Chinese State Media Dodges Torture Victims

May 4, 2013 Updated: May 5, 2013

Chinese torture victims have confronted Xinhua, the official propaganda organ of the Chinese regime, over its publication of a report by Liaoning officials which denies that inmates are being tortured at a labor camp in the northeast of the country called Masanjia. 

Xinhua declined to meet with the women, who say they have experienced horrendous torture at Masanjia and are now afraid of retaliation from officials for having shared their stories.

Out of Masanjia, an investigative report of around 20,000 words, published by Chinese Lens Magazine on April 9, revealed the use of extremely inhuman torture used on the woman inmates. 

The report was based on the diary of former inmate Liu Hua and has been widely reproduced and cited by medias both at home and overseas. But the next day, the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Propaganda Department ordered all Chinese mainland media and websites to remove related stories.

The Liaoning provincial government immediately issued a statement that it would conduct an investigation. 

On April 19, Xinhua published that report, which denied the torture at Masanjia and said reports about it had been “seriously groundless.” 

On April 27 and 28, more than a dozen former inmates and torture victims of Masanjia Labor Camp visited the headquarter of Xinhua in Beijing

The group was led by fifty-one-year-old Liu Hua, the author of the torture diary. Three of the victims mentioned in the diary, Wang Yuping, Lu Xiujuan, and Hao Wei also went along. 

They wanted to ask Xinhua for an explanation as to why they had published Liaoning authorities’ report, and to give Xinhua an opportunity to interview the victims and learn the facts of the case. 

Liu Hua told The Epoch Times that over a dozen victims went to Xinhua on April 27 to speak to someone about their report, but they simpy passed around. 

“Xinhua staff said the report was not by them, and gave us a number for Xinhuanet, [the online version] and told us to go and talk to them,” Liu said. 

But the Xinhuanet supervisor and staff didn’t want to speak with them either. They said Xinhua News Agency had asked them to report the story, so they should go back there. 

Before the group left Xinhuanet, they told the staff about the torture they had suffered at Masanjia and demanded that they should each be interviewed, Liu said.

“We were hung on the wall, tied on the Tiger Bench, tied to the Death Bed, shocked with electric batons on our vaginas and breasts. We’re the living proof of these tortures,” they told Xinhuanet.

The group also demanded to know how much money Liaoning authorities had paid Xinhuanet for publishing their report, Liu said. They said that the Liaoning investigation team leaders are criminals who participated in the torture. “They were once the director and manager of the Masanjia Labor Camp,” Liu said.

Ignored Again

In the afternoon of April 28, the group went back to Xinhua News Agency again, and demanded that their director come out and explain himself. 

Liu Hua said that three men and one woman came and stood outside the door for about an hour. “They looked like some kind of officers. We asked them to re-investigate and verify the facts, but they wouldn’t talk to us,” she said.

Desperate to get some attention, the group started shouting slogans at the door: “Down with corruption! Editor-in-chief, come out! Xinhua News Agency is corrupt! How much did Liaoning pay you for making up false news?” 

Despite the presence of regular and armed police, who tried to get them to quiet down, they persisted shouting: “We victims want to talk to you face to face. Such a big media, who do you speak for? We fear for our lives once we go back to Liaoning. We were tortured so much, and you still make up false news to further persecute us, are you still human?”

In a separate interview, Liu Hua told NTD Television that their safety is in danger now. After one of the group, Chen Shenqun, accepted an interview by a Liaoning media, an intruder entered her home and assaulted her with a needle, stabbing her in the shoulder blade and her breasts. 

Lu Xiujian’s home has been shadowed by police, she said, and Liu herself was being tailed by a man who took her photograph on May 1. 

Translated by John Wang. Written in English by Gisela Sommer. 

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