After having lost his wife, daughter, and daughter-in-law to the persecution of Falun Gong, a nearly 90-year-old man was dealt a heavy blow when his son, Mr. Wan Yunlong, passed away on May 20, 2020, after suffering decades of imprisonment and torture for refusing to give up his faith in Falun Gong.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is an ancient spiritual discipline based on the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. It has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since July 1999 due to its immense popularity. Hundreds of thousands of practitioners have since been harassed, arrested, imprisoned, and tortured for upholding their faith.
Because he practised Falun Gong, Mr. Wan of Shuangcheng City, Heilongjiang Province, was repeatedly arrested and sent to forced labour camps three times for a total of seven years. After being released in critical condition following his arrest in 2016, he moved from place to place to hide from the police. His health deteriorated over the years and he was reduced to skin and bones in his final days.
Mr. Wan’s wife, Ms. Wang Liqun, died in custody only hours after being arrested in 2006. His sister, Ms. Wan Yunfeng, who was arrested in November 2011 and tortured in Qianjin Forced Labour Camp, passed away in 2016, four months after Mr. Wan and her son Mr. Gong Zun were arrested.
Mr. Wan's mother, Ms. Zhang Guiqin, passed away from the mental stress of worrying about her children being persecuted.
Details of Mr. Wan’s ordeal:
Life Renewed after Practising Falun Gong
Once desperately ill with a severe heart condition and a stomach problem that made him unable to keep anything down, Mr. Wan, then 37, was delighted to hear about Falun Gong from a distant relative in 1994. He bought a plane ticket and flew over 2,000 miles to Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province, to attend the last nine-day lecture series held by Mr. Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong, in China.
When Mr. Wan returned home two weeks later, his family was surprised to find him completely healed––his face was glowing, his lips were no longer blue, and he stopped throwing up after eating. He didn’t have tightness in his chest or pain in his stomach. He gained weight and returned to work. People who knew him were amazed at his miraculous recovery.
Two Years in a Labour Camp Beginning in 1999
As soon as the communist regime announced the decision to persecute Falun Gong on July 22, 1999, Mr. Wan and many local practitioners went to the provincial government to appeal for the right to practice their faith.
Because he was a volunteer coordinator, the local authorities singled him out as a key target. He was arrested after returning home from the appeal and held in a detention centre for six months before being put in Yimianpo Forced Labour Camp for two years.
At the quarry-turned-labour-camp, all the inmates and Falun Gong practitioners were ordered to fill the trains with load after load of stones. Each load was over 110 lbs. Before long, the skin and flesh on Mr. Wan’s shoulders was worn away and his bones were exposed. Yet the guards still beat and kicked him if he slowed down.
Not allowed to visit Mr. Wan themselves, his family entrusted a friend to visit him on their behalf. A camp guard said to the friend, “This guy is really tough. We’ve tortured him with everything we’ve got and he still says he will continue to practise Falun Gong.”
On April 29, 2000, two inmates threw two baskets of stones onto Mr. Wan’s back. He collapsed. The guards threatened him that he wasn’t allowed to make a sound or they would beat him. They also said, “It’s not their fault you fell. It’s you who didn’t know how to catch those stones.”
Every day after carrying stones, the guards ordered Mr. Wan to clean the floor and stand facing the wall for hours. With not enough food, he was emaciated and his rib cage was clearly visible.
After two years of hellish abuse, Mr. Wan returned home in May 2001. He resumed practising Falun Gong and gradually recovered his health.
Three Years of Forced Labor Beginning in 2001
Mr. Wan was searched on a train in October 2001. He was arrested again after the security personnel found Falun Gong lectures on him. The 5,000 yuan he had on him was also confiscated.
Because he refused to report his name and address and also held a hunger strike to protest the persecution, guards at Changchun City Forced Labour Camp force fed him with concentrated salt water, beat him, denied him use of the restroom, and tied him in a bed in a spread-eagle position. He became incontinent.
The authorities later gave him three years of forced labour. He was beaten regularly and severely injured. The extreme physical suffering pushed him to his limits, and he almost committed suicide. It was only when he remembered that in Falun Gong’s teachings it’s a serious sin to take one’s own life that he gave up the attempt.
But as he struggled to survive, the guards continued to torture him and force him to do intensive labour. In May 2002, he vomited blood after being ordered to carry a very heavy bag of soil.
In early 2003, Mr. Wan was in critical condition. He had trouble breathing and talking. His heart rate was over 140 times per minute.
When a guard called his family, he ordered them to take Mr. Wan home in two hours and said that the labour camp wasn’t responsible if Mr. Wan died. When his family rushed to the labour camp, the security at the front door said to them, “Don’t try to save him. The one who was released earlier died after his family spent 20,000 yuan for his resuscitation. It was just a waste of money.”
To avoid police harassment, Mr. Wan stayed with a relative. At first, he couldn’t even move and just laid in bed. A few days after listening to Falun Gong’s teachings, he was able to sit against the wall for a few minutes and drink water from a spoon. Weeks later, he got out of bed and did the Falun Gong standing exercises on his own. Then he was able to eat solid food. Three months later, he’d almost recovered.
Wife Died Hours after Arrest, Daughter Intimidated
The police in Shuangcheng City launched a new round of persecution in 2006. Police cars remained outside Mr. Wan's home all day. Unable to return home, he was forced to move from place to place and did odd jobs to support himself.
On September 28, 2006, Mr. Wan’s wife, Ms. Wang Liqun, and their daughter, Ms. Wan Meijia, who happened to be visiting another practitioner, Ms. Jia Junjie, were arrested during a police raid. To try to avoid being arrested, Ms. Jia jumped out of her window on the second floor and was injured.
At Shuangcheng No.2 Detention Centre, the police kept Ms. Wan in a separate room with no windows and interrogated her. They didn’t turn on the lights, just lit four candles in the dark room. They attempted to force her to testify that Ms. Jia didn’t jump herself but that other people had pushed her out of the window. They threatened to charge Ms. Wan with promoting Falun Gong if she didn’t comply.
Meanwhile, the police kept intimidating Ms. Wang and said that her daughter’s future would be destroyed. During her daughter’s four-hour-long interrogation, Ms. Wang was extremely anxious and nervous. When she suddenly passed out, the police insisted on waiting for the prison doctor to arrive before taking her to the hospital. When the prison doctor finally showed up an hour later, he waited another 20 minutes before checking on Ms. Wang and agreeing to send her to the hospital. But it was too late. Ms. Wang died later that day.
The police interrogated her daughter the next day and attempted to force her to sign the prepared account that the police had handled the situation well and that the doctor had arrived soon after Ms. Wang fell unconscious. When Ms. Wan refused to comply, the police held her hands and forced her to press her fingerprints on it. Before releasing her, the police said to her, “We can release you today, and we can also arrest you again.”
The police also pressured Ms. Wang’s family to have her body quickly cremated. At her funeral, four minivans full of police officers were on-site watching her family. One officer stayed with Ms. Wang’s body until it was placed in the incinerator. The officer revealed to an onlooker that she did so to prevent Falun Gong practitioners from taking Ms. Wang’s body away.
According to a witness, Ms. Wang’s face was almost blue and she had injuries on the right side of her neck. One officer involved in the case later revealed that they’d messed up, that if Ms. Jia hadn’t jumped out of the window and Ms. Wang hadn’t died, they would have been rewarded 10,000 yuan.
Mr. Wan’s Third Labour Camp Term
Mr. Wan was arrested again on November 13, 2011. The guards and inmates at Harbin No.1 Detention Center beat him, slashed his head with a shoe, and wouldn’t let him sleep in their attempts to force him to give his name. The police later took him to Suihua Forced Labour Camp for another two years.
When his family visited him, his eyes were bruised and he could barely walk. They later learned that the guards had shocked him with electric batons, hung him up by his wrists, and kicked him.
Months later, he was diagnosed with fluid in his lungs and released on April 25, 2013.
Forced to Live Away from Home
Mr. Wan was taken away from his rental place again in a group arrest on May 6, 2016. His Falun Gong books, computer, and many other personal belongings were confiscated.
The police put a black hood over his head and took him to Shuangcheng District Detention Center. His family was kept in the dark concerning his whereabouts and given the runaround when they went to the police station and detention centre to look for him.
Mr. Wan suffered from heart failure and chest effusion at the detention center and was hospitalized on May 20, 2016. The police still didn’t inform his family of his condition. Only when his lawyer asked to visit him did the head of the police station tell him that Mr. Wan “almost died.”
After Mr. Wan’s family relentless efforts, he was finally released, on the verge of death. Despite his critical condition, he lived away from home to hide from the police, fearing being arrested again.
In the two decades of persecution, Mr. Wan didn’t live one day in peace. After enduring unimaginable physical and mental torment, he passed away on May 20, 2020, at the age of 63.
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