Account of the Persecution of Falun Gong Practitioner Tan Chengqiang
Name: Tan Chengqiang (谭成强)
Address: Hongcheng Village Handian Town, Shuangcheng City, Heilongjiang Province
Date of Death: July 19, 2003
Date of Most Recent Arrest: May 18, 2003
Most Recent Place of Detention: Shuangcheng Detention Center (双城看守所 )
Persecution Suffered: Detention, beatings, forced labor, force-feedings
Mr. Tan Chengqiang from Shuangcheng City, Heilongjiang Province, began practicing Falun Gong in 1995, and got rid of smoking, drinking, gambling, and other bad habits through the practice. He died as a result of the persecution on July 19, 2003. Below is a detailed account of the persecution he suffered that led to his death:
Subjected to Forced Labor and Tortured
After the Chinese communist regime led by Jiang Zemin began to persecute Falun Gong on July 20, 1999, Mr. Tan went to Beijing in August 1999 to appeal for justice for the practice. There, he was illegally arrested and sent to the Shuangcheng Detention Center for two weeks. On September 5, 1999, he went to Beijing again, but was arrested again and held for two months in the Shuangcheng Detention Center, where he was tortured and beaten by guards and inmates. He was then sentenced to two years of forced labor and transferred to the Yimianpo Labor Camp in Shangzhi City, Heilongjiang Province, where he was held in the intensive supervision section for one month. Subsequently, he was held in the second section of the labor camp, where he was subjected to further torture.
On May 13, 2000, Mr. Tan and several other practitioners went to a field at the detention center to do the Falun Gong exercises, but they were dragged back to their cells and savagely beaten by the guards. The next day, guards forced them to work in a quarry, collecting stones to fill up cargo trains. The labor was intense and dangerous, since there was a high risk of being injured by the stones rolling down the hill. The guards shouted: "As long as you are breathing, you have to work! Your family is responsible for your medical bills if you are injured!"
When there was not enough work for all of the inmates, criminal inmates were assigned to monitor practitioners, who were forced to do all the hard labor. The inmates filled baskets with stones weighing up to 100 kilograms, which practitioners were forced to carry. Each time they carried a stone, they were asked, "Will you still practice Falun Gong?" Then, they were also forced to repeatedly climb a steep hill without rest or water. When they reached the top, they were asked to quit practicing Falun Gong. If they refused, the inmates would kick them down the hill. Many practitioners had open wounds on their backs from the abuse. Upon returning to their cells, they were forced to sweep the floor and were not allowed to go to bed until after 11 p.m. This abuse continued on a daily basis, causing practitioners to become very weak. Many developed infections on their backs. Practitioner Yu Lianhe's back was so badly infected that the infection started to spread toward her chest, and she started to make rattling sounds with each breath. The guards also ordered other inmates to peel practitioners' skin and spread salt and pepper on the open wounds, causing some of practitioners to pass out due to the excruciating pain.
The labor camp also contracted with outside groups for jobs, such as tearing down the foundation of old buildings, dismantling sewer pipes, mixing concrete, laying drainage pipes, unloading coal, and harvesting rice paddies, jobs that practitioners were forced to do. In October 2000, they were forced to dig a cable trench for about one month in a field located in the middle of a mountain. They had to travel over 30 miles to reach the field, which was made up of stony, muddy ground. During October, the freezing cold made it unbearable to stand in the mud for any length of time.
Mr. Tan Chengqiang was transferred to the Suihua Labor Camp in December 2000. After he was released, officers from the Handian Police Station continued to harass, threaten and monitor him.
Died as a Result of Punitive Force-Feeding
On May 13, 2003, Mr. Tan was reported to the authorities while clarifying the truth about Falun Gong to the villagers. Village Party Secretary Wang Hongsheng and Village Director Liu Xiaoping reported him to the township government, and Political Legal Secretary Sun Jihua brought a group of officials to Mr. Tan's home. Since Mr. Tan was not home at the time, they threatened his children, causing one of his children to become very distressed due to fear. Several days later, Sun Jihua reported the case to the Shuangcheng City Public Security Bureau. At around 4 p.m. on May 18, 2003, officers in several police cars came and arrested Mr. Tan.
Mr. Tan began a hunger strike to protest the persecution while in the detention center, but was subjected to force-feedings. When a physician with surname Zhang from the No. 3 Clinic in Shuangcheng City conducted the force-feeding, the feeding tube was pushed into Mr. Tan's lung, causing him to vomit blood and pass out. The authorities refused to release him even when he was in critical condition, and they continued to force-feed him seven to eight times a month. When he was near death, they sent him to a hospital for emergency care and only then released him to his family.
Mr. Tan could not sleep or eat, had chest pain, and was coughing, wheezing, and short of breath even after a month of being back home. Village Director Liu Xiaoping threatened him, "When you get well, they will come to take you away again." Mr. Tan passed away on July 19, 2003 at around 10:30 p.m., leaving his grieving wife and three underage children. The staff from the Public Security Bureau continues to harass the family.