Two Falun Gong Women from Heilongjiang Dead in Double Torture Case
Deaths Called "Chilling Illustration" of Realities Cited in Recent State Dept. Report
NEW YORK (FDI) – The Falun Dafa Information Center has learned of the wrongful deaths of Ms. Xu Hongmei and Ms. Shen Zili following horrific torture at the hands of communist authorities in China. Xu, 37, and Shen (age unknown), both of Heilongjiang province, were arrested on January 13, 2007, on grounds of their association with the Falun Gong meditation group. Sources in China report that on February 27, following a week-long spell of “savage” beatings and torture by police, the two died painful deaths, both convulsing and coughing blood.
At the time of death, Xu and Shen were still being monitored by police even though in Qiqihar city’s No. 2 Hospital inpatient ward and in a coma. Xu’s family members report that one policeman quipped, “How come they’re not dead yet?” on the day of their passing. Xu is said to have died at 4:30 P.M. and Shen at 8:50 P.M. Family of Xu and Shen indicate that the women’s bodies were covered with welts and bruises, which police claimed came from the victims having “hit themselves against a hard object.” Both bodies were hastily cremated between 8:00 and 9:00 A.M. on March 1 under police watch.
Family members indicate that Xu and Shen suffered horribly in custody prior to their deaths. The bulk of abuses are said to have taken place during an unspecified five-day spell during the period of arrest, and occurred at the Qinglong Street Police Station of Qiqihar city, in Heilongjiang province. Prior to their passing, Xu and Shen singled out a figure named Yi Zhanhui as a primary culprit in the abuse suffered.
During the five-day period, Xu was reportedly hung in the air, suspended only by handcuffs; in one instance the cuffs suspending her held her arms and hands behind her back, causing excruciating pain. Xu was at one point tied in a spread eagle position and locked in a metal cage. When Xu lost consciousness from the pain, police reportedly doused her with ice water and resumed torture. Xu was reportedly on hunger strike and in weakened condition entering the five-day period; too weak to walk, she had been shackled by authorities to a bed.
Shen, held in the same facility, is said to have been bound to a chair and immobilized by adhesive tape. At one point police repeatedly slammed Shen’s head against a wall, until consciousness was lost, only to resume the torture after Shen came to.
Sources indicate that Xu and Shen were afterwards, on an unspecified date, treated at a police hospital and then transported to the Qiqihar City Detention Center, where they were again held captive. On February 17 the two were evacuated to No. 2 Hopsital of Qiqihar city on account of the severe internal injuries they had by then suffered. Blood was seen coming from both women’s mouths in the hospital. Xu and Shen later went into convulsions. Soon after, the women’s bodies reportedly swelled severely, and both lapsed into comas. By one account tears were seen streaming down Xu’s face, despite her having no response to external stimuli.
Though neither Xu nor Shen is believed to have been a prominent Falun Gong organizer, both fit a pattern of escalating intimidation, unlawful arrest, and physical abuse at the hands of China’s Communist Party.
Xu is believed to have been unlawfully arrested five times in the past on grounds of her affiliation with Falun Gong, including one sentencing of three years in a labor camp for refusing to renounce the practice. On multiple occasions she was the victim of police torture. Xu’s husband, Sun Weimin, was wrongfully arrested as well for his association with Falun Gong. In the summer of 2001 he was sentenced to thirteen years in prison for his beliefs, and is presently incarcerated at Tailai Prison, sources indicate. The whereabouts and welfare of the couple’s daughter, Tiantian, are unknown at this time and feared for. Tiantian, who is around 7 years of age, was last known to be hiding in fear in the abandoned dormitory of a gear factory.
Shen was in the past similarly the victim of communist cruelty and maltreatment. During a stint at the Shuanghe Women’s Labor Camp of Qiqihar city, Shen was reportedly tortured for her beliefs. During another period, Shen was held in the custody of the Shuguang Police Station of Qiqihar and tortured with the “tiger bench,” a method called “five horses splitting the body,” bamboo spikes, and beatings with metal pipes and hammers. On multiple occasions Shen was tortured to the point of losing consciousness, sources in China report.
The deaths of Xu and Shen come close on the heels of the U.S. Department of State’s annual human rights Country Reports, released March 6, and confirm in chilling detail allegations of abuse at the hands of China’s communist authorities. According to the report, “In March UN Special Rapporteur Nowak reaffirmed earlier findings that torture remained widespread,” adding that “Nowak reported that beatings with fists, sticks, and electric batons continued to be the most common tortures. He also found that prisoners continued to suffer cigarette burns, prolonged periods of solitary confinement, and submersion in water or sewage … Some foreign observers estimated that Falun Gong adherents constituted at least half of the 250,000 officially recorded inmates in reeducation-through-labor camps, while Falun Gong sources overseas placed the number even higher. In March UN Special Rapporteur Nowak reported that Falun Gong practitioners accounted for 66 percent of victims of alleged torture while in government custody.”