46-year-old Man on Hunger Strike in Prison to Protest Persecution, Now in Serious Condition
(Minghui.org) A Fuzhou City, Fujian Province, resident serving time for his faith in Falun Gong has been force-fed for a year because he has been on a hunger strike to protest being persecuted. Mr. Zhang Jing's condition recently became serious and the authorities didn’t let his family visit him.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is an ancient spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Mr. Zhang, 46, was arrested on April 29, 2018, while distributing Falun Gong informational materials. The police searched him and confiscated his cellphone, Falun Gong materials, and several hundred yuan in cash. They took him to a detention facility in the evening while other officers ransacked his home. Both his desktop and laptop computers were confiscated.
Mr. Zhang held a hunger strike in custody to protest the persecution and was released on the evening of May 5. He was arrested again when he went to the Domestic Security Office and demanded the return of his confiscated items. The Cangshan District Court sentenced him to 5.5 years in Fuqing Prison on December 13, 2018.
Mr. Zhang was transferred to the special ward that held brainwashing sessions in June 2019. He was forced to squat all day and his legs became swollen. To protest the mistreatment, he held a hunger strike.
When Mr. Zhang's parents visited him on September 25, 2019, they learned that his weight had dropped from 155 pounds to about 90 pounds. They wrote to the prison officials requesting that Mr. Zhang be moved out of the special ward, but to no avail.
The prison officials notified his parents on November 7, 2019, that Mr. Zhang had been hospitalized. They also said that Mr. Zhang had asked to see his lawyer. When his parents saw him later that day, he was only skin and bones and could barely speak. They couldn't stop crying at the sight of their son's suffering.
His lawyer traveled from another city to visit him the next day. However, the prison officials reversed their decision and refused to grant a meeting as promised. The lawyer waited for nearly two hours but was still unable to meet with Mr. Zhang.
Mr. Zhang was kept in the prison hospital after that and force-fed for nearly a year.
In September 2020, he was taken back to Fuqing Prison. A guard called his mother in early October and told her that Mr. Zhang wasn’t doing well. The guard told her to write to him and persuade him to eat. He also let her speak to her son. When she asked why he was holding a hunger strike, he remained silent, obviously not wishing to say anything in front of the guard. When she asked the guard to treat him better, the guard said, “We are been very nice to him all along.”
Only a few days later, the guard called Mr. Zhang’s mother on October 10 and said that his life was in danger. The guard said they had taken Mr. Zhang to the hospital for force-feeding. But Mr. Zhang struggled very hard when they tried to insert the feeding tube into his nose. The doctor suggested giving him an anesthetic, but his family would have to give their consent.
Mr. Zhang’s mother rushed to the hospital. The guard didn’t let her see Mr. Zhang but attempted to pressure her into signing the liability waiver for the anesthetics. “He was perfectly healthy before he was sent to prison. Now he has become like this. You should be held responsible for it. I can’t sign the waiver,” she said to them.
One guard revealed that if the doctor could successfully insert the feeding tube, they could take Mr. Zhang back to the prison and force-feed him there. But Ms. Zhang’s mother insisted that he stay in the hospital.
After arguing for two hours, Mr. Zhang’s mother left the hospital without signing the document or seeing her son. The guards were exasperated and said, “We’ve wasted our time by asking you to make the trip. What you did has only harmed him.”