Lawyers Expose Abuse at “Ziyang Legal Education Center”

Created: 2013-05-16 14:59 EST

Category: China

We reported on Monday that a group of Chinese lawyers went to Ziyang in Sichuan province to investigate a brainwashing center called Ere Lake.

They heard that many practitioners of the Falun Gong spiritual practice had been detained there illegally and went to investigate. But the lawyers were detained for taking pictures outside the illegal center and say they were beaten.
Speaking after the fact, Beijing Lawyer Jiang Tianyong said the reason the brainwashing center was established was to circumvent the law.
[Jiang Tianyong , Beijing Lawyer]:
"As we learned, Falun Gong practitioners did not receive any due process but were sent there directly there after being abducted.”
Black jails, basically extralegal detention centers, have sprung up all around China as a dumping ground for critics and dissidents. But this one in particular was meant to brainwash its inmates, and in Falun Gong’s case, to get practitioners to renounce their beliefs. Jiang Tianyong said the sign outside the detention center read “Ziyang Legal Education Center”.
[Jiang Tianyong , Beijing Lawyer]:
“They are forcibly brainwashed, made to write statements (denouncing Falun Gong) and only then can they be released. Otherwise, they will continue to be detained. Some were even detained for five to six years.” 
Jiang says there is a system of incentives and punishments that keeps the abuse under wraps. The 610 Office, an extralegal agency set up to carry out the persecution of Falun Gong, is in charge of these centers. They use the detainees there to extract money from their community.
[Jiang Tianyong , Beijing Lawyer]:
“If a practitioner inside gets brainwashed, they will receive a pay-off from above. 
If a practitioner is forced into the brainwashing center, (the 610 office) may force his department to pay tens of thousands of yuan.”
But it doesn’t stop there.
[Jiang Tianyong , Beijing Lawyer]:
“Or his community has to pay the money. The community or department does not dare offend the 610 Office, so they pay up.  Money is even extorted from the abductee’s family members. A practitioner sent there is a cash cow for them."
Li Heping, another lawyer from Beijing says this type of detention center should not be tolerated. 
Li was not one of the lawyers who went to investigate, but he says he hopes to organize more lawyers to visit these camps.