Yan Yuhua is one among the millions who have languished in Chinese prisons because of their faith. The first time she was arrested, in 2006, guards put her in solitary confinement in an effort to force her to sign a renouncement of her faith. Sleeping, showering, eating, and even lying down were luxuries. They poured cold water over her body and forced her to stand for prolonged periods. They also barred her family—parents in their 70s and a teenage son—from visiting her.
Later, she was detained at a brainwashing center for 2 1/2 years. Guards made her wear earbuds blasting propaganda that attacked her faith. “Watchers” would take turns beating and insulting her.
Stories mirroring the experiences of Yan, an adherent of the spiritual practice Falun Gong—whose practitioners have been persecuted by the Chinese regime since 1999—are now also occurring in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang.