Ma Zhichai - 马志钗
(Minghui.org) Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Ma Zhichai, 42, died in police custody on August 1, 2012. Her body is being held at the Jiyuan City Funeral Home, but her family have not been allowed to view the body. Funeral home personnel have said that it is not allowed to see her body without the permission from the director of the police department. Ms. Ma had been in the intensive care unit after her health deteriorated in detention, but she was beginning to recover. Her sudden death, and the police department's refusal to allow the family to view the body have raised serious concerns about the cause of Ms. Ma's death.
Ms. Ma Zhichai
Arrested Again in February 2012
Over the course of the 13-year persecution of Falun Gong, Ms. Ma has been illegally arrested and detained multiple times by the Jiyuan Police Department and the Henan Province 610 Office. In order to avoid the relentless persecution, she left her hometown. She worked as a lab technician at Jidier LLC in Gaotang County, Liaocheng City, Shandong Province.
On February 25, 2012, while Ms. Ma was at work, officers from the Liaocheng City Police Department and Gaotang County Police Department arrested her and confiscated her personal laptop and cash, valued at 20,000 yuan. That same day, 11 other Falun Gong practitioners were also arrested. The practitioners were held at the Liaocheng Detention Center. Ms. Ma was handcuffed for a week at the detention center. On March 9, 2012, she was sent back to Henan Province and held at the Jiyuan Detention Center.
Falsely Charged and Sentenced
Ma Zhichai was falsely charged and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment by Zhao Nianbo, secretary of the Jiyuan Political and Legal Affairs Committee (PLAC). She later appealed to the Jiyuan Intermediate Court, but the original judgment was upheld.
On March 29, Ms. Ma was taken to the Xinxiang Women's Prison. The prison authorities refused to admit her because she did not pass the physical exam. One week later, on April 5, Ms. Ma was taken to the prison again, and the prison still refused to admit her.
Ms. Ma continued to be held at the Jiyuan City Detention Center, where conditions in the prison, coupled with likely abuse as well as health problems related to prior detentions, caused her health to deteriorate severely. By May 2012, Ms. Ma could no longer swallow food, and anything consumed was quickly regurgitated. In mid-May, she was sent to the Jiyuan City People’s Hospital for emergency treatment. The detention center called her husband and other family members, telling them to go visit her. The detention center urged the family to follow the hospital's procedure for medical parole.
At the end of May, Ms. Ma Zhichai was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit. She had tubes in both her stomach and lungs.
By the end of June 2012, Ms. Ma was so emaciated that she was unrecognizable. Daily infusions were all that kept her alive. Her lungs were extremely compromised. She was no longer able to move. Nevertheless, three armed policemen took turns guarding her.
Since Ma Zhichai arrived in the Intensive Care Unit, her family were not able to visit her. When they tried to see her, they were turned down, because the hospital insisted they needed the approval of the detention center.
Died in Hospital
On July 30, Ms. Ma's father, brother, and other relatives went to the hospital. They asked the doctor if there was any hope that she could be cured. The doctor said no. The family asked, “Why don't you move her to a different hospital?” The doctor said, “We have asked the police department five times, and they've refused.”
The next day, on the afternoon of July 31, Ms. Ma's family went to the hospital to see her and she seemed fine. Her sister-in-law asked her, “Can we take you home?” Ms. Ma quickly nodded. The nurse said, “Her pulse is stable today.”
On the morning of August 1, Ms. Ma's family made plans to transfer her to the Jiyuan No. 2 People's Hospital. While discussing the possible transfer, the doctor at Jiyuan No. 2 People's Hospital asked for her medical record. Ms. Ma's brother called the attending doctor after 11:00 a.m. and asked for the medical record. The doctor said, “You have to get the permission from the police department or the detention center.” Her brother called Zhang Chengliang, head of Jiyuan Police Department. Zhang said, “Come at 3:00 p.m.”
When Ms. Ma's brother went to see Zhang at 3:00 p.m. Zhang told him, “She died at 10:00 a.m despite efforts to save her. She has been sent to the crematorium.” The family went to the crematorium to see the body. The person on duty said, “To see her body, you need approval from the police department because they sent her here.” Ms. Ma's sudden death, and the authorities' refusal to allow the family to view the body, have raised concerns as to the real cause of her death.
We are asking for help from the international society and human rights groups to conduct an investigation into Ms. Ma's death and find out who should be held responsible. We ask for support to help end the brutal persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.
Ms. Ma Previously Arrested and Tortured
On April 7, 2004, when Ms. Ma was working in the Xinghua Machinery Factory of Jiyuan City, the authorities ransacked her home and arrested her. On April 8, 2004, she was sent to the local detention center. She went on a protest hunger strike for eight days and was tortured beyond imagination. She was force-fed brutally almost every day. The guard beat her so barbarically that she had bruises up and down her legs and could not walk. She developed severe headaches, blood in her urine, and gynecological problems. She was not released until she was near death.
Torture re-enactment: force-feeding
On September 11, 2010, Ma Zhichai was once again arrested and sent to the Jiyuan City Detention Center, this time for four months. She refused to be “transformed”, refused to wear the prison uniform, and protested the persecution by going on a long hunger strike. She was put in handcuffs and shackles. The guard called on the head of prisoners, Liu Hongjin, and two female and four male inmates to assist them in brutal forced-feeding sessions. Three times a day, they brutally fed Ms. Ma by forcing her mouth open with a steel spoon. Her cheeks and tongue were injured as a result. Several days later, the guard called Liu Hongjin again to force Ms. Ma to consume a full bowl of porridge. They deliberately let it cool down and solidify, then added some water. Every time they came into the room to force-fed Ms. Ma, the more sensitive prisoners cried. As time went on, they used more and more brutal means to force-feed Ms. Ma. In the freezing winter with the temperature at zero, the guard fed Ms. Ma cold water. They were intentionally as brutal as possible. Because her stomach had been damaged and no longer functioned, Ms. Ma threw up everything immediately. Eventually, she started to vomit blood. She could no longer take in any food or water and her system began to shut down.
During those three months in the detention center, Ms. Ma lost more than 44 pounds. Jiyuan PLAC secretary Zhao Nianbo and Jiyuan Police Department deputy director Wang Lixin would not agree to release her, even though she had suffered so horribly that she was no longer recognizable. She was so thin and weak that she could not stand upright. Afraid that she might die, they eventually let her family sign the “release on bail” document and take her home.