A Bozhou City resident spent the last two weeks of his life in a hospital ICU with shackles on his feet and police standing guard nearby. His family was only allowed to take a peek of him from outside the glass window. After he took his last breath, the authorities moved quickly to cremate his body without his family’s consent.
Mr. Bai Jie’s death came about 10 months after he was admitted to Suzhou Prison to serve 10 years for refusing to renounce Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime.
The 55-year-old man was last arrested on September 22, 2013. The police abused him so much that he had a stroke two days into his arrest. He barely survived but was still detained for more than one month before being released on bail.
Even though he was unfit to stand trial, the authorities twice had him carried into the courtroom on a gurney to face charges, in December 2015 and early 2016, respectively. He was sentenced to prison on April 11, 2016, shortly after he was taken back into custody.
Mr. Bai was transferred to prison on June 18, 2016. He had a second stroke and went into a coma on March 31, 2017, but he wasn’t sent to the hospital until 12 hours later. He died on April 14, 2017.
Below is a review of the persecution that Mr. Bai experienced over the years for upholding his faith in Falun Gong.
Repeated Arrests and Job Termination in Earlier Years
Mr. Bai was repeatedly targeted since the persecution of Falun Gong began in 1999.
He was first arrested at work in March 2001 and sent to a brainwashing centre. The police came at him again in June 2002 and detained him for one month. The local detention centre guards ordered inmates to beat him so severely that he suffered severe internal injuries.
His employer, Bozhou City Industrial and Commercial Bank, forced him to take a buyout package in September 2002.
Mr. Bai was home one day in January 2003 when police suddenly broke in. He hid in a room and locked the door. Several of his relatives came to his rescue and thwarted the police's attempt to arrest him.
He was passing out Falun Gong materials outside a local school on September 17, 2004 when the school security officer hit him on the forehead with a handcuff. A few officers who happened to pass by immediately took him into custody, without treating the long gash above his left eyebrow. He suffered more beatings once taken to the local detention centre. The guards force-fed him after he went on a hunger strike to protest the illegal detention and brutal beatings.
The police tried to give him a two-year education through forced labour after detaining him for four months. The local labour camp declined to admit him, citing his unusually high blood pressure. The police extorted 10,000 yuan from Mr. Bai before releasing him.
First Stroke after Latest Arrest in 2013
Mr. Bai was deceived into opening the door for police on September 22, 2013. He later learned that he was one of 14 local Falun Gong practitioners arrested over a three-day period.
The police interrogated him for two straight days, during which time they restrained him to a chair without allowing him to sleep or use the restroom. They also tried to drug him but failed after he noticed something usual with the drink given to him.
By the end of the marathon interrogation, Mr. Bai’s blood pressure shot up to dangerously high levels and he lost consciousness.
He was unable to talk after he came out of the coma. Still, the police tried three times, unsuccessfully, to get him admitted to the local detention centre.
Detention Centre Pressured to Admit Mr. Bai
The police then pressured Mayor Gao, who issued a statement saying that “the detention centre will not be held responsible should anything happen to Bai Jie.” One officer said to him, “If you have to die, you must die in the detention centre!”
The detention centre admitted Mr. Bai with the mayor’s note.
Mr. Bai’s family appealed to various departments and got him released on bail about one month later. The police, though, still kept harassing him at home.
Unfit to Stand Trial, but Forced to Appear in Court on a Gurney
The first court date for Mr. Bai and the other 13 arrested practitioners was March 30, 2015. He didn’t go, though, as he had trouble with his speech and one side of his body was paralysed.
The authorities then had him carried into the courtroom on a gurney on December 8, 2015 to face trial. His family presented his medical records to show that he was unfit to stand trial, but judge Che Haisan didn’t trust the authenticity of the document.
Che ordered that Mr. Bai be examined by a court-designated physician, but the checkup didn’t materialize after Mr. Bai’s family refused to cover the cost.
Che then threatened to hold another hearing at Mr. Bai’s home, but he relented upon the family’s protest.
Mr. Bai was resting at home alone one day in early 2016 when several officers pried the door open and took him back into custody. It took his family much effort to find out that he had been sent to the local detention centre.
Che scheduled another court date soon afterwards. Again, Mr. Bai was carried into the courtroom on a gurney.
Heavy Sentence and Fatal Stroke
Mr. Bai and the other 13 practitioners were sentenced 3-10 years in prison on April 11, 2016. He was transferred to Suzhou City Prison on June 18, 2016 to serve a 10-year term.
The prison called Mr. Bai’s family on April 1, 2017, informing them that he had just been rushed to the local hospital that morning after exhibiting stroke symptoms the night before.
Mr. Bai’s family asked why he wasn’t given medical attention right away, but they got no answer.
The ICU room Mr. Bai was kept in was tightly guarded. His family saw from outside the window that he was just skin and bones. The police didn’t remove his shackles until he died on April 14.
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