Name: Zhao Yanxia (赵艳霞)
Gender: Female
Age: 55
Address: Residential Area of Lishu Town Normal School, Lishu County, Siping City
Occupation: Retired worker of Lishu County Environmental Protection Agency
Date of Death: October 7, 2011
Date of Most Recent Arrest: May 31, 2011
Most Recent Place of Detention: Jilin Province Women's Prison (吉林省女子监狱)
City: Siping
Province: Jilin
Persecution Suffered: Forced labor, brainwashing, illegal sentencing, imprisonment, home ransacked, detention

( At 7:00 p.m. on October 7, 2011, Ms. Zhao Yanxia was tortured to death in the Jilin Province Women's Prison (also called Heizuizi Prison). The area around her eyes was black and blue and she had bruises that clearly resulted from beatings. Ms. Zhao had only been transferred to this prison 23 days before.

In order to cover up the true cause of death, the prison authorities told several lies. Initially, they said that a physical exam found that Ms. Zhao had high blood pressure and heart problems when being admitted to the prison. If true, why had they admitted her? Later, they said that Ms. Zhao wanted to commit suicide. And again later, they said that one can pass away while sleeping. Finally, they said that Ms. Zhao lay down at 7:00 p.m. and didn't pull through afterwards.

Because Ms. Zhao practiced Falun Gong, she was incarcerated in forced labor camps twice, once for one year and again for three years. On May 31, 2011, Ms. Zhao and Ms. Feng Na were arrested by officers from the Lishu County Domestic Security Division while they were distributing Falun Gong informational materials. The police seized Ms. Zhao's keys and ransacked her home. Ms. Zhao and Ms. Feng were taken to the Siping Detention Center that evening.

Several days later, officer Wang Dejun returned the keys to Ms. Zhao's brother and said, “No one can't be 'transformed' in the Heizuizi Prison.” Ms. Zhao's brother found out that her home was in a mess, and her son's computer and cellphone had disappeared. He had no idea what else was missing.

On September 10, 2011, Ms. Zhao's family went to the Siping Detention Center to visit her. She was physically well. She refused to renounce Falun Gong despite the threats and brainwashing.

Ms. Zhao was later sentenced to three and a half years in prison. On September 14, 2011, she was secretly taken to the Jilin Province Women's Prison without her family being notified.

At 11:58 p.m. on October 7, 2011, Ms. Zhao's parents received a phone call from the prison, saying, “Zhao Yanxia died suddenly.” Ms. Zhao's family went to the prison the next day. Ms. Zhao had died at 7:30 p.m. on October 7, but her family was notified at 11:58 p.m. What were the authorities doing during those four hours? Ms. Zhao's family was only allowed to see her body at the funeral parlor after firmly requesting for it. Ms. Zhao's eyes were black and blue and she had many bruises.

Ms. Zhao's family requested an autopsy to find the cause of the death. The prison authorities tried to stall for time using various tactics. They also tried to stop the medical examiner, who is from out of town, from doing the autopsy. At the insistence of the attorney and Ms. Zhao's family, they had to approve the medical examiner to do the autopsy.