China - Chinese human rights attorney Jiang Tianyong, who was arrested in February as part of the Chinese Communist Party’s attempt to nip a homegrown “Jasmine Revolution” in the bud, recently broke his silence about what went on while he was in custody.
Isolation, brainwashing, sleep deprivation and torture were regular parts of those two months. He had been arrested by police in front of his family members, who simply said that he was “under investigation.”
He was released on April 29, but not until mid-September did Jiang tell his story. The most painful part of the ordeal was the brainwashing sessions, he told Sound of Hope Radio (SOH) on Sept. 14.
“I was completely isolated from the outside world and had no opportunity to obtain information other than that forced on me by the police during the brainwashing sessions. In fact, I was under slow mental death. You know, in ancient China, there was a form of execution named slow slicing or lingering death [lingchi].”
During the two months of detention neither Jiang nor his family received an official notice or documentation; no one on the outside knew whether he was dead or alive. Jiang, a lawyer since 2005, became a target because of his willingness to take on human rights cases. In particular, he defended practitioners of Falun Gong, a group that is persecuted without mercy by the regime.
“I spent the entire detention period in one room, except that they moved me twice. I did not know where I was because when they moved me they covered my head,” he told Voice of America (VOA). “Day in and day out, I was under a blinding white light in that room. I do not know how I spent the spring; I didn’t see a single ray of sunshine.”
Starting from the third day of the detention, Jiang was put under a strict schedule. He had to get up at a required time, then report to the police and shout slogans saying that he was willing to accept the government’s education. After that, he had to recite lyrics of three songs praising the Communist Party—making a mistake meant he had to start again.
Jiang was interrogated from midnight to 5am for the first five nights of his detention.
The mental torture and sleep deprivation contributed to his memory loss, Jiang told VOA. Jiang said that he used to have a very good memory, but noticed lately that he could not remember things, such as items in his bedroom and his Skype password. Jiang lost 18 pounds during the two months.
He did not give in, though. “These horrible things happened to me. I must speak out and let everyone know,” he told SOH. “Sooner or later people will know, no matter how hard the CCP hides it. If the CCP does not want people to know, then they should not do it… the terror will be and must be broken.”
On Sept. 1 Jiang and another Chinese rights lawyer, Teng Biao, were recognized for this year’s Prize for Outstanding Democracy Activist, given by the Los Angeles based Chinese Democracy Education Foundation