Judicial Bureau Blocks Medical Parole for Imprisoned Man in Critical Condition
(Minghui.org) A Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province resident has been in critical condition since shortly after he was imprisoned for his faith in Falun Gong. When the prison authorities finally agreed to his request for medical parole, his local judicial bureau director refused to grant him parole on the grounds that both he and his family are still holding firm to their faith in Falun Gong.
Mr. Zhao Haijun, 53, was arrested in May 2016 and sentenced to eight years in prison four months later by Shuangcheng District Court for filing a criminal complaint against Jiang Zemin, the former head of the Chinese communist regime who ordered the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999.
Mr. Zhao's health deteriorated quickly only a few months after he was admitted to Hulan Prison on January 4, 2017.
According to the doctor, about two-thirds of Mr. Zhao's lungs had collapsed and one of his kidneys failed and his other kidney had tuberculosis. He also suffered from heart failure and had difficulty breathing.
Between 2017 and 2018, Mr. Zhao was sent to the emergency room several times for resuscitation.
In addition to his lung, kidney and heart problems, he also developed epididymis tuberculosis and high blood pressure.
As his condition kept declining, he was kept in the prison hospital and monitored by inmates.
The prison approved Mr. Zhao's request for medical parole in 2019 and secured the required medical examination report, showing that his medical condition requires extensive medical attention.
By law, parole applicants' local judicial bureaus must also give approval before they can be released on parole. On April 1, a prison staff visited Yu Jianmin, Director of Corrections Department at Mr. Zhao's local Shuangcheng District Judicial Bureau, to seek his signature.
Yu refused to sign the paperwork, saying that Mr. Zhao's guarantor also practices Falun Gong. When Mr. Zhao's family found a different guarantor who doesn't practice Falun Gong, Yu found another excuse and said the new guarantor couldn't provide proof of income to pay for Mr. Zhao's medical expenses.
To seek his parole, Mr. Zhao's family also visited the local appeals office and city government, only to be given the runaround by both agencies.
One official at the local government said to his family, “It's easy to get approval for medical parole for a murderer or arsonist, but not Falun Gong.”
Hearing of Mr. Zhao's ordeal, many of his fellow villagers signed a petition and volunteered to put their names on the guarantors' list. This angered the local police, who accused Mr. Zhao and his family of causing negative impacts to society. They pressured them again to give up practicing Falun Gong.
As the medical examination report is only valid for three months in parole applications, Mr. Zhao's family returned to the Judicial Bureau several times, but Yu continued to demand that they renounce Falun Gong. When they refused to comply, Yu ordered the security personnel to carry them out of his office and threatened to arrest them if they came again.
Mr. Zhao remains at the prison hospital at the time of writing. One of his two daughters once wrote a letter calling for his release shortly after he was arrested on May 6, 2016. She and the rest of her family are very worried about Mr. Zhao's health.
Daughter's Heart-wrenching Letter Recounting Father's Ordeal
Mr. Zhao's younger daughter was only three when he and his wife were first arrested for appealing for Falun Gong. She recounted her family's suffering in the following letter:
I was born in 1996. That was also the year when my parents began to practice Falun Gong. Since I could remember things, my parents always respected each other. They got along very well and never fought. My older sister told me that they weren't like that in the past. In fact, they used to fight a lot with each other, sometimes really hard.
After they practiced Falun Gong, however, both of them changed. My dad quit smoking and drinking. My mom became more polite and respectful of people.
Many people came to my dad and asked for his help to fix their TVs and other appliances. My dad always helped them free of charge. No matter how late or how tired he was, he never said no to people or complained when they came to him.
After the communist regime began to persecute Falun Gong in 1999, my parents went to Beijing to appeal for their faith in November 1999. They were arrested and sent to a brainwashing center. I was only three years old that year. I couldn't understand what had happened. I just knew that my parents were gone.
I was left at home with my 11-year-old sister and our 70-year-old grandpa who had difficulty walking. No one took care of us, so we stayed with my aunt and asked for her help.
My parents held a hunger strike to protest the persecution in June 2000 and the authorities finally released them. But only five months after they came back, they were arrested again. This time, both of them were given one year of forced labor. My mom was detained at Wanjia Forced Labor Camp and my dad was kept at Tuanhe Forced Labor Camp in Beijing. We were separated from them again.
In early 2001, several of my aunts were also arrested and sent to a brainwashing center for practicing Falun Gong. I was four years old that year. Because I was too young and no one could take care of me at home, I was brought to the brainwashing center with my aunts. Every day, I saw the police officers and other thugs beat Falun Gong practitioners after they got drunk. I was so scared. I hid in the arms of one of my aunts and dared not to watch it. I was crying every day, wondering where my parents went.
Two weeks later, I was sent back home. As my elderly grandpa couldn't take care of me and my sister, we stayed with many relatives, each family for a few days. During the day, I went to school with my sister and sat next to her.
After a few months, I was sent to the kindergarten two years earlier than the required age. I didn't dare to talk to or play with other children. My sister sent me to the kindergarten in the morning and I waited for her to pick me up after school. I often stayed in the corner by myself and was still saddened by my parents' arrests.
When my parents were released at the end of 2001, it didn't feel real to me. At the moment when I saw them, I felt they were like strangers. My dad came back first and he began to clean the rooms without taking a break. My sister and I were just standing there, not knowing what to say.
My mom also came back a few days later. She had many wounds on her body, most of them were very deep and had festered. It was very scary to look at.
After a long time, I finally came to my senses that my parents were back. And I finally understood what it meant to have a home.
From then on, I was left in deep fear all the time. I feared whether my parents would be arrested again. When I saw a police car, I would try to avoid it. When I heard the siren, I worried whether they were coming to my home. When my parents went out for a long time, I began to worry whether they were arrested again. Even after I went to another city to attend college ten years later, I still worried when they didn't answer my call.
On July 11, 2015, which was the second day of my summer break, I went out with my parents during the day. When we came back in the evening, our neighbor told us that four or five police cars came to our home. More than 20 officers broke in. Because we weren't home, they left after ransacking our place. We then moved to the homes of relatives and friends to avoid being arrested again.
After nearly one year of wandering around, we returned home. When my dad was working on the farm, several officers came and arrested him on May 6, 2016. They also attempted to arrest my mom. But because many villagers came to speak for us, they left her alone.
My sister and I went to the police station to demand my dad's release. The head of the police station refused to release my dad, but he said he would allow us to meet with him if we could find a lawyer to represent him.
After many lawyers refused to take my dad's case fearing the persecution, we finally found one lawyer who was willing to visit my dad at the detention center.
I've heard about too many torture cases over the years. I don't have much to ask for. I just hope my father wasn't tortured in the detention center and released immediately. I don't want him to be there even for one second.