Toronto Residents Mourn Friend’s Death in China with Candlelight Vigil
Banker tortured to death by police for his practice of Falun Gong
TORONTO, September 13, 2002 (Falun Dafa Information Centre) — As they had done many times before over the last three years, Toronto residents who practice or support Falun Gong gathered outside Toronto’s Chinese consulate to hold a candlelight vigil in memory of those who have died from torture and abuse in China.
This time, however, it was personal.
In the spring of 1998, Mr. Chan Wang spent two months in Toronto as part of a delegation from the main branch of the China People’s Bank in Beijing. During his stay, he made many friends at the local Falun Gong practice groups, among them Tia Zhang, a teacher at the National Ballet School of Canada.
“He was always happy,” says 61-year-old Ms. Zhang of her friend Mr. Wang. “He was very kind and he just really wanted to improve himself,” she said.
On the afternoon of August 21, Mr. Wang was arrested at the Liangshan County bus station in Shandong Province. During his detention, reliable sources in China report that he was tortured, punched, kicked, hand cuffed, shackled and beaten with a stick.
Sometime over the next eight days, Mr. Wang died in the Jining City Detention Center of Shandong Province, tortured to death for his belief in Falun Gong.
July 20, 1999, Jiang’s Ban Separates Canadian from Her Friends
Almost a year after Mr. Wang’s visit to Canada, Ms. Zhang was in Beijing and met Mr. Wang and his wife on July 19th, 1999. “We were so happy to see each other,” she recalls. “We were like old friends.”
The next day, however, PRC head Jiang Zemin officially launched the persecution against Falun Gong. Ms. Zhang went to the Beijing Appeals Office to appeal. Mr. Wang and his wife appealed at Tiananmen Square. Because she was a Canadian citizen, Ms. Zhang was immediately deported. For Mr. Wang and his wife, however, it was the beginning of a very difficult three years.
Soon after his appeal in Tiananmen Square, Mr. Wang wrote a letter to the government calling for an end to the persecution. After that, the pressure on him increased. “He called me one day and said that police had surrounded his building and he had to flee. He could not go home anymore,” said Ms. Zhang. “After that he called me from telephone booths. He’d say ‘I cannot tell you where I am but I am not at home.'”
An April 9, 2001 email message from Mr. Wang still rests in the inbox of Jason Xiao, an engineer in Toronto who made friends with Mr. Wang during his stay in Canada. “My wife was taken away to a brainwashing class and since she was released they are keeping her under house arrest,” it reads. “[When I met her,] she seemed to not be herself.”
“We have to go out and tell people what is happening.”
Mr. Wang became a primary target of police because he managed to access information from overseas Falun Gong websites despite an intense government firewall. He would print materials from these websites exposing the Jiang regime’s persecution against Falun Gong and information about Falun Gong overseas, and then distribute this information.
He was arrested and detained on five separate occasions.
After losing his job and forced to leave his home, Mr. Wang traveled and made efforts to expose the persecution even further. Ms. Zhang recalls, “He said ‘prison is no place for practitioners [of Falun Gong] …we have to go out and tell people what is happening.'”
On more than one occasion, Mr. Wang set up loud speakers at forced labour camps where Falun Gong practitioners were being held, and broadcast facts of the persecution as well as Falun Gong’s teachings of truthfulness, compassion, forbearance to encourage practitioners suffering in the labour camps.
Sources in China reveal that police had issued a 100,000 yuan reward for Mr. Wang’s arrest.
Friends in Toronto lost all contact with Mr. Wang in 2001.
Mother Taken by Authorities After Son Killed by Police
On August 21, Mr. Wang, along with two other Falun Gong practitioners, was arrested by Hongtao Guo, a 38-year-old officer of the Public Security Bureau of the central district of Jining City, Shandong province, sources in China say. According to these sources, Officer Guo was also the primary person responsible for Mr. Wang’s torture and death.
Officer Guo’s name had already appeared on web sites overseas that monitor the crimes committed in the persecution of Falun Gong (http://www.fawanghuihui.org/) because of his previous participation in the persecution of other Falun Gong practitioners.
After Mr. Wang’s identity was uncovered by the police, his 60-year-old mother who lives in Jining was also abducted by police. The status of Mr. Wang’s mother, wife and the two practitioners with whom he was arrested are currently unknown.
A tearful Ms. Zhang recalls of her friend, “He was always striving to be more kind and tolerant … it’s terribly sad that so many Chinese police and officials are pressured to persecute people that are just trying to improve themselves.”