Man, Abducted for Practicing Falun Gong, Dies after Four Days in Police Custody
Body, covered in deep bruises, cremated quickly
New York — A 38 year-old man from Central China died in police custody four days after being abducted, the Falun Dafa Information Center recently learned. Mr. Yang Zhonggeng’s corpse was covered in extensive bruises but the local Domestic Security Office claimed he committed suicide, his family reported.
Mr. Yang had been homeless and living on the run since 2008, when police from Lingbao City, Henan Province, attempted to abduct several practitioners, including Mr. Yang. He escaped and remained in hiding for nearly five years, an all-too common tactic for Falun Gong practitioners to avoid arrest and torture, but also to protect family members who often become vicitms of police pressure.
The local 610 Office continued to search for Mr. Yang over the five years he was homeless – going so far as to post “Wanted Posters” with his image. On June 24, 2013, police abducted Mr. Yang and two other Falun Gong practitioners from a post office in Zhengzhou City, Henan Province. He died on June 28th.
Officials allowed Mr. Yang’s family to view the corpse under the watch of nearly 40 officers, who escorted at least one family member away when he attempted to take a picture. An examiner performed an autopsy but refused to state that physical trauma played a part in his death. Officials cremated the body soon after.
Family members have sought the help of an attorney to seek an investigation but have thus far not received a satisfactory resolution.
“It is appalling to learn that a man, living as a refugee in his own country, can be abducted from a public space and be beaten to death within days,” said Levi Browde, Director of the Falun Dafa Information Center. “And that there is no legitimate recourse for family members, or hope for incrimination of those responsible.”
Mr. Yang previously spent three years in prison from 2000 to 2003, arrested for using a loudspeaker to tell people about persecution suffered by Falun Gong practitioners in custody. Torture brought him to the verge of death several times, which included injection of unknown drugs, beatings with electric batons and being hung for extended times with handcuffs.
The Falun Dafa Information Center calls on diplomats stationed in China to demand a third-party investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mr. Yang’s death and ensure the release of other Falun Gong practitioners being held in Henan Province.