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Zhang Zhagen's Wife Describes the Process of her Husband Being Persecuted and Tortured to Death and How the Chinese Authorities Shirked the Responsibility

September 10, 2005 |  


My husband Zhang Zhagen was a 52-year-old veteran. Before his death, he was an employee of the Kaifeng City Bus Team for Foreign Tourists. After he started to practice Falun Gong, he was recognized many times as an outstanding employee and model worker. From his actions, it was obvious that he cared a great deal for others. He loved his children and was respectful toward his parents. However, such a good person believing in "Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance" was illegally detained and tortured to death by the Kaifeng City Forced Labor Camp, for clarifying the facts about Falun Gong to people and speaking out for justice.

Zhang Zhagen was a bus driver. He suffered from multiple illnesses before 1997, when he luckily started to practice Falun Gong. In a very short period of time after learning Falun Gong, his multiple illnesses were gone, which further strengthened his belief in Falun Dafa. After Jiang's gang started persecuting Falun Gong on July 20, 1999, he went to Beijing to appeal for justice for Falun Gong. He was illegally sent to detention centers three times, brainwashing centers twice, and forced labor camps twice.

The first time that Zhang Zhagen was sentenced to forced labor happened on February 5, 2001. He was sent to the labor camp right after he was released from a detention center. In the labor camp, he suffered from all kinds of inhumane treatments. In March, with the intention to force him to accept brainwashing as soon as possible, the labor camp sent him to the Kaifeng City Phosphate Fertilizer Factory, a brainwashing base well known for establishing the No. 4 Division with the sole purpose of persecuting Falun Gong practitioners. While there he was forced to work more for than ten hours every day. Each day he was required to bag 45 to 60 tons of phosphate fertilizer with a shovel. That is about 200 to 300 bags of fertilizer. If he failed to finish his work, he would be punished with various means, such as deprivation of food and sleep. The extremely heavy labor led to his hands getting covered with blood blisters. His hands were so swollen that his fingers could not bend to form fists. The pain was hard for him to bear. Because phosphate fertilizer is toxic, the blood blisters on his hands never showed any signs of getting better. The fertilizer also burned both his feet and legs, leaving many red and injured spots. If the skin around or on the sores were scratched, the wound would take a very long time to heal. Each day my husband suffered from this kind of physical torment, while at night he endured mental torture. The factory was near a railroad, and during the night, the rumbling caused by the moving trains made it impossible for him to fall asleep. The labor camp division Chief Liang Hongtao instructed the inmates to rotate every hour to sleep with Zhang in the same bed. These, together with insect and mosquito bites, made him unable to fall asleep at all.

In May 2001 the labor camp finally allowed us to see him. When I saw him, he was pale, and his eyeballs were sunken deeply into his eye sockets. His beard was half an inch long. He was so skinny that his appearance was disfigured. Even under these conditions, he survived through a cultivator's extraordinary forbearance and strong belief in Dafa. He came out of the labor camp in November 2002.

On March 6, 2005, several policemen from Daxing Police Station in Kaifeng City arrested him at home and sent him to a detention center. At that time, the police lied to me, saying that he would be sent to a brainwashing class that was being held in a hotel. That evening, my son and I went to Daxing Police Station, only to learn that the perpetrators had already sent him to the detention center. On March 10, when my family members and I went to the detention center to bring Zhagen some clean clothes, we learned that he was on a hunger strike. We firmly insisted on seeing him. In attempts to shirk their responsibility, the guards called in the detention center director. The director accepted our request only because he wanted to use us to persuade Zhagen to give up his hunger strike. After a while, two inmates carried him into the room. The tube for force-feeding was still sticking out of his body. He could only sit crumpled up on the chair. His clothes were messy. Seeing his condition, I felt as if my heart was being pierced by a knife. He staged the hunger strike in order to protest the illegal detention, and he had not done anything wrong, so I did not try to persuade him to give up the hunger strike. But my other family members (who are non-practitioners), tried very hard to persuade him to eat, asking him to care for his own health. As a result, he started eating the next day. After he was detained in the detention center for one month, he was sentenced to two years of forced labor, and the officials did not follow any legal procedures or send a notice to my family. On April 7, he was transferred to the labor camp. From then on, the labor camp refused to allow him to see any visiting family members.

At around noon on June 24, 2005, the Kaifeng City Labor Camp called me to go to the Henan University Hospital to see him. When I got there, I saw him lying in the emergency room. He appeared to be angry, with his eyes bloodshot red and opened widely, but his face was swollen and showed no signs of consciousness. There was a black and purple wound on his arm. The doctor could not detect his pulse. The doctor said that when he was initially sent there, he already had no heartbeat, pulse, or breath. His pupils were already dilated and he showed no signs of consciousness. The doctor said that even though a patient in such a condition had a possibility of surviving, he could only live in a comatose state. Through the hospital's rescue effort, during which a breathing machine and a defibrillator were used, his heart started to beat very weakly, but it still could not continue without the support of the machine. The next day, he could no longer discharge his urine and he also showed symptoms of internal organ failure. He had a very high fever. When I went into the room to see him, he was wearing an ice pack on his head. There were also ice bags under his armpits. His face was yellow and dark. His hands and feet were cold, swollen and bruised.

In the subsequent two days, besides the symptoms mentioned above, the electroencephalogram also showed a straight line, his whole body was swollen, his legs and feet were swollen and became very thick, and the skin on his body became so swollen it looked like he could burst open. It was a scary sight. The doctor covered his eyes with a piece of paper, saying that his eyes were so swollen that he could not close them. His eyes never closed. At 7:00 a.m. on the morning of June 28, the doctor declared him dead.

During the several days when Zhang Zhagen was in the hospital, the labor camp sent policemen to guard the patient's room every day. They did not allow family members or friends to visit. After the hospital declared his death on June 28, the policemen took turns guarding his remains; even his family members were kept away. A very large wound was found in his coccyx area during the process of changing his clothes for viewing the body. When he was transported to the crematory, a large group of police and police vehicles escorted his body.

The life of a good person was taken away just because he had persevered in following "Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance." Dafa practitioner Zhang Zhagen used to have a strong and healthy body. But in just two months after April 7, 2005, when he was illegally sent to the labor camp, he was tortured to death. After he was sent to the labor camp, we could not get any information about him. When we learned of his death, the whole family cried miserably.

My family members talked me into agreeing with the labor camp's suggestion of solving the issue through "mediation." The only conditions that my family members asked for was that the labor camp officials agree to compensate them monetarily for the loss, take care of his memorial services, and provide some mental comfort to the family. However, the labor camp did not show any sincerity, continuously stalling in fulfilling its promises. The labor camp also spread fabricated lies everywhere, saying, "Zhang Zhagen died of an acute illness," as well as "We wanted to send him to the hospital to save his life, but he did not want us to do so. Several people couldn't hold him, and he even fought us." Try to think about it, would a person who had gone on a hunger strike for nine days still have the strength to fight them? Was it possible that several people could not hold him down? The perpetrators spread lies to cover up the truth. Their purpose was to shirk their responsibilities, not to mention paying indemnity for the loss. After hearing them, I was even more convinced that Zhang Zhagen was murdered! My family members and I strongly demanded the related government branches and officials to get to the bottom of his death, uphold justice, and quickly give my family a reasonable answer. However, what the government actually did made us even more disappointed. As the days went on, they constantly covered up for each other and gave my family increasingly unreasonable explanations.

On July 12, after half a month of "mediation," the Kaifeng City Gongye Police Station held a meeting under the direction of the Kaifeng City Political and Judicial Committee Secretary Wen Songshan. This was also the last meeting to handle the matter of Zhang Zhagen's death. The participating officials included those from Kaifeng City Political and Judicial Committee, Shunhe District Political and Judicial Committee, Gongye Police Station, the Neighborhood Committee, Kaifeng City Labor Camp, and Henan University Hospital, as well as officials from my working unit and my two sons' working units. The meeting room was packed with people, while the yard was packed with policemen numbering even higher than those in the room. Wen Songshan asked the five members of the family that were present to speak first. Then they disregarded the doubts and demands we raised and offered up their pre-determined settlement offer, and tried to force us to accept the plan. They quoted the law out of context and claimed that Zhang Zhagen's death resulted from his resisting the brainwashing through committing suicide. They insisted on their story and refused to give us any compensation or allow the family to hold a mourning event. They said that the body had to be cremated before July 15, and if the family had any disagreements about the decision, the family could request an autopsy before that date. If the family did not agree to this, the body would be cremated on July 15 and all the rights and benefits of a person who died of natural causes would be taken away.

We have nowhere to appeal to correct the injustice. So on July 14, we had no choice but to agree to the unfair terms, except that the cremation date was changed to July 16 and a mourning room was set up in our home. Persons from the neighborhood committee guarded the door, and both uniformed and plainclothes policemen were everywhere inside and outside the yard. Everybody who came to mourn was questioned, as the lawless persons were afraid of their crimes being exposed to the public.

On July 16, the Kaifeng City Political and Judicial Committee arranged to have Zhang Zhagen's remains be the first ones to be cremated at the crematory. That morning, policemen and personnel from the neighborhood committee were everywhere in my home, monitoring everyone who went there to mourn. At 8 a.m., Zhang Zhagen's remains, while surrounded by police vehicles, were carried to the strictly guarded crematory. Several dozen police vehicles were parked in the crematory's parking lot. When we arrived at the mourning hall, we noted that many fully armed police stood in the back of the hall. When we came to the room to see Zhang's remains, we noticed that his head looked abnormally large, his lips were dry and cracked, there were two dark black and purple wounds behind his ear and on his cheek. The family members were not allowed to stop in front of his remains and had to pass through quickly. The whole process was under strict surveillance. The perpetrators' fear was so clearly exhibited. However, it is a heavenly principle that good is rewarded with good and evil is met with evil. It is for sure that the truth of Zhang Zhagen's death will be made clear to the world one day.

According to Chinese law, individuals at Kaifeng City Labor Camp and the other government branches involved have committed the following crimes according to the Chinese Criminal Law:

The crime of physically abusing the detainee (Article 248);
The crime of intentionally killing others (Article 232);
The crime of negligently causing the death of another (Article 233);
The crime of intentionally going against the law for the benefit of the relatives or friends (Article 399);
The crime of intentionally injuring others (Article 234);
The crime of openly insulting others and slandering others (Article 246);
The crime of abusing power or neglecting duties (Article 246);
The crime of abusing authority by retaliating against or framing others (Article 254);
The crime of fabricating stories to frame others or in an attempt to subject others to criminal investigation (Article 243);
The crime of purposely giving false testimony (Article 305);
The crime of extorting a confession from criminal suspects or defendants by torture, or using force to extract testimony from witnesses, or neglecting their duties, etc. (Article 247).