Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Women Jailed for their beliefs in Communist China

The Falun Dafa Information Center sent out a heart wrenching letter from former prisoner Crystal Chen. It states that "China is home to the largest population of political and religious prisoners in the world. From ethnic Uyghurs and Tibetans, to protesters and Falun Gong practitioners, China’s police stations, jails, and other detention facilities are filled with hundreds of thousands—or more—people who have been deprived of their freedom simply because of what they said, what they believe, or who they are. One underappreciated fact is that many of these prisoners are women."

"Some are elderly grandmothers or parents of teenagers. Others are young women at the prime of their life—in their 20s or 30s—whose careers have been brutally interrupted by the Chinese Communist Party’s repression. Many have small children at home. In custody, they suffer humiliation, physical torture, and sexual abuse at the hands of police, guards, and even other prisoners. I should know, I was one of them. I was 27 years old and working as an assistant to a corporate executive in southern China when I became an enemy of the state."

"When I was held at a detention center in Hebei Province, guards handcuffed me to a radiator pipe with my toes barely touching the ground and left me there for three days. A police chief groped my body while I was hung from the pipe. At another detention center, a guard threatened to send me to a different location, where I would be raped."

"I was thankfully spared that horror, but other women were not, subjected to sexual abuse at the hands of police. I saw many women tortured in horrible ways, only because they practiced Falun Gong. My mother was shocked with electric batons in her armpits and inner thighs until she fainted. Guards poured water on her body to make the shocks more intense. She could smell her own skin burning and was left with permanent scars."

"The worst torture I experienced was at a detention center in Guangzhou. When I refused to stop practicing Falun Gong, the director brought four male guards into my cell. They pinned me to the concrete floor and began force-feeding me an all-salt mixture, which could kill me. I was later sentenced to two years in a labor camp without even a trial."

"In 2004, I decided to escape to Thailand through Burma. It was a harrowing journey. But each step of the way, sympathetic strangers helped me survive. One young man hid me in his boat to avoid Burmese soldiers, and then led me through the jungle. Without his and others’ help, I never would have made it to Thailand, and eventually America."

"I am so overwhelmingly grateful for the kindness shown to me by these strangers and by all the people who helped me to settle in America. It has made me feel that despite the rights abuses I suffered in China, there is hope in our shared humanity."

"On International Women’s Day, we mustn’t forget the women across China who are still sitting in jails and detention centers simply because they tried to peacefully exercise basic rights. Their lives are at risk. Since 2019, the mothers of several Chinese Americans, jailed for practicing Falun Gong like I was, have died in custody. The CCP tried to take everything from me—my life and my most deeply held beliefs—but it didn’t succeed. Now the Party is trying to do the same to countless other women. We must stop them."

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