Tortured to Death: Our Younger Sister Gao Rongrong (Part 1 of 4)
(Minghui.org) Ten years ago, guards shocked Ms. Gao Rongrong on the face with several electric batons simultaneously for over 7 hours. When they finally stopped, her face had become severely deformed. Blood and hair stuck to her burned skin. Blisters erupted on her face and neck due to repeated shocks to the same spots.This series revisits the horrors of Ms. Gao's case from the perspective of her family members.
Following electric shock torture on May 7, 2004, Ms. Gao was confined to a heavily guarded hospital ward for almost five months until she was rescued by a group of Falun Gong practitioners on October 5. However, she was captured again on March 6 the following year and died of subsequent torture three months later on June 16, 2005. She was 37.
Ms. Gao Rongrong has become a well known example of the Chinese Communist Party's persecution of Falun Gong, a self-cultivation practice based on the principle of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Her only “crime” was persisting in her belief in Falun Gong.
More than nine years have passed since Ms. Gao's death, yet the persecution of Falun Gong has not abated. Mourning the loss of Ms. Gao, her two older sisters now living outside of China share their family's pain with the public in hopes that more people can see through the Chinese Communist Party's brutality and stand up against the senseless persecution.
In this four-part series, the Gao sisters detail the events that transpired between May 14, 2004, the day they discovered their younger sister's torture, and June 16, 2005, the day their sister passed away.
Part 1: Rongrong Tells the Story of Her Disfigured Face at Shenyang Public Security HospitalPart 2: Rongrong Requests to Have Her Face Photographed and Shown to the WorldPart 3: Rongrong Transferred to and Closely Monitored at No. 1 Hospital of China Medical UniversityPart 4: Appeal for Rongrong's Justice Leads to Harassment of Our Family and Her Eventual Death
Part 1: Rongrong Tells the Story of Her Disfigured Face at Shenyang Public Security Hospital
We first realized something was wrong on May 14, 2004, when we tried to visit our sister Rongrong at Longshan Forced Labor Camp, only to find that previously announced visitations were canceled that day.
We heard that another Falun Gong practitioner was detained there, Ms. Wang Xiuyuan, had been tortured to death around that time, so we were very worried about our sister. Since she was detained in June 2003, she had been subjected to forced labor, deprived of sleep, brutally beaten, and shocked by electric batons.
We shook the metal gate. An aging security guard let us in after we told him we were Gao Rongrong’s sisters. Instead of having us register and taking us to the building detaining Falun Gong practitioners, he took us directly to the office building facing the gate. We suspected that something was amiss.
Two guards came out to meet us. The woman was Wang Jinghui, head of the second ward. We asked, “What happened to our sister? Why are you taking us here? Let us see her.” She replied, “Gao Rongrong got hurt a little while working.”
The man said, “Gao Rongrong fell from the building.” Lili immediately asked, “You tortured my sister again, right? Aren’t you Tang Yubao?”
Lili asked because since our sister entered the labor camp, Tang Yubao had beaten and shocked her multiple times. He tried to force her to give up her belief, perform hard labor, and attend indoctrination meetings that demonized Falun Gong.
Desperate Escape from Second Floor Window
After hesitating for a while, Tang Yubao finally admitted that he did shock Rongrong and beat her in March. He later added that he didn’t beat her this time and that it was Rongrong herself who jumped out of the building. I said, “That's not possible. There are window bars in the cells locking up practitioners. How could she jump from there?”
Tang Yubao insisted, “She jumped from the second floor office. There are no window bars there. She was trying to escape.” Wang Jinghui added, “Gao Rongrong wanted to escape, and she broke her legs.” I asked, “How could she be in the office? You must have been torturing her.”
The guards threatened to hold our family responsible for medical expenses unless we signed Rongrong's surgery paperwork immediately. They refused to tell us which hospital she was sent to. We kept asking, and they kept changing their story. We didn’t believe anything they said. Lili started crying, and Tang Yubao quickly left the office.
We told them that if they did not let us visit our sister, we would take legal action. The guard Wang Jinghui said she needed to ask her supervisor and left. Lili continued to cry loudly, which drew the attention of people walking by. A short bulky man came in, stared at Lili, and asked, “Why are you crying here?”
Lili saw that his name tag read Fang Jinkai, the head of the labor camp. She shouted at him, “You are in charge of this place, right? You should know what happened to my sister. Who tortured her?” Fang said quickly, “I don’t know. I don’t know anything.” Lili said, “You are the head of this place. You must know.” He left in a hurry.
We later heard that when Tang Yubao and Jiang Zhaohua shocked Rongrong for hours, Fang was on duty.
After a long while, Wang Jinghui came back with Wang Xuetao, a section chief. Wang Jinghui said they would take us to our sister, but she refused to tell us which hospital or Rongrong’s condition.
Accompanied by Wang Jinghui, Wang Xuetao, and several guards, we were taken to the Shenyang Public Security Hospital. When we saw Rongrong lying on the bed with a burned and deformed face, we burst into tears. Rongrong’s tears also silently streaked down her face. She was surrounded by guards.
We asked, “How are you doing? What did they do to you?” Rongrong told us weakly how Tang Yubao and Jiang Zhaohua shocked her repeatedly using multiple electric batons on her face, hands, feet and legs for hours on May 7 in the second ward office. After seven to eight hours, one inmate had a heart attack, so Tang had to stop shocking her. Before he left, he threatened Rongrong, “I’ll be back to continue shocking you.”
To escape, Rongrong jumped from the second floor window. She suffered two hip fractures, a broken left leg, and a fractured right heel from the fall.
One of the guards, Wang Chunmei, started threatening us. We demanded for her to leave and demanded to know why they waited a week before notifying us. We were all crying our hearts out. Wang Jinghui laughed at us, “I've never seen any Falun Gong people like you.”
Extensive Injuries, More Threats in Hospital
Rongrong became extremely weak during her years of torture in the labor camp. At the beginning of 2004, she started feeling nausea and suffered from liver pain and stomachaches. She was emaciated. When she asked for a medical exam, Wang Jinghui dismissed it and said that she was out of her mind.
However, Wang Jinghui did notice that Rongrong’s health was deteriorating. Eventually, Tang Yubao took her to the hospital for an examination, but they never shared the results with Rongrong or our family. If there was nothing wrong, why would they hide the results?
While Tang Yubao tortured Rongrong in March 2014, he elbowed her hard in the back. Ever since that point, she couldn't stand up straight, and she walked slower and slower. According to the X-ray results, her spine was deformed.
Wang Jinghui and Wang Xuetao ordered us to sign Rongrong’s surgery paperwork, but we refused. Instead, we demanded that they release our sister immediately and unconditionally, and transfer her to a better-equipped hospital. We vowed to bring the evildoers to justice. Wang Jinghui said she couldn’t make the call and rushed out of the room.
Rongrong told us what happened in bits and pieces. She recalled not being able to stand at all after jumping out of the second floor window. The guards carried her to the camp infirmary and were told that she had no detectable blood pressure. She was then carried out of the camp through a side door and taken to the Shenyang Military Hospital in the middle of the night.
Rongrong was in critical condition at the time, with blood pressure readings as low as 40. The doctors were shocked to see her burned face and asked what happened. Rongrong told them that she was shocked with electric batons. One of the guards whispered, “We should have come in plainclothes instead of uniforms.”
Rongrong was transferred from Shenyang Military Hospital to Shenyang Public Security Hospital on May 8. Her room was completely sealed; even the glass window on the door was covered with newspaper. The guards claimed that the burns on her face were caused by the fall.
A huge number of people, from labor camp guards to officials from the city's Bureau of Justice, swarmed her room and tried to pressure her into signing the surgery consent form. Rongrong refused. When Wang Jinghui twice attempted to forge her signature, Rongrong warned that she would be breaking the law if she did.
Rongrong had also asked that her family be notified quickly, but the labor camp officials did not. As weak as she was, Rongrong was not given any water or food in the first 20 hours after arriving at Shenyang Public Security Hospital.
When we saw Rongrong on May 14, she was in a lot of pain. She had a catheter inserted, and the wounds on her hands and feet were still severe. We could not even imagine the pain caused by the burns on her face—there were still many blisters and pustules around the burnt flesh even after a week. She also had fractures in her leg and pelvic bones.
(To be continued)