Dafa disciple Mr. Zhang Tao, 53, was a resident of Chezhan Street, Shuangcheng City, Heilongjiang Province. Here are some facts regarding the persecution that Zhang Tao suffered and the circumstances around his death.
On July 22, 1999, Zhang Tao went to the Heilongjiang Provincial Government in Harbin City to peacefully petition and request the unconditional release of Dafa disciples from Harbin who had been wrongfully arrested. The large number of practitioners who were there to appeal were surrounded by the military and police, and then taken to an outdoor stadium, where they spent an entire day under the baking sun. In the evening, after their names and addresses were registered and put on a list, they were picked up by the Shuangcheng Police Station and allowed to go home.
At the end of July 1999, Zhang Tao went to Beijing to appeal for Dafa and was arrested. Later, he was picked up by the Shuangcheng Liaison Office in Beijing, and then escorted back to Shuangcheng City two days later. Because Zhang Tao refused to give up his belief in "Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance" he was sent to the No.2 Detention Center. In order to force Zhang Tao to give up his belief, the guards there instigated criminal inmates to beat Zhang Tao viciously. He was forced to sit on a wooden board from morning to evening while maintaining an upright posture. In this way, he was abused for 19 days and then released on August 24. After Zhang Tao returned home, his face was very pale and his body was extremely weak. Local police and residential cadres still continuously monitored and harassed his family.
In November 1999, two district policemen, (one named Mao Youliang) broke into Zhuang Tao's home, and stole his Dafa books and a cassette recorder. They detained Zhang Tao, his wife and his daughter (both Dafa practitioners), took them into the local police station, and tried to force them to give up cultivation. They locked Zhang Tao onto a hot heating pipe, verbally abusing and beating him for 54 hours. Later, they sent him to the Shuangcheng No.2 Detention Center and illegally imprisoned him for 15 days.
On February 4, 2000, Zhang Tao once again went to Beijing to appeal for Dafa and was arrested. On the 5th, he was escorted back to Shuangcheng and locked into the No.2 Detention Center. In the end of May 2000, the Shuangcheng "610 Office"* sent him to Yimianpo Labor Camp in Heilongjiang Province and sentenced him to one year's "Reeducation Through Labor." In the labor camp, guards forced Zhang Tao to work in the quarry for over 10 hours each day. While criminal inmates carried heavy baskets of rocks in pairs, guards instigated the criminals to throw the baskets onto Zhang Tao's back. If he could not bear the load, they would beat and kick him repeatedly. Twice, Zhang Tao was beaten to the ground and could not get up. Moreover, the guards subjected Zhang Tao to forceful brainwashing in the evenings and did not allow him to rest. Between September and October 2000, Zhang Tao was tortured to such a degree that he could not maintain a clear consciousness. Under this circumstance he wrote the "Three Letters" (statements promising to give up Dafa practice and to denounce Dafa) against his conscience and was released from the labor camp on November 10, 2000. After Zhang Tao went home, through studying the Fa, his mind became clear and he realized that his actions did not conform to Dafa's principle of "Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance." He immediately wrote a solemn statement declaring that the things he wrote in the labor camp were null and void. The local police station then placed him under surveillance and harassed him continuously.
On February 23, 2001 at 9 pm, as soon as Zhang Tao arrived home from a business trip, four police officers broke into his home and forcibly took him, along with his wife and daughter, to the municipal police station. The police beat and kicked Zhang Tao for over one hour and interrogated him, trying to find out the sources of Dafa materials in Shuangcheng City. He said he just returned home and had no idea. Early the next morning, they reluctantly released him. From then on, Zhang Tao was forced to stay away from his home to avoid further persecution. The local police attempted to catch him at his home many times but did not succeed.
In May 2001, Zhang Tao was arrested when he was sharing experiences with other Dafa disciples in Shuangcheng City. The police tied up his hands and escorted him onto a bus. With righteous thoughts, Zhang Tao was able to escape.
In October 2001, Zhang Tao's family of four (he also has a son) could no long afford to live in Shuangcheng. They were forced to sell their home and live on the streets.
On November 10, 2001, immediately after Zhang Tao stepped off a bus in Harbin, several plain-clothes agents kidnapped him and took him to Harbin Police Station, where he was tortured, interrogated, and robbed of 3400 Yuan. Zhang Tao was tortured on a metal chair for 12 continuous days and nights, so that his bottom became very raw, and his legs and feet badly swollen. When he was finally allowed to move, he could not even stand up. Since the police did not learn anything from interrogating Zhang Tao, they transferred him to Yaziquan Jail in Harbin, where he was detained for more than four months before being sentenced to three years of hard labor.
In March 2002, Zhang Tao was transferred to the Changlinzi Labor Camp in Harbin. Due to the prolonged persecution, Zhang Tao displayed abnormal physical symptoms-he was unable to walk and sleep, and suffered unbearable pain in his internal organs. To shirk the responsibility for his condition, the labor camp sent Zhang Tao to his brother's home in Shuangcheng City on April 10th for 15 days of medical treatment on bail. However, only 9 days after his release on bail, on the afternoon of April 19th, 2002, 7 to 8 people from the Shuangcheng "610 Office" and Harbin "Anti-Riot Squadron" arrived in two vehicles at Zhang Tao and his wife's newly rented residence. They ransacked his home, and stole their Dafa books and a cassette recorder. Two people forcefully kidnapped Zhang Tao and his wife into the vehicle and did not allow them to bring any clothing, and cursing at them loudly all the way. They carried Zhang Tao and his wife to the Shuangcheng Municipal Police Station and interrogated them about sources of Dafa truth-clarifying material. Zhang Tao was tortured while tied to a chair for the whole night. The next day, he was sent to Shuangcheng Detention Center and imprisoned for 24 days. On May 13th, he received brutal beatings from the police. On the afternoon of the same day, he was escorted back to the Changlinzi Labor Camp.
In late July, Zhang Tao went on a hunger strike to protest. Prison guards locked him into a small confinement cell, hung him by the handcuffs, and administered force-feeding. On July 31, Changlinzi Labor Camp notified Zhang Tao's brother that Zhang Tao had died of a "heart attack" (at that time, Zhang Tao's wife and daughter were in the jail and his son was missing). On August 2nd, when Zhang Tao's family members and relatives went to the Harbin No.2 Hospital to dress Zhang Tao's body, they discovered that Zhang Tao's neck was heavily bruised and badly swollen, and one of his shoulders was obviously fractured and disfigured.
* The 610 Office is an agency specifically created to persecute Falun Gong, with absolute power over each level of administration in the Party and all other political and judiciary systems