On November 25, 51-year-old Ms. Liu Jizhi was tortured with an electric stun baton, beaten about the hips and buttocks and then raped by police at the Dongchengfang Town Police Station in Hebei Province.
The rapes, occurring only three days after the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture arrived in China for investigation, took place at the Dongchengfang Town Police Station in Tunzhou City, Hebei Province.
The women's abductions fit a pattern wherein Chinese authorities detain potential protesters or others who might expose abuses during “sensitive periods,” i.e., times during which prominent foreign visitors are in the country and/or foreign media are watching. Chinese Christians, for example, were arrested and held during President Bush’s recent visit. Activists are often detained during anniversaries of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.
“The tragedy of these rapes during the UN Special Rapporteur’s visit highlights a fundamental problem with how the international community addresses the CCP’s (Chinese Communist Party) human rights abuses. For the CCP, torture is not a ‘problem’ or ‘scourge’ to be stamped out, but rather, one of the primary ways in which it maintains control over people,” stated FDI spokesperson Levi Browde on Friday.
“Though the efforts of the Rapporteur should be applauded, we must be clear as to how deep this problem runs. To date Chinese authorities have yet to take action to hold perpetrators of torture and rapes such as these accountable, and have, in fact, on many occasions promoted them when their actions stifled demonstrations or prevented human rights abuses from being reported."
Beaten and Raped While Police Look On
Ms. Liu Jizhi, a 51-year-old wife and mother, was abducted by an estimated seven police on the night of November 24; her home was ransacked and all Falun-Gong related materials seized. The police had no warrant and forced entry into her home. Ms. Liu was taken to the Dongchengfang Town Police Station where she was interrogated, beaten with rubber clubs, shocked with stun batons, thrown to the ground, and sexually groped by male police.
Around 2 pm on November 25, a policeman named He Xuejian took Ms. Liu to a room with two beds in it, lifted her shirt and began to fondle her breasts. He then shocked her breasts with a stun baton. While watching the sparks fly from the stun baton, He Xuejian reportedly yelled, “This is fun! This is fun!” A policeman named Wang is said to have stood by, looking on, and said, “Beat her up! Beat her up good!” Wang left the room shortly after. He Xuejian continued to sexually assault Ms. Liu. He soon proceeded to remove his pants and rape the 51-year-old Liu. During the rape, He Xuejian repeatedly slapped Liu in the face and choked her.
After this, officer He Xuejian brought the other Falun Gong practitioner, 42-year-old Ms. Han Yuzhi, into the same room and proceeded to rape her. Both rapes took place in the presence of another police officer, nicknamed Dajun, who lay on one of the beds. Dajun reportedly made no attempt to stop either rape.
Sexual Assault as Torture
Accounts of rape in the Chinese government’s persecution of the Falun Gong are becoming increasingly common. In June 2000, eighteen Falun Gong women being held at the Masanjia Labor Camp in Liaoning province were stripped naked and thrown into prison cells with violent male criminals, who were encouraged to rape and abuse the women. In May 2003, Ms. Wei Xingyan, a graduate student at Chongqing University in Sichuan province, was raped by a policeman after she was brought into police custody for practicing Falun Gong. (news) In 2004, 32-year-old Zhu Xia suffered a complete mental breakdown after being repeatedly raped at the Pi County brainwashing facility in Sichuan province. (news)
Over 44,000 cases of torture and severe abuse of Falun Gong practitioners in China have been documented. Many cases, including both men and women, involve sexual abuse or rape.
“These recent beatings and rapes are a wake-up call to the international community,” Browde said. “The human rights abuses of Falun Gong practitioners that are rampant in China today are not merely due to administrative problems or failures in the legal system, but rather the deliberate policy of the CCP leadership to ‘eradicate’ Falun Gong. It is an atrocity for which the international community must have zero tolerance. We mustn’t be appeased by statements or actions by the Chinese government that show so-called ‘goodwill’ but do not deliver any true change. To demand or accept anything less than real change is an insult to our basic humanity and an encouragement to the CCP’s tyrannical rule.”