Human Rights Lawyer Wang Yonghang: From Bystander to Victim to Witness in the Persecution of Falun Gong (Part II)
(Minghui.org) (Continued from Part I)
Mr. Wang Yonghang, a human rights attorney, has defended Falun Gong practitioners since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began to persecute the group in 1999. Like Gao Zhisheng and many other lawyers who supported Falun Gong practitioners, Mr. Wang was severely punished by the regime, including a seven-year period of unlawful detention and brutal torture.
Mr. Wang understood that the public would never know what he and many other Falun Gong practitioners experienced if they didn't tell their stories. The following is his firsthand account of how the communist regime has violated the law in its persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.
Illegally Tried and Sentenced
When a detained person is held at a hospital, a policeman from the detention center and two armed policemen are stationed to guard him. Concerned with the impact of my case, the authorities added two additional police officers, rotating them daily from one of the 13 police stations overseen by the Shahekou Police Department of Dalian.
A young police officer guarding me described the police department's actions on the day they arrested me. He shared a few details from when I left my home. However, if the police had not followed me that morning, they would not have known these details. I then realized that although the arrest on that day was primarily targeting me, other practitioners were implicated, as well.
It came to my attention in late 2009 that Falun Gong practitioner Feng Gang, who was arrested when I was monitored, had died. I read on the Minghui website after I was released that he was tortured after being arrested.
The Shahekou District Court held my hearing on September 14, 2009. They did not notify my family or attorney, nor did they notify me three days in advance as per legal requirements.
After the hearing, judge Li Bianjiang approached me and asked about my injured ankle. I replied, “Honorable Judge Li, please position yourself correctly on the issue of Falun Gong.”
“I have read your articles, which were included as evidence. You are quite talented. However, you should not go against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP),” the judge replied.
“As a judge,” I replied, “the focus should be the legal issue, not who is against who.”
In China, the authorities and their thugs tend to use the claim of “being against the Party” to frame their opponents and attack them politically.
The Shahekou District Court sentenced me to seven years in prison on November 27, 2009. I went on a hunger strike in protest of the illegal sentence. The detention center force-fed me and handcuffed me with my arms behind my back for over 30 hours.
I found out later that my two attorneys from Beijing, attorney Lan and attorney Zhang, had come to Dalian six times to visit me. The Dalian Detention Center refused to allow them to see me, but during their sixth visit, they were told that the Dalian Intermediate Court needed them to get my perspective on whether to appeal. That was my only attorney visit during my seven years in prison.
Tortured in Prison
I was taken to Liaonan New Prison on April 2, 2010. I refused to wear the prisoner uniform. The inmates beat me, pulled off my clothes and put the prisoner uniform on me.
I was then taken to the Shenyang Number One Prison, Liaoning Province on April 22, 2010. Within less than two weeks, several inmates beat me viciously twice. I reported the beatings to the guard on duty, Zhang Xiaoyun. Zhang said indifferently, “Are you injured? If so, go to the hospital and have them check the injury.”
Inmates beat me again on October 11 in the evening and the next morning.
Guards Chang Hong and Liu Shuang put me in the strictly managed center. I was only given corn porridge as food for two weeks.
I refused to wear the identification card that indicated that I was a criminal. The head of the 18th District Li Shiguang deprived me of my shopping rights for nine months. I was thus left without toilet paper, washing powder, soup, toothpaste, and a toothbrush. For a long time, I had to pick up the empty toothpaste tubes that people threw away, to squeeze out the last remnants.
The prison moved me from the 18th District to the 2nd District on June 1, 2011, after Falun Gong practitioner Hou Yanshuang from the 2nd District died, to balance the Falun Gong prisoner distribution.
Deputy manager Chen Dong of the 2nd District claimed that he was in charge of me. He thought of some ways for me to perform “symbolic labor,” such as doing bookkeeping. But I turned this down.
He yelled at me, “In prison, guards and inmates need to work. Why don't you have to do your share?”
“Policemen work to fulfill their job requirements,” I said. “Inmates work to meet the requirements of reform by labor. I am neither a policeman nor an inmate. So I have no responsibility to perform labor.”
Chen locked me inside the cafeteria and prevented me from getting in touch with anyone. He also had an inmate monitor me.
The prison started a campaign “to eradicate the belief of Falun Gong” in February 2012. Warden Wang Bin and Deputy Warden Liu Shigang led the campaign. They gave practitioners two options: “Die or get 'transformed'.” The main method was sleep deprivation and restriction of food and water.
I was deprived of sleep for 13 days from May 8 to May 21, 2012. I was diagnosed with pleurisy and fluid buildup near my second rib.
When my wife visited me on June 2012, she saw that I needed to be carried by others. She asked the guards what had happened. Chen Dong answered, “This is like a mother punishing her son.”
Chen once told me, “You should keep your word. You have already agreed to 'transform', so you should do it. Why do you not honor your commitment?”
After I refused to respond to his survey of “transformed” practitioners, Chen said, “If you don't respond, we will not release you, even after your term is up. We will imprison you for 20 years.”
Another day, Chen had an iron chair brought in to torture me. An inmate said to me, after Chen left, “When the CCP does this to people like you, it's just a sign of their incompetence.”
I was later taken to Tieling Prison, which has a facility to quarantine tuberculosis patients.
Brought Back for Torture
Shenyang Number One Prison sent a few people to Tieling Prison in March 2013 to see if I had been “transformed.” I told them that I would hold firm to my belief and condemned their practice of forced “transformation.”
I wrote a letter to the Tieling Prison to expose the torture I suffered at Shenyang Number One Prison. Shenyang Number One Prison took me back on June 25, 2013. I was put into the 19th District and tortured with the Tiger Bench for three days.
I was only given corn porridge for 15 days. I had chest and back pain, so I went to the clinic for a check up. The x-ray showed that I had symptoms of pleurisy and tuberculosis.
I was placed under intense watch for two months until August 23. It was summer, but I was not allowed to take a shower, wash my clothes, wash my face, hands, feet, or use toilet paper. I was forced to sit on a wooden stool from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. every day. I was not allowed to go to the bathroom at night.
I returned to the 2nd District after my pleurisy symptoms were gone on January 23, 2013.
I stayed in the hospital on April 16, 2013, for my ankle injury. I was checked by the First Hospital and the Fourth Hospital Affiliated with the China Medical University, and Shenyang Orthopedic Hospital. Their diagnosis was postoperative inflammation of the bones.
Released, but Monitored
July 3, 2016, was the end of my prison term. A guard in charge of Falun Gong practitioners walked me out. He said, “Don't do it again. Haven't you seen during all these years that you have only your family members to rely upon at critical times?”
I understood what he implied. I replied, “If it were not for the consistent efforts by the Falun Gong practitioners and people overseas, our situation here would be many times more miserable!”
He was silent.
Actually, if there was no consistent attention and appeals, I might not have survived at all.
The prison did not release me at first, claiming that they were waiting for the local government's orders. They did not release me until several people from my street residential committee showed up.
In order to monitor me, the street residential committee and local police station installed a camera in my home and another one on the roof of the building facing my balcony. The front one was pointed at my door and the back one faced our two bedrooms. They were both infrared cameras.
Witness to Murder
The following are death cases of Falun Gong practitioners that I have direct or secondhand knowledge of:
1. Practitioner Feng Gang from Dalian died under suspicious circumstances.2. Practitioner Hou Yanshuang from Lingyuan died in Shenyang Number One Prison.3. Practitioner Peng Geng from Liaoning Provincial Police Department died during a hunger strike or from tuberculosis in Tieling Prison.4. Practitioner Li Shangshi from Panjin died in Shenyang Number One Prison.5. Practitioner Liu Zhanhai from Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province died in Shenyang Number One Prison.6. Practitioner Guo Chunzhan from Huludao died of organ failure after being released from Shenyang Number One Prison.7. Practitioner Hu Guojian from Fushun died in Benxi Prison, Liaoning Province.
My wife was arrested twice when I was in prison. She was held for 5 days at a detention center. Then she was taken to the Fushun Brainwashing Center for 30 days.
I went to the Dalian Entry and Exit Admission Bureau to apply for a passport for business reasons in April 2017. I was told that police officer Guo blocked me from getting a passport.
When I rode the high-speed train recently, police officers waited for me at my seat. They took a picture of me and searched my bag.
Mr. Wang Yonghang, a Falun Gong practitioner, was an attorney at the Qianjun Law Office in Liaoning Province. He has counseled, represented and defended several Falun Gong practitioners since 2007.
He published seven articles on the Epoch Times website (in Chinese), including an open letter addressed to the highest judicial office in China. In his open letter, entitled “Mistakes Made in the Past Demand That Corrections Be Made Quickly Today,” Mr. Wang pointed out that the CCP authorities control both the legislative and judicial systems without checks and balances, and use them to persecute Falun Gong practitioners under the guise of legality.
As a result of his letters, and under great pressure from the authorities, the law firm where he worked terminated his employment. His attorney certification was confiscated and withheld by the authorities.
He was arrested in July 2009 and sentenced to seven years in prison. His case was included in the United Nations 2010 Special Rapporteur report on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.