(Clearwisdom.net) In March 2010, 376 villagers from five villages of Yingemen Town, Qingyuan County, Liaoning Province jointly filed an appeal to the government on behalf of practitioner Xu Dawei, who died after being persecuted by the authorities. A few months later, the appeal case has become widely known as the "Incident of joint signature appeal." Mr. Xu Dawei's family hired attorney Wang Jinglong to represent them in court. However, the attorney was pressured by the Law Enforcement Bureau of Liaoning Province.

Appeal letter signed by 376 villagers

Mr. Xu Dawei was well-known as a good young man by fellow villagers. He was sentenced to eight years in prison for refusing to give up his practice of Falun Gong. In prison, he was subjected to several methods of torture, including extended periods of handcuffing and shackling, savage beatings, hanging by the arms, force-feeding, being whipped with rubber tubes, being punctured with needles, and electric shock treatment. When he was released on February 3, 2009, his hair had turned completely white; his body was emaciated, his eyes were dull, and he could not recognize his family members. There were multiple marks on his skin from the electric shock treatment and his limbs were swollen. His right knee and right ankle were scarred and his buttock skin was in necrosis.

After he returned home, he kept squatting in a corner and dared not move. His family told him, "You are at home. Don't be afraid any more." However, he was clear-minded one moment, then confused the next. While he was clear-minded, he told them, "The prison authorities gave me nerve-damaging drug injections, locked me in solitary confinement, and kicked and punched me." His family sent him to the hospital. The doctor said, "He is on the verge of death. His heart is weak and failing. When we tried to draw blood for testing, we could not draw any out. His skin is hard and has lost elasticity. This situation was not caused in a day or two. It's been like this for a long time and the time for medical intervention has long passed." Mr. Xu died at the age of 36 on February 16, 2009, merely 13 days after his release.

A few months prior to his arrest

Mr. Xu was tortured by officials from Dongling Prison of Shenyang City. His body was emaciated and showed multiple wounds from electric shock treatment. His buttock skin was in necrosis.

Mr. Xu was a kind, honest and upright person. He was a chef at a restaurant in Shenyang City.

Mr. Xu's family hired attorney Mr. Wang Jinglong from the Fayuan Law Firm in Shenyang City. On January 22, 2010, Attorney Wang mailed an express postal service package to Li Zhong, warden of Dongling Prison. The package included the appeal letter signed by the villagers, six comparison photos of Mr. Xu Dawei before and after the prison term, the death certificate, the hospital record summary, lawsuit documents and a compensation request, a photocopy of Mr. Xu's citizen ID card, and a photocopy of his attorney certificate.

Two months passed without a response. On March 26, the attorney went to Dongling Prison and was received by a prison office director, who told him that the warden was on a business trip and would be back in a few days. The director also told the attorney, "It is commonplace for inmates to die in prison. It is impossible for the prison to willingly pay the compensation. You will have to bring it to the court."

During the two months, Mr. Xu's family mailed the appeal letter with all the signatures to various authorities. When they went to the government office requesting a response to the appeal letter, the officials tried to pressure them to not post any information on the internet, and to not bring the case to court. The officials threatened, "Otherwise, you will bear all the consequences yourselves."

On the evening of April 7, 2010, the director of the Law Enforcement Bureau and the police chief of Qingyuan County went to the villages to investigate the case. However, they were not there to study the villagers' appeal. Instead, they went to each household, inquiring, "Who asked you to sign the appeal letter? What was your purpose in doing so?" In the end, they told every villager, "Don't you dare to get involved any more."

Recently, information surfaced that the attorney was summoned by the Liaoning Province Law Enforcement Bureau, and was interrogated for taking the case of Mr. Xu Dawei's death. Afterward, the attorney was reprimanded at a law firm meeting and was facing potential revocation of his attorney license. Mr. Wang Jinglong never imagined receiving this kind of tremendous pressure.

May 8, 2010