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Yueyang Municipal Detention Center Responsible for the Death of Hu Heping

August 20, 2010 |   By a Minghui Correspondent in Hunan Province

(Clearwisdom.net) August 7, 2010 was the second anniversary of the death of Falun Gong practitioner Hu Heping. He died at age 54 from lesions in his internal organs after three months of detention at the Yueyang Municipal Detention Center in Hunan Province. The Detention Center did not want to take responsibility for his death, and asked his family to take him home just before he passed away.

After the Chinese Communist Party began persecuting Falun Gong in 1999, Mr. Hu was arrested and detained six times. From 2003 to 2004, he was sent to the Kaipu Labor Camp in Hunan Province, where he was injected with unknown drugs three times by the guards. The injections caused him to cough all night long; sometimes he even coughed blood. This was one of the things that led to his death. However, the most direct cause of his death was the torture he received while detained at the Yueyang Municipal Detention Center in 2008.

Mr. Hu was sent to the detention center on March 19, 2008. While there, his health deteriorated greatly. He had internal pains, blood in his urine, and an incessant cough. Swelling that began in his feet expanded all the way to his hips. His weight dropped from about 127 pounds to 88 pounds. Despite his terrible health, he was forced to do physical labor for 12 to 16 hours a day. On June 16, he was sent to the First Municipal Hospital for an exam. The doctor said his internal organs had developed lesions, and he suffered from liver ascites. As his condition deteriorated further, the detention center sent him home on June 18, saying he was on parole awaiting trial. Actually they were trying to avoid bearing the responsibility for his impending death. When he arrived at home, he could hardly walk, and could not eat anything. His whole body was swollen. He had difficulty breathing. After much suffering, he passed away early on the morning of August 7, 2008.

Although we have no way of knowing what forms of torture Mr. Hu went through, we could venture to guess, based on what other practitioners experienced while detained there.

Brutality at Yueyang Detention Center

Detainees at the Yueyang Detention Center in 2008 were forced to do manual labor such as making lanterns for businesses located on the eastern seaboard. The detainees got up at 6 a.m. and worked until at least 10 p.m. Sometimes they were forced to work until after midnight. Everyone was assigned a quota. If one could not meet the quota, one could only sleep three or four hours a night. Every cell of the detention center competed for higher ranking based on productivity, and the detainees who worked more slowly were verbally and physically abused. The detention center officials got a cut of the proceeds.

Besides slave-like labor, the detainees were also subjected to direct extortion by staff. Every cell had a "lead inmate." Their positions were bought according to unwritten rules. One guard would be in charge of several cells, and the lead inmates' role was to make the guard comfortable. Of course this took money. There were 10 to 20-plus detainees per cell. Those who could pay the most became lead inmates, and were spared from manual labor. They also could go to sleep a little earlier and were given better food. They assisted the guards in the persecution and in maintaining an evil environment in the cell. Right before the Chinese New Year, when the inmates were finished with their "work," they were forced to solicit money from family members to offer to the guards. Every Chinese New Year, each cell typically collected tens of thousands of yuan, which turned into year-end bonuses for detention center officials and staff. The "going prices" for goods were also very high at the detention center, often five or more times higher than regular market prices. The prices were even higher around the holidays. No one monitored or controlled prices in the detention center.

The facilities at the detention center were overcrowded, aged and inadequate. Each cell was only a few hundred square feet, and all the inmates ate, worked, slept, and used the bathroom in the same space. Many raw plastic materials used in the manual labor were toxic. The cells were not well ventilated. The food at the detention center was limited to the same vegetable every meal: in the summer, it was winter melon, and in the winter, it was pickled cabbage. Most detainees were emaciated and infected with skin diseases. Some even intentionally injured themselves because they could not stand the torture.

The Falun Gong practitioners who did the exercises or refused to do manual labor were shackled at both the ankles and wrists and stretched, with an iron chain on their waist to torture them. Other times they were handcuffed with their hands behind their back to prevent them from doing the exercises.

In addition to being forced to do manual labor, the practitioners in labor camps, detention centers, or prisons had to pay the facility when they were released. For every day of detention they were charged 10 yuan for "living expenses." When Mr. Hu was tortured nearly to death, his family was still forced to pay for the time he spent in the detention center.

Detention centers have played a major role in the persecution against Falun Gong. In the last 11 years, the Yueyang Municipal Detention Center has committed many crimes against Falun Gong practitioners. The rapid deterioration of Mr. Hu's health and the illnesses he suffered were indisputable evidence that the detention center is responsible for his death.