An Entire Family Persecuted for Their Faith: Father and Son Die Within Ten Days of Each Other
(Minghui.org) Since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) started the persecution of Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa), an ancient spiritual practice based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, in July 1999, thousands of practitioners have been arrested, imprisoned, tortured, or even killed for their organs. Falun Gong practitioners have also faced discrimination, seen their jobs terminated, pensions revoked, and had their families broken up.
One such family is the family of Mr. Zhang Quanfu of Baishan City, Jilin Province. Father and son, Mr. Zhang Quanfu and Mr. Zhang Qifa, were killed within 10 days of each other, while the mother and daughter, Ms. Jiao Yongzhi and Ms. Zhang Yulan, were repeatedly arrested for refusing to renounce their faith in Falun Gong. The years of persecution that the family endured is sadly typical of that experienced by Falun Gong practitioners throughout China, and includes repeated arrests, abuse in detention, and the stress of the regime's implication system whereby family members and work associates are also targeted and pressured to comply with the regime's persecution policies.
Below is an account of the family's ordeal:
The Zhang family started practicing Falun Gong in January 1999. Mr. Zhang Quanfu and his wife were retirees from the Forestry Bureau, while their son was a plumber and their daughter worked at a veneer factory.
The elder Mr. Zhang used to suffer from multiple illnesses including osteoarthritis and uremia, but recovered within one month after he began practicing Falun Gong. The whole family lived in harmony.
Family of Four Sent to Labor Camp
In the middle of December 1999, several months after the persecution began, Mr. Zhang and his son went to Beijing to appeal for the right to practice Falun Gong. They were intercepted at a train station. The police brought them back home on the train and confiscated more than 1,000 yuan from the family. Although they had sleeper-berth tickets, the police didn't allow them to use them. Mr. Zhang's son and another practitioner were handcuffed to the heating duct in the corridor and had to stand the whole night while Mr. Zhang was handcuffed to the seat.
Father and son were sent to the Sanlin Detention Center where they were detained for 15 days. The food there was of poor quality, consisting primarily of corn buns and thin radish soup, often with dirt in the soup. After their release, they were required to pay 450 yuan for their food. At that time, Mr. Zhang's retirement pension was only 460 yuan per month.
In addition to the food extortion, from December 1999 to the end of 2000, the authorities deducted 200 yuan per month from Mr. Zhang's retirement pension as a “fine,” for a total of 2,600 yuan. When Mr. Zhang and his son were released, the police threatened to ransack their home.
On January 8, 2000, Ms. Jiao and her daughter went to Beijing to appeal and were arrested and sent to the Baishan City liaison office in Beijing. After they were sent home on January 13, 2000, Ms. Jiao was incarcerated in the Jiangyuan County Detention Center and was forced to pay 300 yuan for food while her daughter was held in the Forestry Bureau Detention Center and had to pay 275 yuan for food.
After being detained, Ms. Zhang was told that she could not go anywhere without permission from the authorities. The Party secretary from her work unit told her that her action had caused the work unit to lose an opportunity to be a “model” unit. The manager said that the work unit was fined 6,000 yuan and it would come out of her salary after she returned to work.
The whole family went to Beijing again on February 17, 2000, and were arrested. On the drive to their hometown's liaison office in Beijing, two policemen from Jiangyuan County, knowing that the elder Mr. Zhang was prone to carsickness, deliberately took him on a long detour, with the excuse that they needed to pick up something. When they arrived at the liaison office, Mr. Zhang was pale and dizzy and had to lie down for half an hour to recover.
The Beijing Liaison Office for Baishan City also confiscated more than 600 yuan from the family “to purchase tickets.” The local police took another 500 yuan from them to buy sleeper-berth tickets for themselves while taking the family back.
Mr. Zhang and his children were detained for 15 days and had to pay a total of 675 yuan for food while his wife was detained for 15 days and had to pay a total of 500 yuan. They were all given forced labor—Mr. Zhang for one and a half years; his wife for one year; his son two years; and his daughter one and a half years.
Mr. Zhang returned home in 2001 while his wife had to serve an additional 35 days beyond her term before she was released on March 29, 2001. After their return, police officers from the Zhengpen Police Station and the Sanchazi Police Station in Jiangyuan County often came to their home to harass them.
In July 2001, two officers from the Zhengpen Police Station arrived unannounced at the family's home and saw the couple doing the Falun Gong exercises. They forcibly confiscated their exercise music tape. Later, two officers from the Sanchazi Police Station stopped by and told Ms. Jiao that the police chief wanted to talk to her. She refused to go and said that she had not done anything wrong and there was nothing to talk about. The officers threatened, “Your attitude is enough to send you to a detention center.”
While serving time at the Changchun Women's Labor Camp, Ms. Zhang was often forced to work overtime until midnight. She was also subjected to electric shocks and other tortures and abuse for refusing to renounce her faith. She was denied family visits during her entire one-and-a-half-year term.
Both Ms. Zhang and her brother were fired from their workplace during the time that they were incarcerated.
Father and Son Given Forced Labor Terms Again, Died Within Ten Days of Each Other
Mr. Zhang Qifa was released from Chaoyanggou Forced Labor Camp in late February 2002. He and his father went to the Forestry Bureau to request a reinstatement of his job on March 1, 2002. Because they affirmed that they wouldn’t give up practicing Falun Gong, the authorities arrested them again on March 6, 2002.
The police also confiscated their Falun Gong exercise tape and tape player. The police did not show any arrest or search warrant at the time and only wrote one afterwards.
Father and son were later each given one year of forced labor and sent to Chaoyangguo Forced Labor Camp on May 15, only three months after Mr. Zhang Qifa’s previous term.
While the two men served time, Ms. Zhang was released on April 9, 2002, after serving an extension of seven months and seventeen days. She was devastated to find only her mother and her brother’s daughter at home.
When Ms. Zhang visited her father at the detention center before he was transferred to the labor camp, he looked much thinner than the last time she'd seen him two years prior. His hair and beard were long and his hands were cuffed.
At the labor camp, Mr. Zhang Quanfu was deprived of sleep, forced to do hard labor, and not allowed to talk. When he was first sent to the labor camp, he was made to squat for nearly an hour with his head and heels against the wall, hands on his knees. However, he couldn't bend his legs as one of his legs had a steel plate from a prior injury. A guard kicked him because he was unable to squat as directed.
Mr. Zhang was later made to sit on a small stool every day after breakfast from 7:00 a.m. to after 10:00 p.m. His trousers became soaked with sweat after a day of sitting on the stool. Within six months, Mr. Zhang developed scabies, with the scabies on the back of his hands measuring two centimeters thick. He weighed less than 30 kg (about 66 lbs.) and was only allow very little to eat every day.
In November 2002, the labor camp intensified the persecution of practitioners. Though Mr. Zhang's life was in danger due to poor health, the labor camp refused to release him and instead increased the time he was forced to sit on the stool, from 5:00 a.m. to midnight.
Once, the police called Mr. Zhang to a room and demanded to know if he still practiced Falun Gong. He replied, “I'll practice Dafa resolutely as long as I'm still alive.”
Angered, the police poured a cup of boiling water on Mr. Zhang's hands, scalding and blistering his hands.
After that incident, Mr. Zhang's health deteriorated quickly and he started to pass blood in his stools. His hands became infected due to the scalding. Once, because he was walking very slowly, an inmate dragged him to the cafeteria and beat him. He was still forced to sit on the stool the day before he died.
On January 8, 2003, the police sent Mr. Zhang to the hospital after seeing that he was in critical condition. He died there that night at the age of 65.
Upon hearing about his death, Ms. Jiao and her daughter went to the labor camp and questioned the police as to why they tortured Mr. Zhang to death. The police refused any responsibility. One policeman told the family to sue them if they wanted to.
Ms. Zhang then asked to visit her brother and also requested his early release. She noted that her brother was emaciated and had developed severe scabies, just as their father had. He was also limping and had difficulty breathing. He could not talk clearly.
Mr. Zhang Qifa passed away on January 19, 2003, one day after he was released.
His sister recalled, “We received a call from the labor camp on January 15 and were told to come pick him up on the 18th. When I went there alone that day and was waiting at the guard house, my brother was carried over by someone. He leaned on the heater and couldn't walk. I cried.
“A policeman helped my brother into the car while grumbling. We were taken to the bus terminal and I paid 27 yuan for the bus fare. The remaining 73 yuan I had was confiscated by the police with the excuse of paying for the phone call to us.
“Around 3:00 p.m. on January 18, I carried my brother on my back into our home with our mother supporting us. He told us that he was forced to sit on a small stool all day long and was deprived of sleep. He was exhausted from working in the summer without enough to eat. He was also not allowed to talk.
“My mother and I saw that my brother's original fair skin had turned dark and was covered with scabies. There were also two small hard bumps on his legs. His knees were covered with bloody wounds and there were wounds all over his body. The next day, my brother couldn't eat nor talk. He was itchy all over. He died at 11:30 a.m. at the age of 38.”
Mr. Zhang Qifa's 13-year-old daughter had come to see her father one last time, but was blocked by the police stationed outside Ms. Zhang’s home. When the neighbors tried to help, the police also stopped them. Another officer even went around and attempted to collect “more evidence” from the neighbors against the Zhang family.
Daughter Harassed Before Father and Brother’s Deaths
While the father and son were still serving time at the labor camp, the police often harassed the mother and daughter at their home. On November 1, 2002, the police broke into and started searching Ms. Zhang’s residence. They demanded whether Ms. Zhang still practiced Falun Gong. When she didn't answer them, the police tried to take her away and one of them pulled her arms behind her back. They didn't give her a chance to put on her shoes. Her niece eventually helped her with her shoes.
Ms. Zhang was interrogated the entire evening and sent to the Jiangyuan County Detention Center at 1:00 a.m.. The head of the police department threatened, “If you don't write the guarantee statement, you will be imprisoned forever.”
Ms. Zhang went on her first hunger strike, which lasted five days. The authorities kept interrogating her but refused to release her. She went on another hunger strike for 20 days and was finally released on December 10, 2002.
“The repeated harassment and arrests cut deep into my mother’s and my hearts. The only hope we could hold on to was that my father and brother would be released in a few months. But their deaths 10 days apart after I was released only broke our hearts and left my mother and me in deep, deep desperation and devastation,” Ms. Zhang said.
Ongoing Persecution Against Mother and Daughter
Four years later, on June 8, 2007, mother and daughter were arrested again and held in a detention center. The police confiscated their ten thousand yuan in savings.
Ms. Zhang held a hunger strike in the detention center for four days before she was released on June 11. After her release, she went back to the detention center to visit her mother every day, who was then released on June 26 after she passed out suddenly.
After their release, the mother and daughter demanded that the police return their confiscated savings. The police threatened Ms. Zhang instead and monitored her every day, including all her phone calls and the people she talked to on the street. The two were later forced into displacement for a few months to avoid further persecution.
Shortly after they returned home, Ms. Zhang was arrested again on November 28, 2007. The police ransacked her place and confiscated her Falun Gong books and related materials. She was once again given a forced labor term and incarcerated at Heizuizi Forced Labor Camp.
On July 27, 2015, officers from the Jiangyuan District 610 Office, the Political and Legal Affairs Committee, and the Domestic Security Division arrested Ms. Zhang and ransacked her home. Her Falun Gong books were confiscated.
Ms. Zhang was arrested again a year later on September 17, 2016 by officers from the Zhengcha Police Station. The police confiscated Falun Gong books. Her mother, in her 70s, was left unattended.
On October 24, 2017, Ms. Zhang had just returned home when she was arrested by officers from the Zhengcha Police Station in Jiangyuan District. The officers broke into her home and confiscated her Falun Gong books. The police forcibly took her fingerprints and a DNA sample before sending her to the Heigouzi Detention Center in Baishan. As she refused to wear the detention center uniform, she was held in solitary confinement for a night and was slapped several times by a police officer. She was released after six days.
Ms. Zhang's latest arrest happened on March 23, 2018. She was arrested with three other practitioners by officers from the Jiangyuan District Police Station. All of them were held in the Heigou Detention Center.