Parents of Persecuted Chinese Believer Zhou Xiangyang Sent to Brainwashing Center

February 22, 2012 Updated: February 25, 2012
Zhou Xiangyang's father wearing a shirt with writing over it
Zhou Xiangyang's father wearing a shirt with writing over it, denouncing the persecution of his son Zhou Xiangyang, and calling for his release. (From the family)

“I can’t talk anymore, someone’s coming” were the last words whispered from the mouth of Wang Shaoping before she hung up her cell phone. She was being held in a Tianjin police lockup—her phone hadn’t yet been confiscated—after spending three days sleeping on a tractor parked outside a prison complex where her son, Zhou Xiangyang, reportedly on the verge of death, is being kept.

A day later the two parents were sent to a brainwashing center, according to a Falun Gong website. 

Zhou is in the Gangbei Prison hospital, according to a recent urgent action by Amnesty International.

Wang and her husband, Zhou’s father, went to the compound in the Binhai New Area, an economic development zone in the jurisdiction of Tianjin, on Feb. 15, demanding his release. Gangbei Prison was renamed Binhai Prison.

In the early hours of the morning of Feb. 19, police from Changli county forcibly took them away. Also present were state security agents and members of the 610 Office, an extrajudicial agency set up to persecute Falun Gong.

The Epoch Times spoke to Zhou’s mother, Wang Shaoping, the day that she planned to go to the prison, and on the day of her arrest, while she was sitting in a police lockup in Changli county. The conversation was cut short. The audio recordings are available to human rights researchers upon request.

According to Minghui.org, a Falun Gong website, on Feb. 21 Zhou’s parents were removed from the police lockup and taken to a brainwashing center in Changli county. Such facilities are used to forcibly convert Falun Gong practitioners from their peaceful beliefs, using a variety of techniques, including the forced watching of propaganda videos, intensive psychological persuasion, and very often torture, according to multiple accounts of survivors.

The couple initiated the protest because they were not allowed to visit their son in custody.

Zhou Xiangyang's parents drove a tractor to the prison compound
Zhou Xiangyang's parents drove a tractor to the prison compound, which holds the hospital where their son lays. They slept in or on the vehicle during the cold nights, for three days, until security forces removed them to a prison lockup then a brainwashing center, according to Falun Gong sources. (From the family)

They dressed in clothing covered with writing describing Zhou’s plight and demanding his release. Zhou practices Falun Gong, an indigenous Chinese spiritual discipline based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, forbearance, and has been persecuted for his beliefs since 1999, when the persecution of Falun Gong began.

According to statements by his wife and Minghui.org, Zhou has suffered severe torture in custody. Guards contorted his limbs and shackled him to iron hoops on the floor for extended periods, according to Minghui.org’s English version Clearwisdom.net. They also shocked him with electric batons and beat him, the website said.

The persecution of Zhou Xiangyang and his wife, Li Shanshan, has spanned more than a decade. Li is herself now in a concentration camp for her efforts to rally villagers to sign a petition for Zhou’s release. Other family members of Zhou’s have also been detained.

Some time after being sent to Gangbei Prison in March of 2011, Zhou began hunger striking in protest. The combination of fasting and torture has pushed him to the edge of death, according to Amnesty International.