Ms. Chen Ruiqin was arrested on May 16, 2014, for distributing materials exposing the Chinese communist regime’s persecution of Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline based on the principle of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. She was sentenced to 4.5 years in 2015 and moved to Tianjin Women’s Prison, where she was subjected to various forms of abuse.
Her health kept declining, and the 44-year-old resident of Tianjin died on February 10, 2017. Her family wasn't notified until days after her death. They stayed at the prison for four days but were never allowed to view her body. They were pressured to sign a waiver of liability and to agree to have her body cremated without an autopsy. They returned home with her ashes and have since lived in sorrow and fear.
According to insiders, Ms. Chen was not only tortured but also sexually abused in prison. She was also forced to drink urine and eat faeces.
The guards moved Ms. Chen to solitary confinement in late December 2016. Three inmates were assigned to watch her around the clock.
The abuse of Ms. Chen mostly took place inside solitary confinement. From time to time, some people were able to get a glimpse of her ordeal.
Ms. Chen became critically ill several times during solitary confinement. People often heard sounds of beatings coming out of the solitary cell. Du Yan, the guard team captain, kept reminding the three inmates to keep quiet as they beat Ms. Chen.
One day in January 2017, someone saw inmate Gu Ping, a convicted drug dealer, put Ms. Chen in a choke hold.
Around 10 p.m. on February 10, 2017, people heard a commotion from solitary confinement. Several guards and captains rushed over. Gao Wenyuan, who was the head of division 5, came back to prison after having already left for the day.
Ms. Chen was nowhere to be seen the following day. The guards claimed that she was being hospitalized. She never returned to the prison, and it was later confirmed that she died on February 10, 2017.
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