(Minghui.org) A 41-year-old man serving seven years for his faith in Falun Gong was tortured beyond recognition in prison. Mr. Chen Dicai’s sister filed a complaint against the prison warden with various government agencies. Her persistent efforts paid off. Mr. Chen has reported that the prison guards had stopped beating him and begun to give him enough food to eat.
First Family Visit in 4 Years
Mr. Chen, a resident of Yangxin County, Huangshi City, Hubei Province, was arrested on July 3, 2019 for practicing Falun Gong, a mind-body practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party since July 1999. He was sentenced to seven years with a 30,000-yuan fine on September 22, 2020, and had his appeal rejected months later, on December 4. He was then admitted to the Seventh Ward in the Fanjiatai Prison, one of the ten prisons in the Shayang Prison Group in Shayang County, Jingmen City, Hubei Province.
Mr. Chen’s sister Mei (alias) had repeatedly requested to visit him and was always rejected. She also went to the prison numerous times, only to be turned away. She called the prison’s supervising agency, Shayang Prison Group Administration Bureau, in mid-July 2023 and was finally granted visitation with her brother on July 24, 2023.
Mei and her father traveled four hours to see Mr. Chen in prison on that day. They were saddened to see that he looked haggard with a sallow complexion. His once full head of dark hair now sported just a few strands of yellow hair. His cheekbones protruded and he was beyond recognition.
Mr. Chen said in a weak voice that he had to get up at 5 every morning to do hard labor all day long until around 10 p.m. While other inmates were allowed to sleep after work, he was subjected to various forms of torture because he refused to renounce Falun Gong. The lighter punishment would include standing still until one or two in the morning. The more severe punishment would include savage beatings in the restroom, where there were no surveillance cameras. He lost four molars as a result of the repeated beatings. His whole body also hurt badly.
With less than three hours of sleep every night and only a meager amount of food every day, Mr. Chen, a once heavy-build man who weighed around 190 pounds, soon lost almost half of his body weight. He also felt disoriented while walking due to severe sleep deprivation.
Sister Files Complaint Against Prison Warden
During the visit on July 24, 2023, Mei demanded that the guards monitoring the visitation, as well as the prison’s disciplinary inspection committee, investigate the abuse of her brother.
Two days later, someone claiming to be from the Jingmen City Discipline Inspection Commission in charge of the Fanjiatai Prison called Mei and said they would investigate the case.
Mei called the prison in mid-August 2023 and requested a phone call with her brother. The next day, Mr. Chen was allowed ten minutes of phone conversation with her. He said with a weak voice that he was not doing forced labor that day because he was feeling unwell. Mei became very worried.
She called the prison weeks later and requested another phone call with her brother, but was rejected this time around.
On September 2, 2023, Mei mailed a complaint against prison warden Zhuang Guangling, and a motion to reconsider her brother’s case to the following agencies: the Jingmen City Procuratorate, the Jingmen City Supervisory Committee, the Jingmen City Government, the Shayang Prison Group Management Bureau, Hubei Province Procuratorate, Hubei Provincial Department of Justice, Hubei Provincial Political and Legal Affairs Commission, Hubei Provincial Supervisory Committee, Hubei Provincial Government, Hubei Provincial People’s Congress and Standing Committee, Ministry of Justice, Supreme People’s Procuratorate, General Office of the State Council, National People’s Congress and Standing Committee, and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
At around 5:30 p.m. on September 13, Fan Junru, a member of the Jingmen City Discipline Inspection Commission, director Chen of the Shayang Prison Group Management Bureau, and a man in his early fifties met with Mei at the Huangshigang District Government Service Hall in Huangshi City.
Mei complained to them about the Fanjiatai Prison’s violation of law because it had repeatedly denied her request to visit her brother in his first four years of detention, even though she had all the required paperwork. She requested that they order the prison to show her all the surveillance videos concerning her brother. Fan said the videos were only kept for one month. She then raised three conditions: first was to have the prison stop beating her brother and allow him monthly phone calls with her; second was to provide medical treatment to him as he had developed some hepatitis B symptoms; third was to release him on medical parole.
The meeting ended after about twenty minutes.
The next day the Jingmen City Procuratorate sent a text message to Mei and said that they had forwarded her complaint and motion to the Shayang Region Procuratorate in Jingmen City.
At around 5 p.m. on September 15, chief Li from the Yangxin County Police Department called Mei and asked to meet with her as they investigated her brother’s case. They asked for a copy of her complaint against the prison warden and the motion to reconsider her brother’s case. They said she could send the documents to them via WeChat (a social media platform). She rejected their request because if they were tasked with investigating the case, their supervising agencies should have forwarded her complaint and motion to them.
On September 18, a guard from the Seventh Ward of Fanjiatai Prison called Mei and said they had seized a letter sent to her brother from a Falun Gong practitioner. After verifying the sender’s address, Mei realized it was the letter she had sent to her brother. The letter included her complaint against the prison warden and the motion to reconsider his case. She had intended to keep him in the know of what she had been doing to seek justice for him.
Mei said to the caller: “The letter was from me. I did mention Falun Gong but does that automatically make me a Falun Gong practitioner? Who are you?” The caller refused to reveal his identity.
Mei received a text message from the Shayang Region Procuratorate the next day saying that they had delegated her complaint to its liaison office in the Fanjiatai Prison and that Yuan Jianguo and Mao Yuyi were in charge.
On September 23, Mei received a formal notice in the mail from the liaison office saying they were looking into her complaint.
At around 5 p.m. on September 26, Shi Chuan from the Yangxin County Political and Legal Affairs Committee, chief Li from the Yangxin County Police Department, and director Chen from the Shayang Prison Group Administration Bureau called Mei and asked to meet with her. She agreed this time. They did not show their IDs during the meeting.
Days later Mei mailed a medical parole request to Fan Junru from the Discipline Inspection Commission of Jingmen City, and the Seventh Ward of the Fanjiatai Prison.
On October 1, Mei called Fan and requested that she be allowed to talk to her brother on the phone. Fan called the Seventh Ward, which then had her brother talk to her for ten minutes. Mr. Chen’s voice sounded much better this time and he said he was feeling better, as now he had enough food to eat and faced less beatings.
Mei told him about the complaint against the prison warden and the motion to reconsider the case, as well as the medical parole request. She again encouraged him to stand up for himself and request to call her once every month.
She texted Fan afterwards to thank him for making the call with her brother possible. Fan, however, threatened her to not have any contact with any other Falun Gong practitioners or she’d face consequences.
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