Gong Ruiping tried to find out where she was and what had happened to her, but all memories faded after a guard grabbed her hair and repeatedly banged her head against the wall.
“I later found out that my knees were bleeding and my face was swollen,” Gong said later in a statement.
It happened at the Beijing Legal Education Center, also known as a brainwashing center, when Gong was arrested for the first time in July 2001 for practicing Falun Gong.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual practice that originated in China, and involves five slow-moving exercises and moral teachings.
Officials estimated 70 million to 100 million people in China practiced Falun Gong by 1999, before its growing popularity frightened the Chinese communist regime. Millions have been detained in prisons, labor camps, and other facilities since July 20, 1999, according to the Falun Dafa Information Center.
Gong, a former schoolteacher in Beijing who started to practice Falun Gong in May 1996, was given a 4-year prison sentence and 5 years of forced labor in total, and experienced harsh torture while imprisoned.
On July 20, 2021, Chinese police once again abducted the 55-year-old.
Upon her second arrest, a guard yelled at her, “If you don’t denounce Falun Gong, we’ll make you either lose your mind or your life!”
Gong almost died on several occasions, according to Minghui.org, a U.S.-based website that tracks the persecution of Falun Gong in China.
Force-Fed With Vomit
Over 20 Chinese officers forcibly took Gong away from her home on July 2, 2001, and detained her in the brainwashing center.
Guards and two instructors, sent by the local education department, stuck toilet papers into Gong’s mouth, pinched her nose, and covered her eyes.
Gong could not breathe and nearly fainted to the ground, yet she was not released and allowed to breathe until a voice said: “She is dying. Let her go.”
Later, Gong went on a hunger strike to protest the abuses she was receiving. Consequently, guards carried out force-feeding by inserting a long plastic tube through her nose into her stomach.
About six people pushed Gong into a chair. The director of the local 610 Office at the time tried to insert the tube into one of her nostrils but failed. He then jabbed the other nostril.
“I began to vomit blood, but that still did not stop them. I realized that they actually did not care if I died,” Gong said. The liquid food mixed with laxatives she received caused diarrhea to occur more than a dozen times a day.
One time, Gong’s stomach was completely filled and she began to vomit.
“The nurse placed the vomit into a plastic bag, and then poured it back, through my nose, many times,” she wrote.
Twenty years ago, Gong was captured again. Upon her second arrest on Sept. 17, 2001, she was forced to drink her own urine.
After a guard slapped Gong’s face more than 500 times. She couldn’t hold it in any longer and wet her pants.
She said: “It was very cold, and the guards forced me to leave my wet pants on.
“One guard even forced me to drink my own urine. She stripped off my clothes and then opened the window to have the cold wind blow on my naked body.”
Meanwhile, prison guards deprived her of use of the toilet or sleep by hanging her in the air. “[They] poured cold water on my head if I dozed off,” Gong said.
Besides cuffing Gong’s hands and zapping her with electroshock clubs, the head guard also instigated prisoners to hit the prisoner of conscience.
For several days in a row, one prisoner kicked her legs as two others whipped her back with their leather belts.
“A prisoner jabbed my palm with a ballpoint pen. A prisoner hit me with a wooden club and poked my ears with needles,” Gong said.
Gong was arrested again from her workplace before the Chinese Communist Party’s 18th National Congress in 2012, and sentenced to two years and nine months of forced labor.
Driven by fear of being deemed guilty by association, Gong’s husband divorced her. Her father passed away a few years later, feeling distraught over his daughter’s repeated detentions.
“My son grew up without his mother by his side. … he once contemplated taking his own life,” Gong said in her statement.
The statement is the schoolteacher’s criminal complaint toward former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin, the instigator of the nationwide persecution of Falun Gong, which lead to her repeated incarcerations and a broken family.