human rights organizations say. A big part of the brutality is sexual torture, which alone is known to be especially effective in humiliating victims and breaking down their defences.
According to the NGO International Society for Human Rights, victims are sexually abused either by police or prison guards, or stripped naked and thrown into cells with male inmates. The guards make it clear to the inmates that they can abuse the women without fear of punishment.
“The perversion of some of the members of these Chinese security institutions has no limits, according to torture survivors,” the organization says on its website.
Amnesty International reports that sexual torture has been used against Uighur Muslim political prisoners in the Xinjiang region of northwest China for years.
“Some have been tortured with particularly cruel methods which, to Amnesty International’s knowledge, are not being used elsewhere in China. This includes the insertion of horse hair into the penis, or a special wire with small spikes which fold flat when inserted but extend when it is pulled out.”
Amnesty has also reported that Tibetan women have been sexually tortured, including a group of nuns who were stripped, brutally beaten, and sexually assaulted with electric batons—all while male prisoners looked on.
The use of sexual torture on Falun Dafa prisoners of conscience is especially rampant. According to Minghui.org, there have been thousands of cases of sexual torture among Falun Dafa prisoners of conscience, both male and female. Minghui documents the campaign of persecution launched by the Chinese Communist Party against Falun Dafa practitioners in 1999.
Well-known human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who travelled to several provinces around the mid-2000s to investigate abuses against practitioners while they were detained, said almost all Falun Dafa prisoners, male and female, have been sexually tortured.
Gao himself was relentlessly tortured and subjected to sexual violence after he was detained for exposing the dire situation for practitioners, including having his genitals pierced with toothpicks.
Minghui reports that rape is consistently and systematically used as a means to humiliate and traumatize female Falun Dafa prisoners of conscience. In one infamous case at the notorious Masanjia Forced Labour Camp, guards put 18 female practitioners in the men’s cells and encouraged the men to rape them, which led to the deaths, disability, or mental instability of the victims.
In April 2016, Yin Liping, a Falun Dafa practitioner who was rescued to the United States from China, recounted at a Congressional Executive Commission on China hearing her experience of being tortured to the verge of death on several occasions while incarcerated at Masanjia.
She was also subjected to sexual torture. Yin told the hearing that one day she and eight other Falun Dafa practitioners were taken to a so-called black jail to be raped by the male inmates. She was locked in a room with four men who beat her until she passed out and then gang-raped her. She realized when she regained consciousness that the assault had been videotaped, further adding to her distress and humiliation.
According to the website Status of Chinese People, at least 100 different torture methods are used on Falun Dafa prisoners of conscience in China. These include rape, molestation, shocking genitals with electric batons, rape with foreign objects (including toilet brushes and batons), shoving hot peppers into the vagina, pinching and pulling nipples of both men and women even to the point of tearing them off, kicking genitals, forcefully administering drugs that cause menstruation to cease, forced abortion, and more.
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