Human rights organizations have documented more than 100,000 cases of severe abuse or torture of Falun Gong practitioners, but that number is believed to be a small portion of the real total. Of the more than 4,000 confirmed deaths of Falun Gong adherents in China, the vast majority were caused by torture. A 2006 report by the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Torture says that two-thirds of the torture cases listed for China were of Falun Gong.
Used for decades by Chinese Communist Party police to extort confessions from suspects and targets of political campaigns, torture is now being used against Falun Gong practitioners to force them to renounce their faith. Both physical and mental torture techniques are used.
The way mental and physical torture are combined can be seen in the brief excerpt below from the Washington Post, which describes the typical ordeal countless Falun Gong adherents have faced:
Torture is Breaking Falun Gong, Washington Post
At a police station in western Beijing, Ouyang was stripped and interrogated for five hours. “If I responded incorrectly, that is if I didn’t say, ‘Yes,’ they shocked me with the electric truncheon,” he said.
Then, he was transferred to a labor camp in Beijing’s western suburbs. There, the guards ordered him to stand facing a wall. If he moved, they shocked him. If he fell down from fatigue, they shocked him.
Each morning, he had five minutes to eat and relieve himself. “If I didn’t make it, I went in my pants,” he said. “And they shocked me for that, too.”
By the sixth day, Ouyang said, he couldn’t see straight from staring at plaster three inches from his face. His knees buckled, prompting more shocks and beatings. He gave in to the guards’ demands.
For the next three days, Ouyang denounced [Falun Gong’s] teachings, shouting into the wall. Officers continued to shock him about the body and he soiled himself regularly. Finally, on the 10th day, Ouyang’s repudiation of the group was deemed sufficiently sincere.
He was taken before a group of Falun Gong inmates and rejected the group one more time as a video camera rolled. Ouyang left jail and entered the brainwashing classes. Twenty days later after debating Falun Gong for 16 hours a day, he “graduated.”
Human rights workers have compiled over 100 methods of corporal torture used against Falun Gong practitioners. Below are a few examples of such methods.
Once in detention, Falun Gong adherents—young and old, male or female—are routinely subject to various forms of psychological and physical torture in an effort to break their will.
Falun Gong practitioners in police custody are often brutally beaten, sometimes to death. Items used for beatings in documented cases have included wooden clubs, steel and iron bars, iron rods, bamboo sticks, rubber sticks, electric batons, wooden planks, steel-wire locks, rattan, and whips made of twisted copper wire, electric wire, or rope.
Sensitive body parts such as women’s breasts are often pierced with sharp wires. Fingertips are pierced with pins and bamboo nails, which are also hammered under the fingernails. In many cases, torturers pull the practitioners’ fingernails out by the root. The prevalence of this torture method and its use against Falun Gong practitioners was referenced in the Hollywood blockbuster film Syriana starring George Clooney.
Force-feeding is a torture method often used on Falun Gong, and it has been the cause of death in approximately 10 percent of all known death cases. Force-feeding is most often carried out by labor camp staff with no medical training, or by criminal inmates who are coerced to do so. Unsanitary rubber tubes are shoved into a practitioner’s nose and down into the stomach, often rupturing or damaging tissue. Sometimes the tube enters the lungs. Detainees are often fed irritants such as highly concentrated salt water, hot pepper oil, boiling water, detergent, or even human feces.
Burning, Scorching with Hot Iron
Hundreds of practitioners have reported being burned with cigarettes, lighters, fire, boiling water, irons, or hot iron bars.
High-Voltage Electric-Shock Batons
Electric batons carrying high voltages are used to shock practitioners’ sensitive areas and private parts such as the inside of the mouth, top of the head, breasts, genitals, buttocks, and thighs. Several electric batons are often used simultaneously on different parts of the body. Victims have said that the smell of burning flesh permeates the air during the torture.
‘The Water Dungeon’
In “water dungeons,” the detainee spends many days in total darkness while inside a small cage and immersed in chest-deep water. Often the water is from sewage lines. Some detainees have died under such conditions, while others have been driven insane from this torture.
Tens of thousands of practitioners have been subjected to psychiatric torture, with over 7,000 documented cases directly involving Chinese mental hospitals.
In the CCP’s psychiatric wards as well as other detention facilities like labor camps and prisons, Falun Gong detainees are injected with toxic doses of unknown psychotropic drugs. Some have suffered severe damage to their central nervous system from the injections, while others became deranged after being “treated” there.
Using Torture Devices
The “death board” (or “death bed”) is a particularly hideous torture device. It is an iron or wood board with handcuffs and shackles to lock the victims four limbs in a stretched position. A victim is usually confined to a death board for a minimum of seven days. As movement is completely restricted, the confinement of a victim on the death bed leads to painful muscular atrophy. In severe cases, the victim even loses control of bladder and bowel movements. The excretion of stool and urine is directly on the iron bed, resulting in an unsanitary condition. To save them-selves the trouble of cleaning, the torturers usually strip the victim down to a T-shirt or even naked, adding to the humiliation.
“Tiger bench” is a small iron bench. It is approximately 20 cm (8 inches) tall. The victim’s hands are tied together behind the back while his knees are tied down to a bench. Some hard objects such as bricks are inserted under the tied legs, causing the legs to bend upward in an unnatural way that causes them to break at the knees.
Tied, or Forced to Stay in Painful Position for Extended Periods of Time
Exposed to Freeze and Extreme Temperatures
In winter time, practitioners are often stripped and drenched with cold water, they are forced to run barefoot in thin clothing outdoors in the snow, or are tied with rope to a chair out in the open, and icy water is splashed over them from the neck down.