Tortured to Death: Our Younger Sister Gao Rongrong (Part 2 of 4)
(Minghui.org) Continued from Part 1
Ten years ago, guards shocked Ms. Gao Rongrong on the face with electric batons for over 7 hours. When they finally stopped, blood and hair stuck to her burned skin, and blisters erupted on her face and neck. This series revisits the horrors of Ms. Gao's case from the perspective of her family members.
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, only to be captured again six months later. She died of subsequent torture 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 principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Her only “crime” was persisting in her belief in Falun Gong.
More than nine years have passed since her death, yet the persecution of Falun Gong has not abated. 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.
In Part 1, Rongrong told the story of her disfigured face in Shenyang Public Security Hospital.
Part 2: Rongrong Requests to Have Her Face Photographed and Shown to the World
Lili stayed with Rongrong that night (May 14, 2004) at Shenyang Public Security Hospital. Before Weiwei left, while the guards were changing shifts that night, Rongrong told us [her two older sisters, Lili and Weiwei] that she wanted us to take pictures of her disfigured face and injured leg. She said that many other practitioners were also beaten and shocked with electric batons on the morning of May 7.
Rongrong said, “Many others have suffered far more severe torture than I have. However, Falun Gong practitioners are usually tortured in dark corners of the forced camps, concealed by the authorities. When I decided to jump out the window, I had the thought that I must stay alive. I needed to escape and show the public my burns and injuries and expose their evil actions to the world.”
The next morning, Weiwei managed to bring in a camera. Our mother also came to visit. She walked right up to the guards and asked them why they had done such harm to her daughter. She followed them to the balcony as they tried to avoid answering her.
With Weiwei's help, Lili took photos. She kept the flash on, and the pictures turned out very clear. Actually, Lili had just bought the digital camera the night before, and we had no clue how to turn the flash off. All we wanted was to get some pictures before the guards took notice, but they never did.
Some fellow practitioners worried that publicizing photos of her disfigured face would put her in greater danger. When we told Rongrong of their concern, she thought for a while and said calmly, “We should expose the persecution. For years, so many practitioners have been suffering horrendous torture, but it's difficult to expose the persecution. Many practitioners are now raising awareness in New York City. Please give the photos to them.” She also wanted to be interviewed over the phone by international media.
On July 7, 2004, a photo of Rongrong's scorched face was published on the Minghui website. About six weeks prior, on May 21, 2004, Minghui had reported on the torture that she'd suffered.
Family Friend: “The CCP Is Just That Evil.”
One of our friends, an older gentleman, knew full well just how evil the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was. He had thought of taking Rongrong's photo to America and exposing the persecution earlier, but he also had concerns.
He said, “This is a double-edged sword. Once the photo is made public and seen by the international community, the CCP might draw back a little, but it also might fly into a rage. As a consequence, they would treat Rongrong even worse. However, if we do not expose the persecution, the CCP will intensify their abuse of Rongrong to hide the evidence. The CCP is just that evil. No matter what, it just wants to do evil, and do evil to the end.”
Expert Confirms Injuries Caused by Electric Shocks
While exposing the persecution, we started to consult experts to examine Rongrong's injuries. We went to visit a bodily injury examiner, who was one of the best in the field. We told him how officers from Longshan Forced Labor Camp shocked our sister with electric batons and disfigured her face, but officials from both the forced labor camp and judiciary bureau claimed that she had been injured in a fall. We wanted to know if he could identify the cause of her injury. We said to him, “We follow the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, so we do not lie. Our sister was shocked with electric batons for several hours. Falun Gong practitioners have been suffering all kinds of torture for years.”
The expert looked at the picture and didn't say anything, then took our disc. He sat in front of his computer, enlarged Rongrong's photo, and examined it. After a while, he asked us to look at the enlarged picture. He told us, “Look the scorched parts of your sister's face, hands and feet. They are accompanied by pairs of tiny white marks. Those are traces of electric baton shocks. Such even white marks could only be produced by the two electrodes of an electric baton.”
The expert enlarged Rongrong's picture and showed us her scorched forehead, face, and neck while explaining what he saw. We could see that the rice-grain-sized oval white marks appeared in pairs.
Then he continued analyzing: “If they were injuries from falling down, then where did her face make contact with the ground? She would have had to have fallen into a mold that was exactly the same as the shape of your sister's face. Otherwise, if your sister's eye sockets, nose, lower jaw, and neck were injured like this, her cheekbones would be broken and dented, wouldn't they? See? The injuries on her cheekbones and brow ridges are the same in severity as on the lower parts of her face. It's because external force was applied.”
Rongrong's Employer Bows to CCP Pressure
During Rongrong's stay at Shenyang Public Security Hospital, our father and brother also visited. They were heartbroken. Rongrong was the youngest daughter in the family and had always been a bright and caring person. Our elderly father could barely stand at the sight of Rongrong's burnt face and injuries.
We called director Wei Ershen of the Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts where Rongrong worked, and told him about what happened and that she was in critical condition. He replied, “How could this be? No, this can't be.”
Director Wei and two other colleagues of Rongrong's visited her at the hospital a few days later. They were stopped by the guards in the hallway. When one of her colleagues tried to look through the glass panels on the door, guard Wang Chunmei walked over and stood in the way.
Weiwei came out and met with director Wei in the hallway. However, director Wei, a well-established artist and a member of the National People's Congress, was intimidated by the labor camp guards. He did not dare to take even one small step forward. Director Wei had been actively cooperating with local authorities in persecuting Falun Gong practitioners since 1999.
In fact, Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts and the local 610 Office had collaborated on Rongrong's most recent arrest, which led to her illegal detention at Longshan Forced Labor Camp. When Rongrong became extremely weak in the beginning of 2004, the camp officials intended to release her with her employer's consent. Director Wei, however, told Rongrong when he visited her that if she did not “transform” and renounce Falun Gong, he would not get her out.
Weiwei told us later that director Wei said before he left, “Gao Rongrong is great in every way, except that she practices Falun Gong.” Weiwei told him, “The fact that she practices Falun Gong is precisely the reason she is so great.” He seemed somewhat taken aback.
Some people have really lost their dignity and choose to aid the evil in the persecution in exchange for personal gain. Officials at the academy had been involved in persecuting Rongrong since the onset of the persecution. In order to monitor another practitioner from the academy, they hired a contract worker to monitor that practitioner around the clock.
(To be continued)