Falun Gong Death Case Alert, Feb 15 – 21

The following alert is a collection of available details for cases of Falun Gong adherents who died recently in China as they have been reported to the Falun Dafa Information Center. The deaths of those listed have occurred as a result of various forms of persecution, including torture in police custody. The cases are compiled from a range of sources, including testimony of relatives or friends of the deceased, photographic evidence, and follow-up phone calls made by researchers to the relevant police or prison authorities.

The cases listed here, and particularly, the degree to which several of the victims died within a short period of time of being taken into custody, highlight the dangers adherents continue to face on a daily basis, including when they practice their faith in the privacy of the own homes.

Through the publication of these details, the Center hopes to facilitate the investigation and reporting of such abuses by members of the international media and human rights community.

This installment of the alert includes reports of the deaths of six adherents, three of them during the month of February. The ages of the victims range from 40 to 77. Two of the deaths occurred in Hubei province and one each in Hebei, Heilongjiang, Shandong, and Liaoning provinces.

Hou Lihua

Name in Chinese ???
Age: 40
Gender: Female
Address/City: Nanshi Street, Dongan District, Mudanjiang City
Province: Heilongjiang
Date of detention: November 17, 2008
Date of release: December 2008
Date of death: February 14, 2009

On the afternoon of November 17, 2008, Ms. Hou Lihua employed at Shunda Calcium Carbide Limited Company, was taken from her workplace by the Mudanjiang City State Security unit and placed in detention, where she was reportedly beaten and tortured. She was released in December 2008, but never fully recovered from her injuries. Ms. Hou passed away on February 14, 2009.

Sources close to her indicate that she had been arrested on three separate occasions since the persecution of Falun Gong began, each time suffering severe torture:

  • In June 2000, while she was detained in the women’s ward of the Mudanjiang City “Re-education through labor” Camp, she was allegedly taken into a cell and tied to an “iron chair,” with her legs and arms bound and mouth duct taped shut. Several guards proceeded to beat her. Not long thereafter, Ms. Hou went on a hunger strike to protest the treatment, and was violently force-fed. She and another Falun Gong prisoners were also reportedly stripped and sexually abused by labor camp guards.
  • Following her release from the labor camp, Ms. Hou was again arrested in November 2001. Police from the Aimin District Police Department allegedly tied her to a “tiger bench,” a common form of torture in which the victim is bound to a bench, with several bricks placed under the feet so as to elevate the legs. Guards then placed heavy iron shackles on her stomach, jumped on her chest, and pulled her arms. When she passed out from torture, guards would pour cold water on her and continue the abuse. At one point, she recalled having mustard oil and a lit cigarette crammed in her nose, and a plastic bag placed over her head. The torture continued for five consecutive days, during which time Ms. Hou was not allowed to sleep. In spite of her condition following the torture, she was sentenced administratively to three years of forced labor and later sent to the Harbin City Drug Rehabilitation Center.
  • Witnesses at the Drug Rehabilitation Center recounted that Ms. Hou and the other Falun Gong prisoners were subjected to extreme torture. For instance, they were reportedly taken to the building’s basement, where guards stripped them naked, shackled both their arms and feel to the ground, and tortured them with electric shock batons. Some had electric shocks administered to their breasts and genitals. The whole building, according to witnesses, smelled of burnt flesh.

Li Changmao

Name in Chinese: ???
Age: 50s
Gender: Male
City: Macheng City
Province: Hubei  
Date of death: February 8, 2009

Mr. Li Changmao was a Falun Gong practitioner in his 50s who lived in Macheng City, Hubei Province. On the morning of February 8, 2009, he left home to distribute informational literature about the persecution of Falun Gong. He was shortly after found dead approximately 500 yards away from his home. The precise cause of death is currently being investigated.

Mr. Li was well known to the local 610 Office, and had previously been detained for his belief in Falun Gong. On February 24, 2002, officers from the Songbu Police Station and the Macheng City 610 Office arrested Mr. Yang from his home and sentenced him to Shizishan Forced Labor Camp for one year. He was repeatedly beaten and forced to perform forced labor. At 9 p.m. on June 19, 2008, police from the Macheng City Department, the State Security unit, and the Qiting Station ransacked his home and took him into custody. He was sent to hospital, apparently due to the recurrence of a previous ailment. After he had recovered, he was detained for fifteen days at the Macheng City Second Detention Center.

Sun Aimei

Name in Chinese: ???
Age: Approximately 60
Gender: Female
City: Xinhua Village, Zhucheng City
Province: Shandong
Date of detention: March 25, 2008
Date of death: Approximately February 1, 2009

Ms. Sun Aimei was arrested on March 25, 2008, while distributing literature about the persecution of Falun Gong. Three days later, on March 28, she was sentenced administratively to the Wangcun Women’s Forced Labor Camp.

Towards the end of 2008, labor camp officials summoned her family to bring them 5,000 Yuan. Upon their arrival at the camp, her family found that Ms. Sun had suffered a stroke and had undergone surgery, but they were not allowed to see her. On February 1, 2009, Ms. Sun’s family was asked to return to the labor camp to collect her ashes.

Yang Yushan

Name in Chinese: ???
Age: 76
Gender: Male
City: Dalian City
Province: Liaoning
Date of death: September 5, 2008

Mr. Yang Yushan was a retired army officer living at the Zhuanshan Army Base in Dalian City. Since 1999, Mr. Yang and his wife, who is also a Falun Gong adherent, were detained on numerous occasions because they persisted in their practice of the spiritual discipline and protested its persecution. They were detained at the Dalian City Drug Rehabilitation Center, the Yaojia Detention Center, and the Dalian City Labor Camp. Following their release from detention, the couple was repeatedly harassed by security agents at their home. Mr. Yang died on September 5, 2008, having suffered both physical and mental trauma. Further investigation into the circumstances of his death is underway.

Cao Changling

Name in Chinese: ???
Age: 77
Gender: Male
City: Qiaokou District, Wuhan City
Province: Hubei
Date of detention: August 8, 2008
Date of death: August 15, 2008

Mr. Cao Changling was employed as vice director of the Dongfeng Paper Factory. Mr. Cao left home on his bike on August 8, 2008, just as the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics was underway. He did not return home that night, and his family’s search for him ended in vain.

Two days later, on August 10th, his family was notified that Mr. Cao was being held at the Tenth Wuhan City Hospital. When they arrived at the hospital, they found Mr. Cao unconscious and covered in bruises. His clothes were torn to shreds; he had sustained injuries to his head, and had fractured a bone in his wrist. Doctors claimed that he had suffered a stroke and fallen off his bike, but his family members believed this story was inconsistent with the nature of his injuries.

Mr. Cao’s family asked to have him transferred to another hospital, but their request was denied. Before Mr. Cao could regain consciousness and tell his story, the doctors performed a tracheotomy, rendering him unable to speak. Mr. Cao died on August 15, 2008. His family is currently seeking witnesses to help uncover the truth surrounding his hospitalization and mysterious death.

Wang Donghai

Name in Chinese: ???
Age: 51
Gender: Male
City: Qingyuan County, Baoding
Province: Hebei Province
Date of death: January 25, 2009

Mr. Wang Donghai passed away at his home on January 25, 2009, following nearly a decade of harassment, extortion, beatings, and other forms of abuse at the hands of security agents. Family and friends believe the stress induced by constant harassment caused this otherwise healthy man to suffer an untimely death. The following is a partial account of the persecution suffered by Mr. Wang:

  • In the summer of 1999, Mr. Wang traveled to Beijing to stage a peaceful demonstration calling for an end to the persecution against Falun Gong. He was sent back to Qingyuan County where he was detained and beaten. Officials extorted 600 Yuan from him (approximately the average monthly income of an urban worker).
  • In 2001, Mr. Wang was again detained at the Qingyuan County Detention Center for 25 days. By the time he was permitted to return home, he was reportedly weakened and in poor health. Police extorted another 10,000 Yuan.
  • In the summer of 2003, while Mr. Wang was studying Falun Gong’s teachings, three police officers forced entry into his home, confiscating his Falun Gong materials and ransacking his home. He was taken to the local police station and forced by pay 1,000 Yuan.
  • In July 2006, Mr. Wang was reported to the police for watching a DVD containing information on the persecution of Falun Gong. He was arrested from his home, and police extorted 5,500 Yuan. He was whipped repeatedly, sustaining bruises to his thighs and making it difficult for him to stand.
  • In October, 2006, security agents again forced entry into Mr. Wang’s home, confiscating his MP3 player and detaining him at a government office. He was forced to pay 2,000 before being released.
  • Prior to the 17th Party Congress in October 2007, security officials went to Mr. Wang’s home to force him to agree not to leave town, lest he be imprisoned.
  • On July 14, 2008, agents from the Qingyuan County 610 Office harassed Mr. Wang at his home again and attempted to force him to disavow Falun Gong. They took his personal ID and threatened to take him to the county brainwashing center if he continued to practice.
  • In January 2009, security officials from the 610 Office again went to Mr. Wang’s home and proceeded to interrogate him about his practice of Falun Gong. He died soon thereafter.