Submission to UN on Zhu Guiqin – June 17, 2013

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Submission to:

Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

Special Rapporteur on violence against women

Letter on behalf of Zhu Guiqin, citizen of the People’s Republic of China

Alleging Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,

Arbitrary Detention, and Violence against Women

a. Full name of the victim: Zhu, Guiqin (朱桂芹)

b. Date on which the incident(s) of torture occurred (at least as to the month and year): Between April 17, 2004 and April 2007

c. Place where the person was seized (city, province, etc.) And location at which the torture was carried out (if known): Seized in front of the State Bureau for Letters and Visits in Beijing, tortured at Masanjia Women’s Reeducation through Labor (RTL) Camp, in Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, China

d. Indication of the forces carrying out the torture: Guards atMasanjia Women’s Re-education through Labor (RTL) Camp

e. Description of the form of torture used and any injury suffered as a result:

Form of torture: Various forms of physical and mental torture and abuse, often in a humiliating naked state, including:

  • tied up for long periods of time to a ‘death bed,’[i] suspended and beaten
  • electrically shocked to the face and vagina area
  • forced enema
  • forced tube feeding
  • forced catheterization
  • forbidden from sitting, lying down, having a bath or sleeping
  • strict confinement
  • given injections of unknown drugs in psychiatric hospitals

Injury as a result: Ms. Zhu lost the ability to take care of herself, and she was sent to the hospital on several occasions in critical condition. She suffered deep mental and emotional stress, fear, and developed psychiatric illness as diagnosed by a doctor.

I. Identity of the person(s) subjected to torture

A. Family Name           Zhu (朱)

B. First and other names         Guiqin (桂芹)

C. Sex: Female

D. Birth date or age    January 29, 1963 (50 years of age)

E. Nationality              Han Chinese

F. Occupation             Worker

G. Identity card number (if applicable) ID Card, No. 210402196301293021

F. Activities (trade union, political, religious, humanitarian/ solidarity, press, etc.) Since 2004, Zhu has been petitioning, which means lodging grievances at central government offices and seeking redress. She initially petitioned on behalf of her elder brother, who was beaten and disabled in a Re-education through Labor (RTL) camp, and later on behalf of herself and other women who were abused at a forced labor camp in Liaoning Province.

II. Circumstances surrounding torture

A. Date and place of arrest and subsequent torture

On March 13, 2004, Ms. Zhu, who was petitioning for redress in Beijing against the injustice and abuses her brother had suffered, was seized and forcibly sent back to her hometown, Fushun City in Liaoning Province, by interceptors under the direction of the Fushun City Public Security Bureau. She was then forcibly sent to the Fushun City Psychiatric Hospital. On March 18, she was criminally detained, for allegedly a crime of “endangering national security.” On April 17, she was sent to Masanjia Women’s Re-education through Labor (RTL) Camp in Liaoning Province (hereafter “Masanjia”), where she was subsequently subjected to horrendous torture for three years.

B. Identity of force(s) carrying out the initial detention and/or torture (police, intelligence services, armed forces, paramilitary, prison officials, other)

Officers and guards at Masanjia carried out the detention and torture at the labor camp. Police from the Fushun City Public Security Bureau in Liaoning Province initially detained Ms. Zhu.

C. Were any person, such as a lawyer, relatives or friends, permitted to see the victim during detention? If so, how long after the arrest?


D. Describe the methods of torture used

Ms. Zhu was constantly subjected to physical and mental torture and abuse between April 17, 2004 and April 2007. Ms. Zhu’s fellow inmate in Masanjia, Liu Hua (刘华), described the torture Ms. Zhu had suffered in the documentary film “The Women of Masanjia Labor Camp” (小鬼头上的女人), which was released on May 1, 2013:

“Zhu suffered serious torture while in the labour camp. Her arms and torso were tied against her legs. Brigade Captain Wang Yanping would pull her hair and drag her across the floor like a mop. She’d poke electric batons into her vagina and stab her vagina with toothpicks. She was also raped by security guards while being escorted home while petitioning.”

Zhu Guiqin herself provided her own account in the documentary film, saying that:

“I can’t say what exactly was the hardest thing to endure in Masanjia Labour Camp… if it was the length of time in suffering, or the physical punishment with electric batons and violent beatings, or being strapped to a gurney and not being allowed to use the toilet for 10 days straight. Being force-fed and then forcibly given an enema, was that the worst? Or was being tied spread-eagle to a very small metal bed frame and not being allowed to sit, lie down or fall asleep the hardest to endure? From 27 May through to 8 June, were those 12 or 13 days hard to endure? What was the hardest part? Even now I still can’t say for certain. There was far too much that was unbearable about being in Masanjia.”

(The documentary film showing abuses in Masanjia can be seen at )

E. What injuries were sustained as a result of the torture?

Ms. Zhu remains under serious mental and emotional stress due to the abuse she was subjected to at Masanjia. After she was released from the camp, her family sent her to the Fushun City No. 5 Psychiatric Hospital for treatment, and a doctor there diagnosed Zhu with “post-traumatic stress disorder.”

F. What was believed to be the purpose of the torture?

There has been no specifically stated, confirmed purpose regarding Ms. Zhu’s torture. However, inmates in labor camps are frequently subjected to mistreatment for a number of reasons. For instance, they may be punished for activities that police cited in sending them to RTL, for not meeting work quotas or violating camp rules, or for protesting their confinement and conditions inside the camp. In addition, torture may also be employed to force inmates to change their behavior so they will stop doing what they did before their detention, and also for the simple purpose of physical and emotional intimidation.

G. Was the victim examined by a doctor at any point during or after his/her ordeal? If so, when? Was the examination performed by a prison or government doctor?

The torture and mistreatment that Ms. Zhu suffered at Masanjia caused her to faint on several occasions. Guards had to send her to a hospital after they failed to revive her using cruel techniques such as forced feeding and catheterization. It is not clear whether an examination was performed by a prison or government doctor.

After her release, Zhu was examined by a doctor at the Fushun City No. 5 Psychiatric Hospital. The examination was not performed by a prison or government doctor.

H. Was appropriate treatment received for injuries sustained as a result of the torture?

On March 20, 2007, Ms. Zhu’s family committed her to the Fushun City No. 5 Psychiatric Hospital, and she was discharged on October 1, 2007. At the hospital, she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

I. Was the medical examination performed in a manner which would enable the doctor to detect evidence of injuries sustained as a result of the torture? Were any medical reports or certificates issued? If so, what did the reports reveal?


III. Remedial action

Were any domestic remedies pursued by the victim or his/her family or representatives (complaints with the forces responsible, the judiciary, political organs, etc.)? If so, what was the result?

Ms. Zhu made videos and wrote letters disclosing her experiences of torture in Masanjia and published them widely online. Also, she is still petitioning against what she perceives as the illegal and unjust RTL decision against her as well as the inhumane treatment she suffered.

However, authorities have not conducted an investigation into the torture and other forms of mistreatment that she has reported, nor held officials accountable or offered an apology or compensation. In addition, despite claiming to conduct an investigation of Masanjia after media exposé of the abuses inside the camp in April 2013, Chinese authorities have denied the horrendous abuses that have reportedly taken place there. Moreover, the Central Propaganda Department of the Chinese Communist Party has banned news organizations from covering stories about allegations of torture at Masanjia.

Due to her persistent petitioning in order to report the abuses at Masanjia to central authorities in Beijing after being released from Masanjia, Ms. Zhu has been subjected to various forms of cruel treatment, including being sent to RTL for one year in 2009 (Daxing Labor Camp in Beijing); seized and raped in Beijing by unidentified men allegedly hired by the local government in April 2012 to punish and intimidate her for her activities seeking redress; detained in a black jail and held under “soft detention” at home several times; and severely beaten by officials. She has reported the rape, with the help of a lawyer, to the police at the Xicheng Branch of the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau. However, police have not provided information about any investigation or its outcome.

[i] A “death bed” (死人床), is “an iron or wood board with handcuffs and shackles to restrain an inmate who goes on hunger strike and force-feed her. The inmate is often stripped naked with her rear over a hole in the bed for urination and defecation. That way, she can be restrained for a prolonged period.” See: “Torture Methods At A Chinese Gulag, Or Reeducation-through-labor Camp, Are Exposed By Chinese Media,” May 25, 2013,

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