An Outstanding Engineer's Sudden, Suspicious Death
(Minghui.org) Mr. Li Hongkui was a mechanical engineer employed at the Harbin Post Bureau in Heilongjiang Province. He was named “Employee of the Year” over ten years in a row by the municipal and provincial government, and by the Post Bureau. He was named a “Model Employee” of the province in the Post and Telecommunication system, and also well known as a good samaritan. He was cheerful and in excellent health due to practicing Falun Gong.
Mr. Li was illegally arrested on numerous occasions after the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched its persecution of Falun Gong in 1999. He was arrested once again on September 22, 2005, and then sentenced to seven years of imprisonment in Daqing Prison. In August 2012, Mr. Li's wife was informed that her husband was in Daqing No. 4 Hospital to undergo surgery for a cerebral hemorrhage. On August 28, Mr. Li was recovering quickly from the operation, so his attending physician approved his release from the intensive care unit, yet he died suddenly. His death occurred only 23 days before the end of his prison term. His attending physician exclaimed, “It's strange. I've never seen anything like this before...”
This unexpected result raised immediate questions regarding the circumstances surrounding Mr. Li's death. Attention turned quickly to suspicious practices at Daqing Prison.
Events in Daqing Prison Related to Mr. Li Hongkui's Death
1. Daqing Prison officials routinely ignored prison law, denying visitation rights for Mr. Li's wife and children for over six years beginning in June 2007. Prison officials claimed that the families of Falun Gong practitioners must assist the government to transform them, and were also required to provide so-called “legal documents” issued by the local police department.
2. Prison guards Chu Zhongxin, Li Jinhao, and Liu Guoqiang used batons to beat Mr. Li nine times during the five-day period of February 17-22, 2009. Mr. Li was severely injured and subsequently bedridden.
3. Mr. Li's wife went to the prison in order to see Mr. Li on both February 25 and 27, 2009, but the prison denied her visitation rights.
Prison guards Li Jinhao and Liu Guoqiang beat Mr. Li with batons again on June 25, 2009. The prison refused to acknowledge the beating at first, but later claimed that they had disciplined Mr. Li because he attempted to escape and resisted the guards. The guards then claimed, “He deserved the beating! He's lucky that he's not dead! If he were dead, we might have had to compensate you a hundred or two hundred thousand yuan for his death, and you'd make a fortune!”
4. Mr. Li and dozens of other practitioners in Daqing Prison were deprived of food for four days beginning July 11, 2009.
5. Ms. Li was extremely concerned that her husband would be severely injured or killed in the prison, and continuously appealed for the right to visit him. She went to the Daqing municipal government, the provincial government, up to the State Ministry of Justice. Finally, Zheng Zhixin, director of the Bureau of Justice in Daqing promised that Mr. Li would not be beaten any longer, and compensated her with three thousand yuan ($488 USD) to close this case.
6. Ms. Li was never granted visitation rights. She was only allowed to call him once, and Mr. Li confirmed that he'd been beaten in the prison.
What Did Daqing Prison Officials Do to Mr. Li Hongkui During His Hospitalization?
Daqing Prison suddenly told Mr. Li's wife on the evening of August 13, 2012, that he had been sent to Daqing No. 4 Hospital for surgery for a cerebral hemorrhage. She rushed to the hospital, and found him in the Intensive Care Unit, still in a coma. The left side of his head was wrapped in a thick bandage. There was a 3 cm-long cut on his right ear, and it was hard to tell what was used to make the cut, since the the ear was quite torn apart. His left ear was completely bruised and his right finger was swollen. Bruises, folds, and peeled skin covered other parts of his body. Two old black-and-blue marks were present on his left leg, and another bruise on his right leg.
1. Prison officials lie to Mr. Li's wife.
When Mr. Li's wife arrived at the hospital, Mr. Li was still in a coma. She lifted the left corner of his bedcover, and noticed two palm-sized, heavily bruised areas on his left leg. She became angry and asked, “What happened to him?” Prison warden Zhu Renshan replied, “That is a birthmark.” She said, “Don't you think that I know where my husband has birthmarks?”
2. Prison officials prevent Mr. Li's wife from taking photographs.
Mr. Li's wife was understandably angry and took photos of the shackles on Mr. Li's feet, and the bruises on his leg. Zhu Renshan shouted at her, “Delete those pictures! Delete those pictures!” She refused, and Zhu pushed her out of the emergency room.
3. Prison officials place the hospital under heavy guard.
Daqing Prison officials arranged for several officers to guard Mr. Li's ward, day and night. Two additional armed police officers were placed at the entry to monitor him around the clock. Even though Mr. Li was in a coma and partially paralyzed after the surgery, his feet were shackled. Mr. Li's wife asked Zhu to remove the shackles while he remained in a coma. Zhu claimed, “I can't do that according to regulations.” She asked, “What regulations?” Zhu didn't answer.
4. Prison officials failed to inform Mr. Li's wife of her husband's condition.
Li's attending physician told Mr. Li's wife, Bai Qun, that the operation was successful, and that he was making a rapid recovery.
Mr. Li was transferred out of the ICU to a general ward on August 18 due to his improving condition.
Mr. Li's condition improved to the point that he was no longer in critical condition, and all devices for monitoring his heart, blood pressure, and blood oxygen were removed on August 20.
On August 25, he was able to feed himself unattended. With support, he was able to sit up for ten minutes. He was able to sit up for 20 minutes with support on August 26.
Mr. Li's attending physician informed Bai Qun for three days in a row (on August 25-27) that she could take Mr. Li home, however the hospital president refused to discharge him for unknown reasons.
Mr. Li suddenly began vomiting at approximately 6:00 p.m. on August 27, foaming at the mouth, and convulsing. By 8:00 p.m., his body temperature had spiked to 42° C (107.6° F). The convulsions continued along with heavy perspiration.
At 5:14 a.m. on August 28, Mr. Li suffered respiratory system failure. His heart then stopped beating.
Neither the hospital nor the prison officials notified Bai Qun about his critical condition.
Daqing Prison Officials' Actions Following Mr. Li's Death
1. Prison officials refused to provide written documents describing events surrounding his death.
Mr. Li's wife went to Daqing Prison many times, asking for a written response to her 14 inquiries, including an explanation for the bruises observed on Mr. Li. According to “Regulations on Letters and Visits,” the prison is required to give a written response within two weeks. However, eight months passed, and Bai Qun had not received a written response from the prison. Huo Weidong, chief of the prison political section, stated that the prison did not provide a written response in order to avoid possible exposure of this event on the Internet. Why were prison officials afraid of complying with legal procedures?
2. The prison refused to provide surveillance video.
The prison maintains a 24-hour surveillance system. Bai Qun requested that prison officials provide the video recordings during the period when Mr. Li suffered the cerebral hemorrhage (before he was taken to the hospital). Section Chief Huo claimed that the video recordings were erased after a certain period of time. He even confronted Mr. Li, “The video is gone! Can you punish us?”
3. The prison secretly transported Mr. Li's body.
For undisclosed reasons, Daqing Prison secretly transported Mr. Li's body from the Daqing Funeral Home back to the prison without notifying his wife.
4. The prison suppressed free speech.
After Daqing Prison officials failed to provide Bai Qun a response regarding her husband's death, she went to the Daqing Bureau of Justice, Daqing Procuratorate, Daqing Municipal People's Congress, and Daqing Municipal Government to report Mr. Li's death, and requested a directive that Daqing Prison officials release a truthful statement concerning the events leading to her husband's death. However, no government organization responded to her request. Bai Qun had no choice but to expose a photo of her husband's torture on a micro-blog to attract attention and support from the public. Thousands of people followed the micro-blog and posted replies every day. As many as 200,000 visits were recorded from this message. Instead of resolving the issue, Daqing Prison officials repeatedly pressed Ms. Bai, “What do you want? You keep on posting messages on the web, what's your purpose?”
According to legal administrative litigation, the administrative organizations are responsible for providing evidence to justify their administrative actions, i.e., the defendant bears the burden to prove innocence regarding claims by the plaintiff. This is named “inversion of evidential burden.”
Ms. Li believes that Daqing Prison bears responsibility for providing a written response to her inquiries, to provide facts which prove that Mr. Li was not ill-treated in the prison or tortured to death. Otherwise, she has reason to suspect that Mr. Li was in fact, persecuted to death.
Warden Wang Yongxiang was directly responsible for Mr. Li's death. Bai Qun has written a letter to Wu Aiying, Minister of Justice, to urge removal of Wang Yongxiang from his position as warden of Daqing Prison, for the removal of Liu Yong from his position as director of Daqing Bureau of Justice, and to urge them to provide a truthful disclosure of the events leading to Mr. Li's death.
Related articles: http://en.minghui.org/html/articles/2012/9/5/135292.html http://en.minghui.org/html/articles/2012/9/15/135430.html