Middle-Aged Farmer Dies of Torture

Northeastern Chinese man jailed for carrying 100 leaflets about the persecution of Falun Gong; he is killed of same persecution

The Falun Dafa Information Center has learned that a 45-year-old farmer from northeastern China has died as a result of torture after being illegally detained for three months. His fingerprints on a fabricated confession were taken while he was unconscious for an alleged “crime” of carrying 100 Falun Gong flyers.

“The use of fabricated ‘confessions’ for crimes that don’t even exist are far too often used against Falun Gong torture victims,” says Falun Dafa Information Center spokeswoman Gail Rachlin.

Prominent Chinese human rights lawyers like Gao Zhisheng and Li Heping have argued that possessing information about human rights issues does not violate any Chinese law and is a right that should be protected under China’s own constitution. These lawyers, too, have been tortured as a result.

The Falun Gong torture victim, Mr. Dong Liantai, lived in Zhengjiu village in the countryside of China’s northernmost province Heilongjiang. He died after being sent to a labor camp in the provincial capital, Harbin.

“Heilongjiang province has one of the highest death rates of Falun Gong practitioners killed by torture,” Rachlin said. “Its labor camps are particularly notorious for using brutal torture methods, including forced-feeding, on Falun Gong practitioners.”

While riding his bicycle home at 7:00pm on June 24, 2008, two village officials accosted Mr. Dong and detained him without explanation. Police officer Fan Zimin then ransacked his home and took him to the local Shuangcheng town police department to be interrogated.

During interrogation Mr. Dong reportedly lost consciousness due to beatings to his face. According to an acquaintance of Mr. Dong’s who would not disclose his identity, police officers then dragged him and pressed his fingerprints on a “confession” statement. His crime was being in possession of 100 Falun Gong flyers.

He was then held in the Shuangcheng City Detention Center and interrogated again. He was charged with disturbing social order.

“I did not disrupt social order by riding my bike home,” Mr. Dong had reportedly said before he died. “Those officers threatened that they could sentence me to forced labor for two years.”

Dong was then indeed sent to Wanjia Forced Labor Camp for ten days and then taken to Changlinzi Forced Labor Camp for “reeducation.” In attempts to break his will and belief, guards tortured him by tying him to a “Tiger Bench” and force-feeding him mustard oil and highly concentrated salt water.

The torture caused Mr. Dong to cough severely. He could not sleep and felt a hot, burning sensation in his chest and stomach, after which he passed out.

On July 10, 2008, Mr. Dong’s family was notified that he was sentenced to forced labor and tried visiting him. But labor camp officials claimed he was not there and provided no further information of his whereabouts.

Two months later, Mr. Dong was already near death because of torture. Fearing that he would die in custody, camp administrators returned him to the local Shuancheng town government to have his family pick him up.

Chinese labor camps have been known to regularly release Falun Gong practitioners on the brink of death hoping to avoid the local or international scrutiny that sometimes accompanies a death in custody. If the prisoner dies at home, the labor camp officials can more easily dodge accusations of responsibility.

According to witnesses, the night before they returned him home, camp guards told Mr. Dong: “We are taking you home, because you will not live through the night.”

By then, Mr. Dong was coughing up lung tissue and said that he felt as if his insides were burning. His back and internal organs were causing him unbearable pain.

He died eight days after being released at 6:40 p.m. on September 19, 2008, with a high fever and in extreme pain.