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Crimes of Zhang Yi, Former Director General of the Jilin Department of Justice, in Persecuting Falun Gong

Aug. 17, 2023 |   By a Minghui correspondent

(Minghui.org) July 20, 2023, marks the 24th year since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began to suppress Falun Gong. Falun Gong practitioners in 44 countries submitted another list of perpetrators to their respective governments, urging them to hold these individuals accountable for the persecution of Falun Gong in China. The practitioners asked their governments to bar the perpetrators and their family members from entry and to freeze their overseas assets.

Among the perpetrators listed was Zhang Yi, the former director general of the Jilin Department of Justice, the current secretary of the Party leadership group, the chief prosecutor of the Hainan Provincial Procuratorate, and the deputy secretary of the Hainan Provincial Political and Legal Affairs Committee.

Perpetrator Information

Full Name of Perpetrator: Zhang (last name) Yi (first name) (张毅)Gender: MaleCountry: Yongcheng City, Henan Province, ChinaDate/year of Birth: April 1967

Zhang Yi

Title and Position

April 2002 – October 2004: director of the International Division and director of the Exchange Division of the Judicial Assistance and Foreign Affairs Department of the Ministry of JusticeOctober 2004 – September 2007: director of the Laws and Regulations Division, Legal Affairs Department, Ministry of JusticeSeptember 2007 – March 2009: deputy director of the Department of Legal Affairs, Ministry of JusticeMarch 2009 – January 2013: director of the Judicial Assistance Exchange Center of the Ministry of JusticeJanuary 2013 – August 2016: executive deputy secretary of the Party Committee and secretary of the Disciplinary Committee of the Ministry of JusticeAugust 2016 – January 2021: secretary of the Party Committee and director general of the Jilin Provincial Department of Justice; first political commissar of the Jilin Provincial Prison AdministrationJanuary 2021 – Present: secretary of the Party Leadership Group and chief prosecutor of the Hainan Provincial Procuratorate; deputy secretary of Hainan Provincial Political and Legal Affairs Committee

Major Crimes

Jilin Province is one of the provinces where the persecution of Falun Gong is the most severe.

According to statistics from Minghui, in 2016, at least 109 prisons in China were confirmed to have used violence and torture in their efforts to forcibly “transform” Falun Gong practitioners. Five of the prisons where practitioners were treated the worst are in Jilin Province: Jilin No. 2 Prison (Jilin Prison), Jilin Women’s Prison, Siping Prison, Gongzhuling Prison, and Tiebei Prison.

During Zhang Yi’s tenure as director general and Party committee secretary of the Jilin Province’s Ministry of Justice from August 2016 to December 2020, he actively implemented the CCP’s persecution policy targeting Falun Gong. At least seven practitioners, including Liu Shuyan, Huo Runzhi, Yang Baosen, Xu Jing, Liu Jianying, Xiao Yongfen, and Zhang Ziyou, were persecuted to death in prison. Numerous practitioners were persecuted to the point of disability and injury.

After Zhang took office as the chief prosecutor of the Hainan Province Procuratorate and deputy secretary of the Hainan Political and Legal Affairs Committee, he continued to participate in the persecution. In 2022, the Hainan Province Procuratorate issued a notice entitled “Notice on Effectively Preventing the Infiltration and Destruction of Cults,” ordering the local procuratorates to report all Falun Gong cases to the provincial procuratorate to make sure no leniency is shown to any practitioners.

Persecution in the Prisons in Jilin

Jilin Women’s Prison

Under the control of the Central 610 Office and the Jilin Province 610 Office, the Jilin Women’s Prison has been a main force in the brainwashing of practitioners incarcerated in the province. In the isolated prison environment, the guards manipulate inmates to carry out some of the most insidious and despicable methods of torture on the practitioners.

For example, they put practitioners who were menstruating on a torture bed and tied them up in five different directions using the “dragged by five horses” method (see image below). Other tortures include hanging, beating, cold water dousing, and shocking with electric batons, among many other insidious methods that have caused death, disability, mental disorders, and severe injury.

Torture illustration: “Five horses dividing the body”

Jilin Women’s Prison has been recognized by the Jilin Province’s Ministry of Justice and province-level CCP officials as a role model for its unscrupulous and cruel tactics in the persecution.

Beginning in May 2018, Jilin Women’s Prison carried out the “100-Day Intensive Campaign,” aiming to “transform” the practitioners. The guards held the practitioners in the “strict management” units and denied them communication with their families. The practitioners were not allowed to buy food and were only allowed to spend 20 yuan a month on daily necessities. From 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., they would be forced to sit on small stools with uneven surfaces.

Jilin Prison

Jilin Prison employed a wide range of torture methods on Falun Gong practitioners. These included forcing practitioners to sit on a hard board for long periods of time, beatings, electric shocks, solitary confinement, stretching in strenuous positions for extended periods of time, stabbing with needles, gagging with soiled rags, burning with boiling water, pinching the eyeballs and testicles, force-feeding, and sleep deprivation.

The guards specialize in torturing practitioners with lengthy terms, especially those who refuse to give up their beliefs. After the practitioners became injured or disabled in custody, they were taken to the prison hospital for further abuse instead of proper treatment. Many were forcibly injected with unknown drugs that led to ascites (a condition in which fluids collect in the abdomen). Practitioners with the condition looked like they were seven or eight months pregnant, but it was accompanied by a drop in body weight and general weakness. Others developed tuberculosis and rotten lungs.

Gongzhuling Prison

There were many cells in Gongzhuling Prison for practitioners, including a special solitary cell dedicated to torturing those who refused to renounce their belief.

The floor of this confinement room is about one meter lower than the floors outside the cell. The interior is extremely dark and humid, and the temperatures inside drop to unbearably low temperatures in the winter. The windows are covered with black curtains while the walls and floors are soundproofed so that people outside cannot hear what is going on inside.

Inside the room, there are death beds with wrist and ankle cuffs to stretch practitioners in a spread-eagle position. Practitioners who refuse “transformation” are restrained on these death beds and stretched until they are unable to move. If they still refuse to renounce their belief, they are shocked with several electric batons at once. Their mouths are sealed with tape so that passersby will not hear their screams.

Other torture methods used at Gongzhuling include electric shocks, beating, sleep deprivation, solitary confinement, and long hours of forced labor.

Selected Cases of Death in Jilin

1. Mr. Yang Baosen Released in Critical Condition After Serving Ten Years, Dies One Month Later

Mr. Yang Baosen from Songyuan City, Jilin Province, was sentenced to 10 years in prison. After enduring nearly nine years of torture in Gongzhuling Prison, he was taken to the hospital for emergency care on February 27, 2018.

A CT scan of his chest on March 3 showed that he had a severe lung infection. Fluid was accumulating in the holes in his lungs. He was unable to eat and had to have liquid nutrition injected intravenously.

The authorities initially scheduled him for release on medical parole on March 5, but he wasn't allowed to be picked up to go home until March 7. He was unable to walk and had trouble talking when he was released. Despite his condition, the authorities kept coming to harass him. He passed away at 3 a.m. on April 7. He was 61.

2. Ms. Liu Shuyan Tortured to Death in Jilin Women’s Prison

Ms. Liu Shuyan of Yushu City was arrested on November 26, 2015, and later sentenced to three years. She went on a hunger strike for 12 days after being taken to the Jilin Women’s Prison on July 7, 2016, and was force-fed.

As a result of prolonged torture, she was rushed to the hospital for emergency care on April 20, 2017. When her family saw her, she was unconscious, her pulse was weak, and she had difficulty breathing. She was released on medical parole later that day and passed away the next day. She was 61.

3. Mr. Zhang Ziyou Tortured to Death in Gongzhuling Prison

Mr. Zhang Ziyou of Changchun City was arrested on April 14, 2017. He was sentenced to six years by the High-tech Industrial Development Zone Court on November 1, 2017, and taken to Gongzhuling Prison on November 22. There, he suffered a stroke and was found to have diabetes. He couldn’t take care of himself or even walk on his own. His family applied for medical parole for him, but the prison repeatedly rejected their applications, openly admitting that it was simply because Mr. Zhang didn’t give up practicing Falun Gong.

After being imprisoned for three years and ten days, Mr. Zhang passed away in the prison on December 13, 2020. He was 68.

4. Ms. Huo Runzhi Dies Less Than Two Months After Being Released on Medical Parole

Ms. Huo Runzhi was incoherent and covered in bruises when she was driven home in a prison ambulance. She screamed in pain every day and passed away less than two months later.

The Nong’an County resident was arrested in March 2016 for refusing to renounce Falun Gong. She was sentenced to three years in Jilin Province Women’s Prison, where she was subjected to various forms of physical and mental abuse. She was beaten so badly that she sustained injuries all over her body, and all her teeth loosened. She also developed high blood pressure and was later diagnosed with colon cancer.

The prison did not inform Ms. Huo’s family of her colon cancer diagnosis until late April 2017. Ms. Huo’s son visited her in prison several weeks later and was asked to file a medical parole request on his mother’s behalf. A guard told him that they didn’t want to see his mother die in prison.

The parole request came with a condition, however: Ms. Huo had to sign statements promising to renounce Falun Gong. When she refused to give her signature, the guards grabbed her hand and forcibly scribbled her name on the document.

Ms. Huo was driven home on August 16 and died on November 14. She was 72.

5. Ms. Liu Jianying Denied Parole Despite Critical Condition, Dies One Month Later

Ms. Liu Jianying of Dehui City was arrested on July 15, 2018, for talking to people about Falun Gong and sentenced to 2.5 years in Jilin Province Women’s Prison in March 2019 by the Dehui City Court.

She was force-fed in the prison when she protested the persecution. She also had difficulty keeping food down and her weight kept dropping. She became so weak that she was unable to walk to the visitors’ room to see her family. The prison gave her family special permission to enter her cell to visit her in November 2019, on the condition that they make an effort to try to persuade her to give up Falun Gong. When her family noticed that she had lost two front teeth, a guard said it was because she couldn’t keep her balance and fell.

Ms. Liu’s family applied for medical parole for her shortly after the visit. The prison authorities denied the request, even after she was given a critical condition notice.

Ms. Liu passed away in the prison on December 30, 2019, at the age of 57. The authorities had her body cremated the next day against her family’s wishes and without conducting an autopsy.