Name: Zhang Puhe
Occupation: Former employee in the Materials Department at Qindeli Farm
Date of Most Recent Arrest: December 25th, 2002
Most Recent Place of Detention: Jiamusi Prison
Persecution Suffered: Electric shock, forced labour, beatings, imprisonment, torture, fired from workplace, physical restraint, detention
Even though Mr. Zhang Puhe’s prison term has expired, officials at Jiamusi Prison in Heilongjiang Province are still keeping him incarcerated. Mr. Zhang is now in critical condition. When his family filed a complaint against the authorities at the prison with Xiangyang District Court in Jiamusi City, the head judge, Yang Guochen, refused to accept the case. Mr. Zhang’s family then filed a complaint against Yang for his inaction.
Mr. Zhang was fired from his workplace after the persecution of Falun Gong began in 1999. His wife then divorced him because she could not withstand the pressure from the authorities, and was given full custody of their son. In December 2002, Mr. Zhang was arrested again and sentenced to ten years in Jiamusi Prison, where the guards and criminal detainees constantly abused him.
Mr. Zhang’s younger brother, Mr. Zhang Sanjiang, was concerned about his brother’s health and hired two lawyers to defend him. Mr. Zhang Sanjiang then asked the lawyers to accompany him to the prison on May 8th, 2012. Mr. Zhang Sanjiang signed a medical parole agreement with the head of Division Six Liu Xiaoqing. However, Mr. Zhang Puhe was not released to seek medical attention and is still in custody. His family is extremely worried about his safety.
Yang Guochen refuses to accept Mr. Zhang family’s complaint
Mr. Zhang Sanjiang and his lawyers went to Xiangyang District Court on the morning of July 27th, 2012 to submit a complaint against the officials at Jiamusi Prison. The court president, Yang Guochen, accepted the paperwork with great reluctance and promised to respond to their request within one week. However, when Mr. Zhang Sanjiang called Yang on August 6th, he was told that Yang wouldn’t accept the case. Mr. Zhang Sanjiang was infuriated and decided to file a complaint against Yang.
On the morning of August 14th, Mr. Zhang Sanjiang and his two lawyers went to Xiangyang District Court and the Appeal’s Office to submit their complaint letter, yet nobody was there. When they went again in the afternoon, there was still no one around.
Mr. Zhang Sanjiang finally saw Yang at the court the next day. Yang said blatantly: “I am not going to accept your case no matter what! Sue me wherever you want!” Mr. Zhang Sanjiang then went to Xiangyang District People’s Congress Appeal’s Office to file his complaint. As soon as Office Director, Wang Yali, became aware that the case was related to Falun Gong, she said that higher ranking officials have issued orders demanding that no one accepts Falun Gong related cases. Mr. Zhang asked to see evidence, and Wang replied: “That’s classified information. I can’t show you.”
An open letter from Mr. Zhang Sanjiang calling for the urgent release of his brother
The open letter is as follows:
I have always been so proud of my brother Zhang Puhe, who was always healthy, smart, kind and righteous. When I saw him in May, 2012, I was shocked beyond words. I couldn’t believe that the man carried out on the back of a prison detainee was my brother. He had a blank expression and sunken cheeks. He was just skin and bones and extremely slow in responding to people.
After my brother began to practise Falun Gong, his belief in Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance made him a kinder and more considerate person. When his workplace wasn’t doing too well, he opened his own hair salon to earn extra money. His business was booming, and his clients were impressed with his skills and kindheartedness.
My brother used to enjoy a happy family life. However, after the persecution began, he was fired from his workplace, and his wife was removed from her job as well. They had no income and my sister-in-law was pressured into divorcing my brother, who subsequently lost custody of their only child. In order to avoid further harassment and arrest, my brother left home and went from place to place. My nephew hasn’t seen his father for ten years. My heart pains every time I think about this. I have deep admiration for my brother, who never wavers in his belief, despite all the tribulations he has suffered.
My brother was sentenced to two years of forced labour in 1999 for going to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong. He was beaten so badly that he became deaf in his left ear. Officials at the labour camp didn’t release him until he was on the verge of death. On December 25th, 2002, officers from Qianjin Police Department in Jiamusi City arrested him again and subjected him to brutal torture. They then sentenced him to ten years in Jiamusi Prison, where he was met with even more torture. The guards often beat and cursed at him. They also shocked him with electric batons for extended periods of time.
We received a phone call from the prison authorities on February 27th, 2003, telling us to go see my brother, whom they claimed was critically ill. When my father and I went to the prison we were furious to see that my brother had been beaten beyond recognition and lost the ability to take care of himself. He told us that guards Li Tiejun and Zhang Chunbo led a group of inmates to beat him in an attempt to force him to renounce his belief. I knew I had to seek justice for my elder brother. With tears in my eyes, I dialed the number of the Heilongjiang Prison Administration Bureau, yet nobody was willing to listen to my complaint against the prison guards.
My elderly mother was in tears every day, which took a toll on her health. She passed away in 2006 without being able to see her son for a final time. I knew that my mother left this world with regret. My father was so grief stricken after my mother’s death that he had a stroke and became bedridden. I had to take care of him and no longer had time to go to the prison to visit my brother. My father died on July 5th, 2012.
Facing both mental and physical abuse, my brother’s health quickly deteriorated. He had trouble moving around. Despite his limited mobility, the guards still forced him to do hard labour. He was even once thrown down the stairs by an inmate who was unhappy with his slow pace of walking. Fortunately, his fall was broken by the railing, so he didn’t tumble all the way to the bottom of the stairs. However, his health deteriorated even further after this incident. He lost his appetite and became weaker and weaker. He was incontinent and also needed other people to take care of him. In 2008, he completely lost the ability to look after himself and had trouble swallowing. His legs were extremely swollen and bruised. In order not to trouble others, he only ate simple food and stayed in bed all day long.
The prison guards once forced me to say bad words about Falun Gong; otherwise they would refuse to let me see my brother. I learned that local practitioners often visited my brother in prison and brought him money, clothing and other items. I was very moved by their kindness.
My brother is now in critical condition. He still has trouble eating and is incontinent, but the prison authorities refuse to release him. I have hired two lawyers to help draft a complaint against the officials at Jiamusi Prison for their unlawful behaviour.
On May 8th, 2012, I signed a medical parole agreement with the head of Division Six Liu Xiaoqing, yet my brother is still incarcerated. Three months have now passed, and I am extremely worried about him.
Those responsible for the persecution of Mr. Zhang Puhe:
Ye Feng, head of Jiamusi Prison: 86-13351666999
Liu Xiaoqing, head of Division Six at Jiamusi Prison: 86-13846150345
Yang Guochen, president of Xiangyang District Court: 86-454-8788687
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