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Torture by Devices  
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"Death Board" or "Death Bed"

The "death board" (or "death bed") is a particularly hideous torture device. It is an iron or wood board with handcuffs and shackles to lock the victims four limbs in a stretched position. A victim is usually confined to a death board for a minimum of seven days. As movement is completely restricted, the confinement of a victim on the death bed leads to painful muscular atrophy. In severe cases, the victim even loses control of bladder and bowel movements. The excretion of stool and urine is directly on the iron bed, resulting in an unsanitary condition. To save them-selves the trouble of cleaning, the torturers usually strip the victim down to a T-shirt or even naked, adding to the humiliation. Since the victim is not released from the board for many days, torture on the death board is usually coupled with the torture of force-feeding.


"Death Bed"

The death board was originally devised for use against political dissidents subjected to the death penalty. As these prisoners of conscience usually have un-yielding convictions, they tend to behave courageously even when they were sentenced to death at government-staged public show trials. To create the image of these people being destroyed of will power, the political dissidents are usually confined to the death board for many days before a show trial. At the show trial, the police will hold the victim until the moment of death sentencing. The muscular atrophy resulting from the death board torture will cause the victim to wither and collapse on the ground at the moment of sentencing making the government seem powerful and the victim defeated.

  1. Wang Xiufen, female, in her 30s, English teacher at Jilin Zuojia Special Products School, resident of Jilin Province


Tied on the “Death Bed” during the night

On February 4, 2000, the guards at Heizuizi Labor Camp, Changchun City, Jilin Province took Ms. Wang Xiufen to a room and confined her to a death board. A guard then ordered a criminal inmate to open the all the doors and windows. They pulled her underwear down, and pull her T-shirt up to expose her to the cold wind. Ms. Wang was left on the death board and in the cold for 18 days. The torture left Ms. Wang paralyzed from the waist down, even after being taken off of the bed.

2. Wang Xiuzhi, female, college instructor, resident of Jilin Province

In May 2001, the guards at the Heizuizi Labor Camp assaulted Ms. Wang when they saw her doing Falun Gong exercises. Five guards took turns beating and shocking her with electric batons. Afterwards, they confined her to a death bed. She was not able to get up and had to defecate and urinate on the bed. This torture lasted eight full days, during which time her arms were in an extremely painful position. On the ninth day when they untied the belts, her arms were completely numb. She was not able to take care of herself for two months after this torture.

3. Zhang Yuhui, female, resident of Jilin Province

In early 2000, Ms. Zhang Yuhui was locked to a "death board" by the guards at the Heizuizi Labor Camp for one month. She had to eat and relieve her-self on the bed. The belts tightly strapped her arms and ankles to the sharp, rusty metal bed frame, causing deep bloody gashes. She could not rinse off, bathe, or change her clothes.

"Tiger Bench"

"Tiger bench" is a small iron bench. It is approximately 20 cm (8 inches) tall. The victim's hands are tied together behind the back while his knees are tied down to a bench. Some hard objects such as bricks are inserted under the tied legs, causing the legs to bend upward in an unnatural way that causes them to break at the knees.


"Tiger Bench"

1. Liu Hongtao, male, 31, resident of Harbin City

2. Zhang Qi, male, resident of Heilongjiang Province

In 2000, Mr. Liu Hongtao and Mr. Zhang Qi were sentenced to the Changlinzi Labor Camp in Harbin City of Heilongjiang Province for one year. Their families were not allowed to visit them or send them personal daily-use items. While they were illegally detained in the labor camp, they were constantly tortured in various ways. They were forced to stand for a long time, locked into small cages, beaten with electric batons, deprived of sleep, denied the use of the toilet, tied to a "tiger bench" for extended periods of time, forced to do hard labor from early in the morning until midnight, and forced to read articles slandering Falun Gong.

3. Li Yanming, female, resident of Changchun City, Jilin Province

On January 25, 2002, Ms. Li Yanming was taken away from her home by the police from Changchun City. The next day, several policemen took Ms. Li to a remote building where they tortured her for two days and two nights. They forced her to sit on the "tiger bench," on which she was forced to sit straight up with her eyes looking straight ahead. Her hands were placed on her knees, and she was not allowed to turn her head, close her eyes, talk to anyone or raise her hand. She was severely beaten whenever she moved a little bit on the bench. The severe beating left her arms paralyzed and she could not even eat anything for a few days.

"Iron Chair"

1. Zhang Jian, female, 54, resident of Mishan City


"Tiger Bench"
with rings arms, wrists, legs and feet

Ms. Zhang Jian was shackled to an "iron chair" and sleep-deprived for 8 days and nights at the Wanjia Labor Camp. She was only fed several teaspoons of corn soup twice a day, so she was always starving. She was also handcuffed to the door in a "small cell" three times, each time for 72 hours, and deprived of sleep. The torture and starvation weakened her significantly, and her whole body was infected with scabies (painful skin disease caused by parasitic mites that burrow underneath one's skin).

2. Xu Lihua, female, 54, retired employee of the Timber Mill in Shuangcheng City, Heilongjiang Province

On January 24, 2001, the guards at the Wanjia Labor Camp knocked Ms. Xu Lihua down to the floor and beat her. Ms. Xu was dragged by her hair to a solitary cell and locked in the "iron chair" for 8 days with her mouth sealed with tape. On March 9, 2001, she was sent to the solitary cell again and locked up for 30 days. From noon of June 18 to June 20, 2001, guard Li Min hung her up by her wrists for nearly 40 hours. Li Min shocked her with an electric baton until her entire body became black and blue.

3. Pan Xuanhua, female, 55, resident of Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province

On April 26, 2001, Ms. Pan Xuanhua was beaten by 6 policemen from the Wanjia Labor Camp. She suffered internal injuries in her chest and spat blood for several days. After this, she was chained to the "iron chair" for 3 days and 2 nights. She went on a hunger strike to protest the torture. Twelve days later, she was locked in the iron chair for another 7 days. Her hunger strike lasted 17 days. She was thus tortured in a solitary cell for as long as 45 days.

"Water Jail" or "Water Dungeon"

Water dungeon is a grotesque torture. A victim is stripped down to underwear or naked and locked into a small iron cage with spikes on all sides. The cage is lowered into filthy water up to the victim's chest or neck. The room is completely dark, and the victim is locked in the cage for days or even weeks, and urine and feces are excreted into the water.


"Water Cage"

1. Mr. Xiao, male, Beijing

On December 30, 2000, Mr. Xiao was tortured with the water dungeon in the Huairou Detention Center in Beijing. Mr. Xiao was forced to sit down in an uncomfortable position in the water dungeon area beside the cell vent. He was unable to stretch or lie down and he couldn't support his body against the wall. Then guards began to fill dirty, cold water into the room. Xiao's body was completely soaked. Ice-cold water and the chilly wind pierced through his body.

2. Kang Hong, male, 30's, resident of Jiangbei District; Han Yiming, male, 30's, teacher of South-west Normal University; Li Xiangdong, male, 30's, resident of Jiangbei District, Chongqing City

In 2001, Mr. Kang Hong, Mr. Han Yiming, Mr. Li Xiangdong and another 10 Falun Gong practitioners were tortured with the water dungeon at the Xishanping Labor Camp of Chongqing City, Sichuan Province. There was no light in the water dungeon at any time, and there were even dead rats and snakes in the cell in addition to the sewage water. The cage was less than a person's height, and the practitioners were handcuffed to the top of the cage. As a result, they could neither stand straight up nor sit down. The practitioners had to defecate and urinate in the dungeon. The torture lasted 7 to 15 days. When Mr. Kang was taken out of the dungeon, his whole body was contorted, and the lower part of his body had festered. He was paralyzed for the next few days.

"Di Lao" or "Hell Confinement"

The "Di Lao" device includes a pair of handcuffs and a pair of foot-shackles, which are linked together with crossed steel or iron chains. There are two types, one shown in a) and the other b). The handcuff length in a) is 1.2 feet and the distance from the handcuff to foot-shackle is 1.5 feet. The foot-shackle in b) is not movable, thus it rubs the feet and causes bleeding. Such instruments make it very difficult and some-times impossible for victims to walk, sit down, use the toilet or feed themselves.


1. Sun Lanfang, female, 28, resident of Dalian City, Liaoning Province

In September 1999, Ms. Sun Lanfang was detained at the Dalian Yaojia Detention Center merely because she practices Falun Gong exercises. Ms. Sun was tortured during her detention. She was shackled with the "Di Lao" device, which was tied to a steel plate, so that she could not move. Ms. Sun was placed in the "Di Lao" device for about 4 days.

2. Yang Xiujian, female 33, resident of Dalian City, Liaoning Province

On August 30, 1999, Ms. Yang Xiujian was ar-rested and detained at the Dalian Yaojia Detention Center. On September 4, 1999, Ms. Yang was handcuffed to a window rail. She was not able to sit or lie down, and she was handcuffed in this awkward position for more than thirty hours. On September 8, 1999 she was put in the "Di Lao" device. Her menstrual period started that evening but the guards refused to remove the "Di Lao" device from her. She was not even allowed to change clothes. The guards even made her move from one cell to another with the "Di Lao" device on. The shackle gouged a hole in her foot.

Ms. Zhang Chunqing’s feet, 7 days after the “Di Lao” device was removed
3. Zhang Chunqing, female 58, resident of Dalian City, Liaoning Province

On September 3, 1999, Ms. Zhang Chunqing was arrested for practicing Falun Gong exercises in a public park and was detained at the Dalian Yaojia Detention Center. On September 5, 1999, Ms. Zhang was shackled with the "Di Lao" device because she refused to renounce Falun Gong. She could not walk and had to crawl back to her cell after the "Di Lao" device was put on her. She remained shackled this way for two days and nights. On September 9, 1999, the guards saw Ms. Zhang doing Falun Gong exercises. They slapped her with large, hard binders, and put the "Di Lao" on her again.

"Small Cage"
Small cages are 1.5 meters in height, 1.3 meters in length, and less than a meter in width. Victims are usually handcuffed to the cage in such a way that they can neither stand up nor sit down, but must just hold themselves in an awkward, crouched position. Sleep is not allowed. After a few days, the victim's legs will become swollen. In severe cases, necrosis can hap-pen to feet, ankles and legs. The small cage is usually placed outdoors, thus exposing the victim to bitter cold in the winter, scorching sun in summer, as well as in-sect bites. Victims of small cage torture often have difficulty walking even after a long recovery period.

"Small Cage"
1. Ma Wenrui, male, Shuangcheng City, Heilongjiang Province; Yan Jiguo, male, Yilan County, Heilongjiang Province

Mr. Ma Wenrui and Mr. Yan Jiguo were locked in small cages by guards at the Changlinzi Labor Camp because they refused to renounce Falun Gong. They were not released even to use the toilet.

2. Jia Naizhi, female, 40

Ms. Jia Naizhi was held and tortured in a "small cage" for 19 days at the Masanjia Labor Camp. As a result, her ankles became severely swollen, and she could not bend her legs. She had to crawl on the floor in order to defecate. Her arms were handcuffed at the highest position for six days until she began running a high fever. Even so, she was not released from the handcuffs. They were only lowered slightly. Her request for water and a blanket was rejected. In-stead the guards shocked her with electric batons.

3. Lin Xiuru, female, resident of Heilongjiang Province

Ms. Lin Xiuru was locked in a "small cage" for more than 10 days at the Wanjia Labor Camp. This cage, so called "Imprisonment in Hell," has a width of 0.6 meters, length of 1.3 meters and height of 1.5 meters. The guards locked her up in the small cage for more than 10 days.

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