(Minghui.org) Mr. Wang Jian’s family was devastated when a guard at Jidong Prison in Hebei Province called on April 3, 2023, to tell them that Mr. Wang, who was serving a seven-year term for practicing Falun Gong, had died suddenly.
Because Mr. Wang of Tangshan City, Hebei Province, was still in good health when he had a physical exam on March 2, 2023, and he also appeared to be fine and in good spirits when his family visited him on March 19, his family suspects foul play in his death, especially when it seems the prison is withholding information about his condition in his final days.
Between April 3 and 21, Mr. Wang’s children frequented the Tangshan City Procuratorate, the Tangshan City government, the Caofeidian District government, and Jidong Prison to seek additional information. There were several things they found troubling. Below are their findings.
1) A prison guard informed Mr. Wang’s family at 11: 58 a.m. on April 3 that he had fallen into a coma. The guard called again at 12:14 p.m. and told them that Mr. Wang had been picked up by an ambulance. When they reached the Nanbao Development Zone Hospital at 1:05 p.m., Mr. Wang had already been pronounced dead. His head was tilted up, and his eyes and mouth were slightly open.
When the family asked the ER doctor what caused his death, he said he wasn’t sure and that it was impossible for him to determine or speculate on it. He emphasized that when the ambulance got to the prison, Mr. Wang’s pupils were dilated and his heart had stopped beating.
2) At 6:50 p.m., a forensic examiner came. He reported that there were large areas of deep bruises around Mr. Wang’s ears and on his back, as well as some bruises on the back of his right hand. There was a circular mark on his chest and some scratches on his back. When the coroner turned his body over, fluid came out of his left ear.
The prison claimed that Mr. Wang died suddenly of a disease, but without specifying what disease it was. They asked the family to provide proof of low income, as they intended to offer them a financial subsidy of between 8,000 and 10,000 yuan.
To the family, the bruises on Mr. Wang’s head and back seemed unusual and not caused by a normal disease. They asked if they were caused by torture or other mistreatment that the prison was trying to hide.
3) According to the surveillance videos provided by the prison, Mr. Wang came back to his cell from the prison workshop around noon on April 3 and waited to have lunch. A guard called him to his office and talked to him briefly. Then Mr. Wang went to the cafeteria. He fainted and collapsed while getting his lunch.
Mr. Wang’s daughter asked the guard what he said to her father. The guard replied that he’d asked Mr. Wang if he was experiencing some physical discomfort, and if he needed to see a doctor or take some medicine.
In the video, it was the inmates that were involved in trying to resuscitate Mr. Wang in the prison. None of them was wearing white coats at first, but then they put them on at some point. It appeared to the family that the inmates didn’t follow medical procedures and were very careless. The family also questioned the guard as to why he didn’t use the automated external defibrillator for the resuscitation. The guard said they had one, but they just didn’t use it.
4) Prison officials eventually called the ambulance. In the video, it was a female doctor and a female nurse who came to the prison. But when the family went to the hospital, it was a male doctor who came to talk to them and said he was the doctor who’d gone to the prison in the ambulance to pick up Mr. Wang.
5) The family went to the local procuratorate on April 6 and demanded an autopsy of Mr. Wang’s body. The prosecutor told them that he could approve the autopsy, but did they know what that involved? They would cut Mr. Wang’s body open from his neck to his lower abdomen, remove his internal organs and brain, put them in containers, and then send them to the lab for testing. Then they would suture the body closed and return it to the family. After the family heard all that, they withdrew their request for an autopsy.
6) When the prison and the prosecutor failed to provide detailed reports about Mr. Wang’s death two weeks later, the family went to the municipal government on April 17 and 18 to appeal. Less than five minutes after they stood in front of the Tangshan City government, officers came and took them to the Tangshan City Appeals Office.
The family returned to the procuratorate on April 19 and urged them to speed up the investigation. The next day, two officers from the procuratorate went to Mr. Wang’s home and asked his family to sign to agree to his autopsy scheduled for April 22. Details about the autopsy aren’t yet available.
7) Mr. Wang was arrested in July 2019 and sentenced to seven years in November 2020. The authorities took him to Jidong Prison without informing his family. For over two years, he was allowed to make only one call to his family every month. His family wasn’t allowed to visit him during that time.
But at the beginning of March 2023, Mr. Wang called his family and told them that the prison had approved family visits. A few days later, he called again and told his loved ones that they could visit him on March 19. After the visitation on March 19, he called his family for the last time on March 21 and spoke to them briefly. The family didn’t notice anything unusual, but they wondered why the prison suddenly approved his family visit and allowed him to make more calls home.
8) The family insisted that the prison publish information and videos about Mr. Wang’s situation while he was detained, but the prison did not agree. The family then contacted the procuratorate, which claimed that information regarding a provincial prison concerns state secrets and should be kept confidential. They added that publishing the information might jeopardize personal information pertaining to the guards. The family argued that there were many technologies available that could blur the faces of the guards and the information they requested was about their loved one, which had nothing to do with state rights concerning confidentiality.
The family consulted the Tangshan Administration of State Secrets Protection and the National Administration of State Secrets Protection, and both of them said they wouldn’t respond to individual requests and that they only work with government agencies.
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