Preliminary Investigation into the Death of Falun Gong Practitioner Mr. He Zhi in Guangxi Province Due to “Falling Off the Bed”
Name: He Zhi (何智)
Address: Baise City, Guangxi Province
Occupation: Computer teacher at Baise No. 3 Middle School
Date of Death: April 8, 2009
Date of Most Recent Arrest: August 2, 2004
Most Recent Place of Detention: Litang Prison in Guangxi Province (广西黎塘监狱)
Persecution Suffered: Sleep deprivation, illegal sentencing, beatings, imprisonment, home ransacking, interrogation, detention.
(Minghui.org) Mr. He Zhi graduated with a major in physics from Guangxi Teacher's College in Guilin, Guangxi Province. He used to teach computer science at Baise No. 3 Middle School. He was kind, friendly, bright, and eager to learn new things. Mr. He started to practice Falun Gong in 1995. He firmly believed in Dafa and lived according to the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. He was a hard worker and earned the “National Science Achievement Award Bronze Medal.” His family lived in harmony, and he was very kind to his wife, child, and parents.
1. Mr. He's Sudden Death
On the evening of August 2, 2004, police officers Huang Zhifeng from Youjiang District Police Department in Baise (now deputy chief at Jiefang Police Station), Huang Yi (now an officer at the Jiefang Police Station), Huang Shaoqiang, Huang Hanquan, Yang Yi, Lu Minchi, and Tan Bin went to Mr. He Zhi's home. They made school principle Xie Jiaqing of Baise No. 3 Middle School trick Mr. He into opening his door. They broke into Mr. He's home and beat him in front of his ten-year-old daughter. They arrested him and took his two computers, CDs, and other personal belongings. He was detained in the Youjiang District Detention Center. He was insulted and threatened, denied food, and not permitted to sleep. Mr. He was interrogated by different individuals, who threatened and tortured him psychologically and pressured him to admit “guilt” and to write the three statements. Mr. He was near a mental breakdown. Under the direction of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee of Baise and the Youjiang District 610 Office, the Youjiang District Procuratorate issued an arrest warrant for Mr. He, who was sentenced to eight years in prison by Youjiang District Court early in 2005. He was sent to Litang Prison in Guangxi Province.
Using his technical knowledge, Mr. He did computer repair and software programming at the “Navigation Mark Newsletter” team while he was in Litang Prison. He even received an award for his work. He was under “strict management” afterwards because he insisted on his belief in Falun Gong and did not admit to being “guilty.” He spent time in wards No. 3, 5, and 8. Mr. He was sent to a forced "transformation" class designed to make Falun Gong practitioners give up their beliefs. Details of the persecution Mr. He suffered there are not clear.
At 8:00 p.m. on April 8, 2009, Mr. He Zhi's family received a telephone call from Litang Prison notifying them that Mr. He was in critical condition and that his family needed to come to see him right away. Mr. He's family arrived at Litang Prison at 8:00 a.m. on April 9. An official from the prison summarized the incident... Mr. He reportedly fell off the bed at around 4:00 p.m. on April 8. He came back from the bathroom and sat in the lotus position facing the edge of the bed. He fell off the bed about 15 minutes later, and was bleeding from his nose and mouth. His cellmates took him to the prison infirmary for first aid, and he was then taken to Litang No. 9 People's Hospital for emergency care after his condition worsened. He passed away at around 11:00 p.m. The incident was reported to Binyang County Procuratorate, and they started an investigation at the hospital the same night.
2. Prison Anxious to Cover Up the Incident
Mr. He Zhi's family wanted to see Mr. He's cell in No. 3 ward, but the prison refused to allow it. After Mr. He's family demanded multiple times, three days later, a prison official agreed to let only Mr. He's younger brother see the scene under the conditions that he not bring a cell phone inside and not talk to or exchange information with other cellmates. Mr. He's brother went into Mr. He's cell but could not find Mr. He's suitcase. A prison official brought out the suitcase after Mr. He's brother came out. Mr. He's brother looked through Mr. He's bag and noticed the contents had all been rummaged through and checked. Mr. He's brother was suspicious, “Since these cellmates were all witnesses, why can't I ask them a few things? Mr. He's identification card, address book, and phone numbers are all missing from his bag. Is the prison afraid his personal information would get passed on to other cellmates and the inmates might contact his family to tell them the truth about what actually happened?”
Mr. He's family asked to see the surveillance video from around the time Mr. He “fell off the bed.” Prison authorities claimed they did not have it. However, Langfang Fengwei Technology Development Co. Ltd had installed a video surveillance network system at Litang Prison before November 7, 2007.
On the afternoon of April 10, 2009, the prison authorities, the Binyang County Procuratorate section chief, the forensic examiner, and Mr. He's family went to see the body of Mr. He at the funeral home. The family members noticed wounds on the back of Mr. He's head and signs of hematoma on his right wrist. There was a piece of skull missing from his head, Mr. He's family asked where the missing piece of bone was. Authorities present had no answer and told them to ask the Litang People's No. 9 Hospital. Mr. He's family rushed to the hospital, where the physician pulled out a CT scan that showed a big gash on the skull. He said that the piece of skull was disposed of as medical waste.
The Binyang County Procuratorate did not produce any written report on the cause, nor details about Mr. He's death, so Mr. He's family wanted to have a third party to do an autopsy on Mr. He's remains. Binyang County Procuratorate said that they would only recognize the results from one appointed private sector in Nanning. In addition, the family would have to pay charges of over ten thousand yuan. The authorities pressured the family to have the body cremated immediately, otherwise the family would be responsible for all the fees. Mr. He's family is not wealthy. Under the circumstances, Mr. He's family agreed to have his remains cremated. After the family returned home, they did not talk about Mr. He's death to others.
3. Many Questions Unanswered
There are many indications that Mr. He's death is not consistent with “falling off the bed.” After the “accident” on April 8, 2009, a witness said Mr. He's mouth and nose did not bleed, and he was unconscious. This description is different from the prison's. Some suspect that Mr. He was injected with drugs that made him unconscious, and sending him to the infirmary was just a diversion. Mr. He's family raised the following questions with the prison:
1) If, as the prison official claimed, Mr. He was sitting in the lotus position facing the edge of the bed, how did he injure the back of his head and not his forehead? When Mr. He's family saw the remains, he had already been dead for three days, and his body had been cleaned up and prepared for the funeral. His family, however, saw clear bruising on his right wrist, suggesting that Mr. He was tied up prior to his death.
2) Why wouldn't the prison let Mr. He's family watch the surveillance video, even though the prison had surveillance systems installed?
3) According to what the prison officials and the Procuratorate told the family, no one saw exactly how Mr. He fell off the bed, but when the incident was reported to the Naning Procuratorate, why were there seven witnesses to testify that Mr. He fell off the bed? The prison official refused to provide basic information such as names and contact information for the cellmate witnesses.
4) Should the Binyang County Procuratorate have reported the incident to its superior, the Nanning Procuratorate, right away? Was it proper procedure that the upper level Procuratorate did not oversee the case? Which Procuratorate was not performing its duty?
5) Only autopsy results from one appointed private sector in Nanning are recognized—results from other institutions are not recognized. Is that legal?
6) Prison authorities did not fulfill their duties, which resulted in the unnatural death of Mr. He. They then withheld information to avoid being held responsible. After the incident, prison authorities took care of matters without any supervision from upper levels. Should the prison therefore be held responsible for mismanagement?
8) According to the Forensic Ordinance, a forensic report needs to be verified by two or more forensic experts. In this case there was only one. The expert from Binyang County Procuratorate rushed to the conclusion of “death from falling off the bed.” Wasn't that too hasty? Why didn't he consult with other experts or his superior? Instead, he made the conclusion by himself in half an hour.
Litang Prison ignored the appeal at first; then the warden and the secretary changed job posts and left the area.
To seek justice, Mr. He's family sent letters of appeal to the Chinese Supreme Procuratorate, the Supreme Court, the Justice Department, the Guangxi Provincial Court, the Guangxi Procuratorate, and the Public Security Bureau on January 2, 2010, and asked them to investigate. The family received a reply from Nanning Procuratorate on March 18, 2010, which claimed that seven inmates had testified. On April 25, 2010, Mr. He's family sent the second letter to the Chinese Supreme Procuratorate, the Guangxi Procuratorate, and Nanning Procuratorate, but received no reply. Mr. He's family asked the Nanning Procuratorate for the autopsy report and answers to their questions in the letter, but the agency would not reply. In addition, the agencies told the family not to skip levels when sending the petition letter. Nanning Procuratorate asked the family, “What evidence do you have?” They then read the “Maintenance of Stability” propaganda to the family.
Desperate, Mr. He's family wrote “'Death from Falling Off the Bed' in Litang Prison in Guangxi” and published it on a website on June 16, 2010, to ask help from the public and those who might know the truth of Mr. He's death. The letter caught the attention of national and international human rights organizations. Fearing public opinion, Nanning Supreme Procuratorate established a team to investigate Mr. He's case. The team was led by the appeals section chief and regulatory section chief. They went to Baise City and started the investigation. The case is still not yet settled and they have stopped working on it. Someone revealed that this incident cannot be checked, that no one dares to check it, or else they would face big problems.
4. A Shattered Family Threatened
Mr. He's wife was a laid off factory worker. Under the tremendous pain of losing her spouse, she not only had to do odd jobs to buy food but also had to take care of her elderly in-laws and a young child. Mr. He's father is 80 years old and now bedridden from the overwhelming grief of losing a son.
After Mr. He's brother published “'Death from Falling Off the Bed' in Litang Prison in Guangxi” on the website, he received many threatening phone calls. To avoid those calls, he constantly changes his cell phone number. One time he told a friend that someone threatened to kidnap him if he didn't withdraw the suit.
Mr. He's 80-year-old mother even received a phone call, asking her, “How many sons do you have?” The elderly woman said she had two sons. The caller then said that the CCP had killed Mr. He Zhi and that they could kill her other son, too. She was frightened and started to cry, begging her living son not to sue again.
5. Two Theories On How Mr. He Died
The death of Mr. He is still a mystery, but there are two theories:
The first comes from someone from Litang Prison, “He Zhi was killed to silence him.” From 2005-2006, computer systems in Litang Prison went through a complete maintenance and upgrade. Mr. He was very knowledgeable about computers, so the prison asked him to help out with this project. They promised to shorten Mr. He's term by two years as a reward. It was said that as Mr. He worked on the prison's computer systems, he saw the CCP's internal confidential documents and information about the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners. Afterwards, Mr. He refused to participate in the project any longer, and declared that if the prison forced him to “transform,” he would publicize everything he knew to the outside. This frightened everyone involved in persecuting Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners in Litang Prison. Eventually, the prison killed him in a conspiracy.
The second theory is that Mr. He died from from having his brain harvested. A chilling rumor circulating in the Guangxi countryside is that former CCP leader Jiang Zemin consumes human brain tonic. If the rumor is true, then Mr. He would have been an excellent candidate since he was very healthy and intelligent. It is said that at around 1:00 p.m. on April 8, 2009, three strangers were brought into Mr. He's cell in the No. 3 Ward. Guards told Mr. He's cellmates to go to the field and not to come back unless they are told to. Mr. He was left alone. The hospital Mr. He was sent to for emergency care was Litang No. 9 People's Hospital, which is only a small, town hospital (it used to be called Litang Township Hospital). Would they have had the facilities and expertise to do a craniotomy? Furthermore, no family member was present to sign for the surgery, and what kind of doctor would dare to operate without a signature?
Please help to resolve this case, and pay attention to the tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners who are still in prisons, labor camps, detention centers, and brainwashing centers. Their lives are in constant danger!
We are asking people who are able to help inside and outside of China to continue to investigate this case, to uncover the true cause of Mr. He's death, and bring the guilty individuals to justice.
Mr. He Zhi Dies in Custody in Guangxi Region Prison, and His Wife Is Threatened