Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles In 1999, the Communist Party of China began a brutal initiative to rid the country of the spiritual practice of Falun Gong. The practice concentrates on meditation and morality, but even so, the government wanted it gone. The many people who practiced it were about to get persecuted, re-educated, and very likely, tortured. Fast-forward to the year 2000 and a man was sent to Benxi Prison to undergo his “transformation.” He was subjected to a variety of forms of torture that you'll hear about today, but he survived his ordeal. Nonetheless, when he returned to prison in 2016, his body could not cope with the relentless hard labor, the sleep deprivation, and the cruel and unusual punishments he received. One night while being forced to sit naked on a bench he was doused with freezing cold water. He collapsed. When he hit the ground, he wasn't helped and instead was beaten. He died soon after. His name was Hu Guojian. Ok, before we list a number of tortures inmates might experience, let's listen to some more stories from Benxi Prison and the maltreatment of Falun Gong practitioners. In 2010, a judge named Liang Yuncheng was sentenced to three years in prison because he wouldn't give up his belief in Falun Gong. He was tortured in prison and wrote a letter about his mistreatment. This fell into the hands of the prison governor and Yuncheng was ordered to serve 60 days in solitary confinement. There he was tortured every single day. His hands were tied to the headboard of his bed and his feet were tied to the other end. To make it almost impossible to sleep, a very bright light bulb was placed right over his head. In protest, he refused any food. This is what happened to him next: “Guards inserted a feeding tube through a nostril to his stomach and fed him a high-concentration salt solution. They usually left the tube in his stomach for four days before taking it out for minimal cleaning. Once in a while, the prison doctor would coat the tube with chemicals to irritate Liang's nose and esophagus.” In 2001, a prisoner named Meng Xianguang was imprisoned for the same reason. As often happens, it was other prisoners under orders from the guards that committed some of the tortures. At times, they would take off their socks and shove them into Xianguang's mouth. He was tied to a chair, his head covered with a bag, and he was doused in cold water. Sometimes he was electrocuted by the guard with an electric baton. The torture didn't stop there. He was repeatedly whipped with a rubber tube, sometimes while naked and strapped to a chair. After he was beaten, he could never sleep because the inmates had been ordered to take shifts and make sure he didn't fall asleep. One day he was stripped naked and electrocuted with an electrified wire. The guard pointed to his manhood and said, “I'm going to make you unable to have any kids.” Many such prisoners never receive any medical treatment for their injuries. Some are released, but they are already in a very bad way. When a man named Lu Yuanfeng got out, he was paralyzed, had slurred speech, and had a leg fracture. He soon fell into a coma and died. In light of a new international investigation that proved China is involved in the genocide of the Uyghur people, today's episode is more relevant than ever. When reading about the horrors that some detainees have faced, you often just read “torture” or a “combination” of tortures, but the stories are sometimes not very specific. Human Rights organizations have, however, investigated what goes on behind prison walls and so there are details we can give you today. Here are some of them: 6. The beatings Beatings happen and sometimes they could be said to be regular kinds of violence, such as inmates being ordered to kick and punch a man or woman in the corner of a cell. It's said that the most sensitive parts of the body are the places that are aimed for. Guards may not use their hands and feet to hurt someone, but they do use their leather belts. The inmate is told to stand facing the wall and then is struck with the belt. The worst part of this is when the buckle strikes the prisoner on the head. This can cause deep cuts, and when that happens, there is always a chance of infection since the inmate will not be provided with medical attention. There is a punishment known as “passing on the board.” During this torture, the prisoner is told to expose his backside. He is then beat with a board or a stick up to 100 times. So many strikes to one part of the body can of course cause serious injury. If the person is in deep trouble, the stick or the board might have a nail sticking out of it. According to the International Society for Human Rights, this could lead to a fatal injury. In some cases, the inmates or guards will use any hard object, which at times has been a hammer. The prisoner might be struck with that hammer on various parts of the body, including the genitals. To make matters worse, reports have stated that after this, sometimes stinging plants are rubbed over the injured areas. Now things get a little bit more technical. 5. Twisting and stretching In Chinese prisons, there is something called the “Tiger Seat.” This is basically a narrow iron bench to which the prisoner is tied with leather straps around his thighs and knees. A slow kind of torture is to lift his feet up a little and place something under them. Since his knees are tied, he feels pain in his legs. The pain gets worse as more things are put under the feet. Then there is something called “Bed Pressing.” A prisoner is told to sit on the floor. His, or her, hands are tied behind their back. With his legs out in front of him, someone comes and presses the man down as far as he will go. Imagine doing this during an exercise in which you are trying to touch your toes. Except, in bed pressing, the person is bent over and then stuffed under a bed. That means they are stuck in an incredibly painful position. To make matters worse, inmates are ordered to jump up and down on the bed. That wouldn't only be painful, but it could cause a serious back injury. Another terrible thing that might happen when a prisoner is told to sit on the ground with legs outstretched is a guard pushes down hard on the prisoner's toes. It's reported that at times guards have even tried to stand on the over-stretched feet. The arms are also stretched at times. Imagine being handcuffed, but with one arm over your shoulder and one arm coming up behind your back. It's kind of like a straitjacket. Reports state that sometimes the pain is so much that the victims pass out after only twenty minutes, but some prisoners are kept fastened up like this for hours. If that's not bad enough, they are sometimes forced to dance because this makes their pain much worse. Arguably even worse is when a victim's arms are tied together behind their back with rope. That rope is then attached to something and they are hoisted up in the air. The outcome can be the dislocation of the shoulders. Some reports gathered by human rights workers state that the pain is so intense the prisoner will often lose control of their bladder. This hoisting technique is also another form of torture that has led to death. Sometimes you don't have to be stretched to feel a lot of pain. You can just stay in the same position, and as you'll now see, that can be hell in a nutshell. 4. Staying in position One torture technique they have in Chinese prisons is called “exhausting an eagle.” It's very simple and also brutal. A prisoner is told to stand on a stool, sometimes with his hands held high. That's it. They are just told to stay there. They can't sleep and they won't be given any food or water. How long could you do this for? After a while, the prisoner will collapse, and for that, they'll be beaten. This can also happen outside in the dead of winter. Or, a prisoner might sometimes be told to stand on one leg, to ensure those beatings happen more often. At other times, the prisoners are told to stand on a pile of bricks. The thing is, their hands are tied to the ceiling. When they become tired, they lose their grip on the bricks. Then they are left hanging there. You only have to look at European medieval history to know that hanging from manacles is extremely painful and can cause serious injuries. Then there's the min-cell. This is a cage that is too small for the prisoner. He is forced in there and often his hands are cuffed to the bars. He can't sit or stand, and so just has to stay in that agonizing position. The pain is said to be unbearable after a short amount of time, but because the prisoner won't likely die, he can be kept there without food or water for many hours, or even days. This might also happen outside in the cold, but when it's summer, it's the sun that becomes a person's worst enemy. Not only does the victim become incredibly thirsty, but hours under the hot sun causes burns. Sometimes the torture is even more simple but equally as brutal. There are reports that some prisoners were just asked to crouch on all fours and hold their heads in their hands. Ok, that wouldn't be too bad for a few minutes, but some prisoners had to stay in this position not just for hours, but over a day. They of course collapsed and parts of their body went numb. Some reports state that the victims are paralyzed for a few days. The worst case we found reported by the International Society for Human Rights was a report of a woman who was forced to crouch for an entire month! Usually, once the person has collapsed, they'll either be beaten or soon made to get back in the same position. There are various types of crouch torture. Prisoners might be told to crouch with their legs in stretched positions, or they might be told they are not allowed to move outside of a square they are crouching in. Another method involves using nails, so if the croucher fails to keep a position, they'll be impaled on the nail. Then there's the “airplane”. A person is forced to stand up against a wall. They are told to bend forward with their head down and stretch out their arms. This looks like an airplane. Try standing like that for hours or days on end. Perhaps you'd rather sit down. Some prisoners in Chinese prisons have been fastened into an iron chair. They are force-fed and they cannot move from the chair. This means they sit in their own human waste, sometimes for a week or more. This is not only terribly humiliating but sitting for that length of time can lead to its own kind of injuries. Worse, they might be told to sit on a board with nasty raised edges. This hurts for the first hour but after a while, it can cause cuts. Those cuts deepen and infections are common. Prisoners are told to sit on all kinds of sharp objects, including broomsticks. They of course fall off, and for that, they receive a beating. Possibly even worse than that is when they are told to kneel on hard or sharp objects. Reports state that some prisoners have been forced to kneel for long periods of time on ashtrays. Perhaps the worst-sounding of these tortures is something called “Hell's Shackles.” This is when the shackles, we imagine like handcuffs, are actually cut into the victim's ankles and wrists. Any movement will cause deeper cuts. This is why they cannot move at all, which makes sleeping impossible. The “death bed” sounds almost as bad. This involves the victim being forced to lie on a thin plank of wood. Another plank of wood lies across the beam, making it look just like a crucifix. The device is not lifted, though, so the person just has to stay in that position. This means not moving for a long period of time and of course, pooing and peeing in the same place for as long as the victim is kept on the death bed. In one report, the device was called the “Deadman's bed.” Here is a snippet from a first-hand account of someone seeing it: “When I went to the clinic to see a doctor, I saw a female Falun Dafa practitioner bound on the dead man's bed. One police officer gave her an injection and then started to force-feed her while a group of police officers shocked her with electric batons. The lady was almost tortured to death and yet wasn't even crying. Policewoman Li Man asked us to look the other way to avoid seeing the torture.” Now you'll see just how horrific amateur force-feeding is. 3. Force-feeding As you already know, sometimes when the victim is in these positions, they are beaten. They might also be electrocuted to certain parts of their body, including the genitals. Reports have stated that “Electro sticks” can be inserted into any one of a man or woman's orifices. Yes, you'd be right to imagine the orifices include those at the mid-level of the body. This is from another report: “Sometimes the guards force an electric baton into a practitioner's mouth to shock her; this often leads to her face being disfigured.” It can lead to mental problems, too. This is how one former prisoner described the state of fellow prisoners after they'd been tasered in the head numerous times: “They lose their minds. They cannot talk properly anymore. They become very slow in their movements and you see that their brain is damaged.” But then how do victims eat in these positions while the worst is happening to them? The answer is guards, not medical professionals, force them to eat. This usually involves a tube being inserted into a person's nose, with the tube leading into the stomach. Reports state that lubricants are not used, so this in itself is very painful. It's also reported that after tubes have been inserted and removed a few times some prisoners have died from what investigators believe to be a result of aspirated blood.