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Case Update: Elderly Activist Shuang Shuying Released; Reports Abuses in Prison

February 13, 2009

Shuang Shuying (双淑英), 77, evictions activist and mother of house church pastor Hua Huiqi (华惠棋), was released from the Beijing Women’s Prison on Sunday morning, February 8, 2009. In an interview with HRIC on the day of her release, Shuang recounted the abuses she suffered in prison.

Shuang served a full two-year term on conviction of “intentional damage of public and private property” for striking an on-coming police car with a cane during a 2007 visit to a local government office to protest her son’s detention.

On the afternoon of her release, Shuang went to visit her ailing husband, Hua Zaichen (华再臣), 89, hospitalized at the Beijing Electricity Hospital since February 5. Hua passed away at 7:50am the following morning, February 9, 2009.

Shuang and her family are longtime rights activists. She and her husband have spoken out against Reeducation-Through-Labor (RTL) and religious persecution. Their son, Hua Huiqi, has suffered numerous detentions, beatings, and threats for his activities as a house church pastor. In 2002, Shuang saw her Beijing home demolished to make way for Olympics redevelopment. Subsequently, the family had to relocate eight times.

At Beijing Women’s Prison, Shuang was the oldest inmate, and endured beatings and electric shock. She suffered from diabetes, high blood pressure, cataracts, heart disease, and arthritis, but prison authorities denied her request for medical parole. According to her husband in 2008, Shuang was almost completely blind in both eyes due to the abuses inflicted upon her.

The following is Shuang’s account of the abuses she suffered in prison.

Shuang Shuying: Prison Experience

From HRIC interview with Shuang Shuying

February 8, 2009

Translation by HRIC

When I first arrived at Block 11 of Beijing Women's Prison, officers from the Beijing Public Security Bureau came to ask me they whether I thought the sentence was just. I said no.

During interrogations, I had to sit upright. If I sat a little askew, “pa!” - I would get slapped. The person who hit me was a 30-something female prison guard. There was also another prison guard, a 50-something woman named Yang. I had a sore on my buttocks, and it hurt a lot when I was sitting on a chair. If moved even slightly, they would pinch me and twist [my arms]. I still have marks on my arm.

Later, they stripped me completely naked and put me in a large room. Prison guard Yang said to me, “We just want to show your old, skanky skin.”

During interrogations, if a mosquito bit my face, and I tried to swat it away with my hand, that 30-something prison guard would tell me not to move. They wouldn’t allow me to explain. They would just say, “Where is it? How come we don’t see anything?” And they would take the opportunity to slap my face.

After I was beaten by them, they wouldn't allow me to tell my son about the beating. They said, “When your son visits you, you’d better not talk nonsense. If you do, we’ll stop your family visits. If you disobey us, we’ll put you into the ‘squatting cell’ [solitary confinement], where it’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter.” Soon afterwards, they took me on a tour of a “squatting cell.” The cell was extremely small; you cannot stand up or sit in there. And you eat, drink and shit in there. After that, I simply didn’t dare tell my son about the beatings, as I was afraid that they would send me to the “squatting cell.”

There were seven other prisoners in my cell. Sometimes, prison guard Yang would wake me up in middle of the night and say I was snoring, and that I shouldn’t sleep. I’d say I wasn’t snoring, but she wouldn’t allow any talk back. One day, a cellmate beat me, and I asked: “Why did you beat me?” Prison guard Yang answered, next to us, “Hey, you're getting away easy this time. You don’t have to ask her. She beat you because we ordered her to.”

One day, Yang said, “Didn’t you say you thought your sentence was not just? There are seven people in your cell. They are taking turns to torment you. We are not going to stop until you’re tormented to death.” Afterwards, when they let us go out for air, and I saw there were a lot of people upstairs and downstairs, I said to the people who were also let out for air: “Hey, fellow prisoners, listen up, there are seven people in our cell. If they torture me to death, don't forget to tell my family when you get out.”

Prison guard Yang was incensed. She took her electric baton and shocked me.

After that, I was transferred to Block 9 of the Beijing Women’s Prison, and my situation improved, little by little.

[On the day she was released from prison, Shuang Shuying went to the Beijing Electricity Hospital to visit her seriously ill husband, Hua Zaichen (华再臣).]

My husband didn’t recognize me at all. He worried about me and our family all these years, and his health worsened day by day.

[Interviewer’s notes: Shuang Shuying’s voice was strong and clear, and her tone was calm. I wished her and her family good health, safety, and happiness. She said, with a laugh, “All of us relied completely upon the blessing and protection of our Lord Jesus Christ. I also want to thank Human Rights in China for your concern, and for the Lunar New Year card that you sent us.”]

For additional information relating to Shuang Shuying and Hua Huiqi, see:

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