Tortured Falun Gong Practitioner Heals In Houston Hospital
Tan Yongjie was a factory worker in Baoan, Guangdong Province. He began practicing Falun Gong in June of 1998. Since Chinese president, Jiang Zemin, began the crackdown against Falun Dafa in 1999, the police illegally detained Tan a total of four times in July 1999, October 1999, April 2000, and July 2000. His detention lasted 15 days each time, and each time Tan refused to renounce his belief in Falun Gong.
On the night of April 26, 2001, two years after the "April 25th Incident," Tan Yongjie was arrested while distributing fliers calling for an end of the persecution against Falun Gong. The cops fiercely beat him, and then illegally sent him to a labor camp in the Boluo Area. According to Tan's account, the labor camp was hell. The disciplinary guards lashed at Falun Dafa practitioners at will with wooden sticks, bamboo rods, or leather whips.
In the labor camp, the guards beat Tan many times because he refused to write the "repentance statements," "guarantees to stop practicing," and also refused to renounce his belief in Falun Dafa. He was once handcuffed to a window and hung there for more than five hours just because he practiced Falun Gong exercises. The handcuffs cut into his wrists and his wrists became bruised.
On June 2nd, three guards tortured him again. First they beat him and tried to force him to write "repentance statements." However, Tan did not say a word. Later, the guards tied him to a pillar. One guard heated up a rusted iron rod on an electric burner until the rod turned red, then he pressed the rod against Tan's legs in over a dozen places while asking: "Do you still want to practice Falun Gong?" Tan was seriously burned. His legs shook and he cried out loudly. He was in so much pain that he lost control over his bowel functions. Then the guards dragged him back to his small cell and locked him in. He could not walk nor sleep because of the pain. Later, the guards ordered him to care for an orchard. The orchard was outside the range of the guards, so he escaped.
He escaped to Hong Kong in a truck, and on June 10th he hid inside a cargo ship. After about a half months' travel and experiencing all kinds of hardships, he reached Long Beach, California on June 24th. He could not speak English, so he had to find help wherever he could. A very kind old man was on his way to Florida, and was willing to give Tan a ride. When Tan came to Houston, he had no money so he asked the local police for help. The police sent him to a shelter called "Star of Hope."
On July 13th, the burns on his legs burst into open wounds while he was in the shower. He was sent to the Park Plaza Hospital where doctors diagnosed the wounds as third-degree burns. There are thirteen wounds on his legs, and all of them were injuries reaching deep into the muscles. Even now, two months after the torture, his wounds are still too grisly to look at. Doctors placed a skin graft on the wounds that were too big and too deep to heal themselves. Doctors say that he will be discharged from the hospital soon.
During his treatment at the hospital, American as well as Chinese people from the nursing staff, local charity organizations, police, and Falun Gong practitioners all showed great concern for him and helped him greatly.
On July 27th and 28th, all of Huston's major media sources, including CBS channel 11, ABC channel 13, NBC channel 2, Fox channel 26, WB channel 39, Houston Associated Press, and World Daily, came to interview him at the hospital. When reporters asked how he felt, Tan said, "The labor camp in Mainland China was like hell. While here, everyone is so nice to me. The difference is so huge." He is just one of the countless Falun Gong practitioners who have suffered inhumane persecution and torture. He also said that in China, there are still many, many other practitioners who have suffered even more than he did.
To date, at least 250 Falun Gong people have died while in police custody, with over 50 new deaths reported in the last month alone. More than 500 practitioners have been given long prison terms. More than 600 practitioners have been sent to mental hospitals. More than 10,000 practitioners have been sent to the labor camps without trial, and more than 50,000 practitioners have been detained and jailed. Countless Falun Gong practitioners have been tortured and beaten by the police. Tan is just one of them.
Here we appeal to all kind-hearted people, institutions and governmental organizations to uphold justice for Falun Gong practitioners, to pay close attention to the brutal tortures suffered by Falun Gong practitioners, and to save Falun Gong practitioners who are suffering from persecution. We appeal to you to help to stop Jiang Zemin's cruel persecution and vicious killings against Falun Gong practitioners.