Woman Dies in Custody 18 Years Ago, Body Still Not Returned to Family
(Minghui.org) Ms. Wang Kefei died on December 20, 2001, hours after guards at the Heizuizi Women's Labor Camp in Jilin Province took her to the Tiebei Labor Camp Hospital. The 35-year-old woman had been serving time at the labor camp for refusing to renounce Falun Gong, a mind-body practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since July 1999.
The labor camp claimed that Ms. Wang had a fever due to thorn pricks to her finger and that she was conscious and walked on her own when she was brought to the hospital. The admission record stated that she was in a coma when she was carried into the hospital.
Ms. Wang's family demanded to know why there was such a big discrepancy as to her condition and who was responsible for her unnatural death, but the labor camp insisted they give consent to have her body cremated right away. The family refused to sign any paperwork and spread the news to the locals. As flyers and posters showed up everywhere in town to tell people that a young woman died in the labor camp, authorities dared not cremate Ms. Wang's body without her family's consent.
Ms. Wang's body has since remained in a morgue. Her family's requests to view or claim her body have been repeatedly denied for the past 18 years. They recalled one meeting with the labor camp head in 2015, when they were told that they must agree to the claims that Ms. Wang wasn't persecuted to death before they would be allowed to view her body.
A Kind and Noble Woman
Ms. Wang Kefei was born on August 22, 1967, to a typical family in Changchun City, Jilin Province. Her father was an accountant and her mother a factory worker. She had two older brothers, an older sister, and a younger sister. She was kind and amicable with a fine and elegant demeanor.
She started practicing Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, in 1994 and had conducted herself according to the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. In the ten years working at the Changchun City's Nanguan Branch of Jilin Province Agriculture Bank, she won high praise from coworkers and customers due to her integrity and upright character.
Multiple Arrests for Appealing for Her Faith in Beijing
On July 22, 1999, Ms. Wang and many Falun Gong practitioners went to Jilin Province government to appeal for their faith, only to see the government-controlled media started to broadcast the news about the all-around persecution campaign against Falun Gong and its practitioners. Ms. Wang was saddened by the news and decided to appeal to the central government in Beijing along with other practitioners.
Uniformed and plain-clothed officers were everywhere at her local train station, intercepting and interrogating anyone whom they suspected of being Falun Gong practitioners. Ms. Wang managed to evade her husband, who was a policeman, and bypassed the police at the roadblocks in a sedan driven by a close and trusted relative. She arrived in Siping City (another city in Jilin Province about 75 miles from Changchun) and took a train from there to Beijing.
From July 1999 to August 2001, Ms. Wang successfully made it to Beijing four times to appeal for her faith.
She was arrested in Beijing on September 27, 1999, and taken back to Changchun by the officers from Changchun City Police Department. She was detained at the Balibao Detention Center. The leadership of the agriculture bank at various levels were ordered by the 610 Office to make her give up her practice of Falun Gong and promise to not go to Beijing to appeal against the persecution again. As she refused, the 610 Office had the bank assign people to watch her all day long, blatantly violating her personal freedom.
Ms. Wang was forced to resign from work and did odd jobs at a department store in order to make a living. Years later a bank official praised her, “Wang Kefei was such a good employee and her work was the best.” Another remembered her, “Such a nice young woman had to quit her job. How brutal and inhuman the Communist Party is!”
In 2000, Ms. Wang's husband applied to join the Chinese Communist Party, which was a prerequisite in China for career advancement. He was told that Ms. Wang must renounce her faith; otherwise, she would become an encumbrance on his path to high-level positions. After Ms. Wang refused to give up her faith, her husband divorced her and kicked her out of their home.
With no place to live, she moved frequently and struggled to raise her young son by herself.
Hands and Feet Restrained Together
Because of not renouncing her faith, Ms. Wang was repeatedly arrested and detained. During her detention at Tiebei Detention Center in Changchun City in October 2000, she was tortured for doing Falun Gong exercises.
The guards put heavy shackles on her feet, handcuffed her, and then locked the shackles and cuffs with a short iron chain. With this torture device on, the victim couldn't sit, squat, stand, or lie down. The victim had to keep the body curled up at all times. They could not carry out normal activities on one's own, such as eating, drinking, or using the toilet. After being locked in this device for a long time, the victim would suffer extensive muscle strain, swollen limbs, and insomnia. Most people could only endure the torture for up to 48 hours, but Ms. Wang was tortured for 11 days straight.
In order to inflict pain, the guards ordered her to go upstairs and downstairs in the joint shackle to go to the interrogation sessions. She had to toil along a few inches at a time in the long and dark hallway. From afar people could hear the noise from the shackles dragging on the cement floor.
Later, she had to be carried to the interrogation room. She was extremely weak, her hair was messy, and her face was pale and ashen.
Persecuted to Death for Hunger Strike to Protest Slavery Labor
Ms. Wang went to Beijing again on August 1, 2001, and held up a banner that read “Falun Dafa is good” in Tian'anmen Square. She was detained in the Tiebei Detention Center and then transferred to Heizuizi Women's Forced Labor Camp at the end of August.
She was locked up in the sixth team in the labor camp. The guards used numerous methods to try to get her to give up practicing Falun Gong. She was once beaten until she lost consciousness. She did not cooperate or give in. She quietly and calmly endured the inhuman treatments without hatred toward the guards who did not know what Falun Gong truly was.
She was transferred to the seventh team's third squad in November 2001. In order to achieve a high “transformation rate” (percentage of practitioners who were forced to give up their belief), the guards kept moving practitioners around across different teams, each of them focusing on specific forms of abuse. The seventh team's specialty was high-intensity slave labor. Inmates, including practitioners, had to work from four o'clock every morning to ten at night, sometimes even into midnight or two in the morning. Some inmates could not withstand the harsh treatment and passed out.
One night in late November, all the inmates were working until 2 in the morning. Ms. Wang stood up and said, “We did not commit any crimes. We should not be treated this way.” Captain Luan Yunjuan, who was in charge of the workshop's production, dragged her out and beat her. She insisted on her innocence and started to protest by going on a hunger strike.
Guard Wang Lihua of the third squad locked her in solitary confinement at the end of the hallway. She was tied to the iron frame of a bunk bed while standing upright. Soon, her feet and legs were badly swollen, her joints unable to move. She felt dizzy and nearly fainted, as she was still on a hunger strike.
According to some practitioners' accounts, they heard Ms. Wang shouting from the end of the hallway, “Let me down. You have locked me in here for nine days.”
Ms. Wang was force-fed once every few days in the infirmary on the second floor. According to some practitioners who witnessed the force-feeding process, she was laid down on a long bench. Inmate Ji Fengqin held on to her hands and another inmate Guo Liying held down her feet. The infirmary doctor Guo Xu, with one foot stepping on the bench, forced a tube into her nostril and said, “Are you holding your breath? No problem, I have plenty of time to wait for you.”
All of this happened while guard Wang Lihua was sitting across and watching. At the time, it had been over ten days into Ms. Wang's hunger strike and she was extremely weak. The punitive force-feeding inflicted pain and she bled so profusely that she had blood everywhere on her face. When other practitioners tried to clean her face, guard Wang Lihua disallowed it.
It was merely 25 days from when she went on the hunger strike to December 20, 2001, when she died at the labor camp hospital. During this period, the guards assigned several inmates to watch her. The inmates often cursed at her and beat her. One day inmate Ji Fengqin slapped her in the face multiple times. The guards present at the scene did not stop it.
One day the guards ordered inmates, including Ji Fengqin, Sun Liying, and Li Jie, to bring four benches into the room and place a plank on top of the benches. They carried Ms. Wang onto the plank to humiliate her and they insulted her with vulgar language. Also present at the scene were Captains Liu Hu and Hou Zhihong from the seventh team.
Ms. Wang was extremely weak after several force-feeding sessions, but she was ordered to walk on her own without any help. The guards even ordered her to go downstairs to fetch various items and carry them upstairs. In the last few days of her life, Ms. Wang could not get up after force-feeding. Inmate Qi Xiuqin was assigned to carry her back to her cell. One day Qi threw her off her back onto the ground and kicked her twice.
On December 20, the authorities sent her to the hospital in a rush. She died there on the same day, at the age of 35.
Practitioner Ms. Li Chunhuan, a self-employed businesswoman from Shulan City, Jilin Province, was detained in the same squad as Ms. Wang. Ms. Li wrote in her criminal complaint against the former head of the Chinese Communist Party Jiang Zemin, “Wang Kefei was tortured to death for protesting inhuman treatment. I saw her one last time in the hallway. That day her face was bruised all over. She looked at me and seemed to want to say something, but the inmates watching her pushed her along down the hallway. She suddenly shouted out to me, 'Please bring me the toilet paper that I kept at your place.' I knew she had things to tell me so I rushed off to get the toilet paper, hoping I could have the opportunity to talk to her. However, the inmates did not let me. The next day, the guards lied to us that she had been released and taken home. Later after I was released, I found out that she had died. I witnessed a young life being persecuted to death. I agonized that such a kind person, a mother, wife, and daughter had left us. A family was broken.”
Conflicting Statements on Ms. Wang's Condition
When Ms. Wang's family came to the morgue, they saw her pants lying on the floor outside. Her facial expression suggested that she was struggling in her final moments. A roll of toilet paper was wrapped around her neck. Her upper arm had a hemostatic tape on it. Her left hand was swollen like a steamed bun. She was wearing a frayed sweater with the sleeves rolled all the way up to the armpit. No clothes were covering her lower body.
Although the morgue was cold and covered with frost, Ms. Wang's face and body were still lukewarm to the touch, which suggested that she had been placed there before she died. Upon seeing this, her mother fell to the floor crying out loud in agony. Her other family members questioned the head of the hospital how she died and why they did not notify her family earlier when she was first brought in. The hospital head fled the scene quickly.
Her family demanded right then that Prosecutor Wei, who was in charge of the labor camp, seal the medical records to keep the evidence. Wei used all kinds of excuses to not allow her family to see the medical records. The records that were eventually presented to the family were a tampered with version after concerted discussion by the procuratorate, labor camp authorities, and the labor camp hospital.
The labor camp authorities claimed that Ms. Wang had a thorn stuck in her finger leading to a high fever and that she walked into the hospital on her own. The infirmary doctor Guo Xu, who also force-fed Ms. Wang, even said that she was talking and laughing when leaving the labor camp and going to the hospital.
However, the exam record at the time of admission showed that her limbs had no sensation, her eyelashes had no reflex, and she was in a coma when she was carried into the hospital.
Ms. Wang's family suspected that the labor camp authorities were trying to cover up what they did to her that led to her unnatural death.
Ms. Wang's family demanded the labor camp find those responsible for her death and bring them to justice. The labor camp authorities asked the family to sign a consent form to cremate her body. They refused and filed several complaints against the procuratorate and the labor camp. But they have never received a just resolution.
According to a Falun Gong practitioner in Changchun City, they included the news about Ms. Wang's death in almost all the Falun Gong flyers they produced at that time. As the case was widely exposed and brought to the public's attention, the labor camp authorities did not dare to cremate her body in secret.
In 2002, the labor camp proposed to have an autopsy. Her family rejected it due to the concern over foul play.
“You Must Admit She Was Not Persecuted to Death”
Ms. Wang's family recalled one meeting they had with the labor camp head in 2015.
One family member said, “It's been 15 years that we have not seen Wang Kefei. We just want to see her body so we can hold a proper funeral for her. We want to know if her body is still here. We have written letters every year requesting to see her body.”
The labor camp head said, “The body is still here. I can let you see the body, but you must first admit that she was not persecuted to death.”
The family member replied, “You don't have evidence to show she died of a natural cause. To put it simply, it is not a natural death.” The authorities did not back down on its demand.
As of today, Ms. Wang's body is still being held in the morgue. Over these past many years, the labor camp authorities have been trying to cremate the body. They even attempted to abduct a ten-year-old child of a relative of Ms. Wang's in order to pressure them to sign the agreement to cremate the body.
The labor camp authorities also ordered the guards and inmates to provide false testimonies, tampered with the paperwork about Ms. Wang's slave labor, and spread rumors that “her family was happy about her death.”
Slavery at Heizuizi Forced Labor Camp
Heizuizi Forced Labor Camp was originally an almost-disbanded small facility with less than 100 criminal inmates. After the onset of the persecution of Falun Gong, it was expanded into a massive prison that could detain at least 800 prisoners with more than 200 prison guards. In 2002, it sometimes held more than 1,000 prisoners.
To persecute Falun Gong practitioners, the communist regime spared no effort to invest in the labor camps. It added several new buildings to the Heizuizi Labor Camp, such as a dormitory, reception area, gym, healthcare center, auditorium, cafeteria, bathrooms, and offices. But most of these improvements were only for show, for visitors to see, not for the benefit of those detained there.
Meanwhile, the labor camp doubled the wages of the guards, making it a highly desired place to work at. Many people had to bribe the authorities even to get an opportunity to apply for the job there.
Heizuizi Labor Camp was notorious for overworking inmates without pay. According to the laws, the prisoners can have seven days off in the four national holiday periods, which are New Year's Day, Chinese New Year, May Day, and the National Day. But the inmates did not get all their due breaks.
Every day, practitioners had to get up at 5:30 am and work for more than 10 hours without a break and free time. When not working, they were forced to watch propaganda TV programs slandering Falun Gong. The only free time they had was sleep time.
When the practitioners couldn't finish the slave labor during the day, the guards forced them to work at night, sometimes until 2 am.
On March 8, 2000, the guards ordered the practitioners to pick about 90 tons of beans and then bag them within three days. They had to carry the 100-pound bags of beans downstairs and the 140-pound bags of unpicked beans upstairs. Many practitioners injured their backs. Some were exhausted, especially the elderly ones.
The guards often assigned the dirtiest jobs, such as digging up tree roots, hauling coal, carrying sacks of beans, and cleaning sewers, to the practitioners who refused to renounce their belief.
On one occasion, one practitioner was forced to dig up one tree by herself, while three or four non-practitioner inmates dug up one together. To get the tree out, four practitioners were ordered to carry the largest tree under the scorching sun. Among them were a woman in her 50s and a petite practitioner. The tree was so big and heavy that they could only move it slowly with their backs bent. The prison guards kept yelling at them and urged them to hurry up, yet they still claimed that they were being “too compassionate” to the practitioners.
Torture at the Labor Camp
The notorious expansion of Heizuizi Labor Camp was painted with the blood of practitioners, like a living hell.
In May 2000, the camp began the so-called transformation campaign. To force practitioners to renounce their faith, the guards tortured them day and night. The screams of the practitioners, the discharging sounds of electric batons, and the sounds of various torture tools used to hit the practitioners could be heard everywhere.
In just two days, many practitioners were seen at mealtime brutally injured. Some had swollen heads. Some had bruised faces. Some limped and had to walk with sticks. Some were held up or carried out.
Ms. Shang Dongxia was handcuffed and hung up in a solitary room for seven days. She was also tied to a death bed for five days. On another occasion, she was thrown down from the second floor and passed out for 15 minutes. She suffered a concussion and vomited nonstop the whole day.
The persecution worsened around the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Hundreds of practitioners were detained here. Many became paralyzed or mentally disoriented from torture.
Practitioners Persecuted to Death
In addition to Ms. Wang Kefei, dozens of Falun Gong practitioners had also been persecuted to death at the labor camp. Some of the victims included:
Yin Shuyuin and Hou Lijun (both from Chungchun City); Xuan Honggui and Wang Yuhan (both from Meihekou City); Wang Xiulan and Cui Zhengshu (both from Jilin City); Zhang Yulan (from Baishan City); and Han Cuiyuan (from Siping City).
Some persecution cases are briefed below.
Ms. Yin Shuyuin
Ms. Yin Shuyuin was shocked all over her body with electric batons for reciting “Falun Dafa is good.” She was also severely beaten and kicked. A prison guard slammed her head against the wall, causing serious bleeding. Because of the repeated torture, she died on May 28, 2000.
Ms. Yu Lixin
Ms. Yu Lixin was illegally detained in this prison in 2000. She was tortured so badly that the prison had to send her to the Public Security Hospital. A witness revealed that Ms. Yu was continuously persecuted in the hospital.
The witnessed said, “Ms. Yu was tied up in the bed and had a gastric tube and a urinary catheter for a long period of time. She was soaked in the urine due to a leak in the catheter. She was even beaten by an inmate instigated by a guard. She was also verbally abused. She was emaciated because of the long term torture.”
She died after being brought back to the camp.
Ms. Zhang Yulan
Ms. Zhang Yulan was taken to Heizuizi Labor Camp in January 2002 after being brutally tortured for five hours straight at Baihe Forestry Bureau Detention Center. She also had endured the brutal torture for eight months in this prison before she was released. She passed away on October 8, 2002.
Ms. Han Chunyuan
Ms. Han Chunyuan was illegally sentenced to four years in prison in 1999. She had endured brutal torture repeatedly with electric shocks since she was taken to Heizuizi Labor Camp. She died in July 2002.
Ms. Lu Suqiu
Ms. Lu Suqiu was illegally detained in Heizuizi Labor Camp for eight months. In her detention, Ms. Lu was forced to take on an extra heavy workload.
In January 2001, two evil guards tried to force Ms. Lu to give up Falun Gong and canceled the break time of the entire team members as a threat. In April, her persecution was intensified after she told a leader from the Labor Education Division under the National Judiciary Committee that she had gained good health from practicing Falun Gong.
Ms. Lu went on a hunger strike during the Labor Day (May 1) period to protest the persecution. She was force-fed with pickled mustard vegetable soup with glutinous rice paste. She repeatedly endured electric shocks to her chest, which caused damage to her heart and bleeding. Her health deteriorated so much that the prison released her on medical parole to avoid any legal responsibility for her welfare. She later died from abuse while in custody at the Jilin Police Department.
The now-defunct Heizuizi Labor Camp was one of the numerous facilities where the communist regime has persecuted Falun Gong practitioners. Although many of the labor camps were given fancy names such as "Nomocracy Teaching Schools" or "Ideological Education Centers," they couldn't hide their brutal and evil crimes against humanity.
Ms. Wang Kefei is one of 4,304 Falun Gong practitioners confirmed to have been persecuted to death by the communist regime. Eighteen years have passed and her family's grievances have still not been addressed. Her family and those of other Falun Gong practitioners are continuing their efforts to bring their perpetrators to justice.