Well-Respected Property Manager Twice Sentenced to Forced Labour for His Belief in Falun Gong

A well-respected property manager, Mr. Li Zhongwei, from Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province, has been twice sentenced to forced labour for his belief in Falun Gong. Mr. Li needed medical treatment several times as a result of the brutal torture he suffered in the labour camps.

Since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) banned Falun Gong in 1999, tens of thousands of upstanding citizens like Mr. Li have been persecuted solely for their belief.

Local Villagers: “We need Mr. Li back!”

After Mr. Li was assigned as the property manager of Guanjing Village in June 2003, he quickly solved many of the town's practical problems with his resourcefulness and high moral character. This brought many needed improvements to the old community and the once dirty and disorderly town took on a new look. Mr. Li thus won high praise from the property owners and recognition from the local Residential Committee.

The residents of Guanjing Village were outraged when Mr. Li was arrested in June 2006. Many members of the community tried in earnest for several days to come up with a way to obtain his release.

During an investigation of his case, the director of Guanjing Village Community Residential Committee told the police, “Mr. Li Zhongwei is known for being the best property manager here. He is diligent and responsible and the best manager we have ever had. We need him back!”

However, all of their efforts were in vain, as Mr. Li was sentenced to one and a half years of forced labour. Six months after his sentencing, a few residents were selected to represent the community and they travelled thousands of miles to the Fangqiang Forced Labour Camp to visit him.

Most Recent Arrest and Sentence

Mr. Li was taken from his office to the Nanmen Police Station on the morning of June 12th, 2006. Director Liu Jianhua of the Canglang District Domestic Security Division and deputy director Dong Bin of the Nanmen Police Station ransacked his home immediately after the arrest.

Mr. Li firmly refused to cooperate when being interrogated by director Wang Huimin of the Nanmen Police Station. He said, “I am a good person and I have not broken any laws. I have nothing to tell you.”

Later that night, deputy director Dong Bin beat him. Dong pushed him against a wall, grabbed his throat, put his right knee against Mr. Li's abdomen while violently punching him in the chest. Officer Dai Guocheng then interrogated and tortured him throughout the night.

Mr. Li was taken to the Fangqiang Forced Labour Camp after being sentenced to one and a half years of forced labour. There, he was subjected to various torture methods by the guards in an attempt to force him to write the “five statements" to renounce his belief.

The list of tortures he endured included sleep deprivation, and being forced to sit on a small stool or stand facing a wall for long periods of time. He was also monitored at all times. Mr. Li was subjected to brainwashing and forced to watch videos that slandered Falun Gong.

Because of his deteriorating health, he was often taken to the camp clinic. Once, he was rushed to the Yancheng Hospital for emergency care. Shortly after being discharged from the hospital, he was beaten in public by several guards for refusing to go through a procedural physical check-up. He suffered heavy blows to the head and was dragged to the front of a line.

Tang Guofang, a high-ranking official of the provincial Re-education Through Labor Bureau whose duty was supposedly supervise and inspect the operations of the forced labour camp, witnessed the violence inflicted on Mr. Li but remained silent.

Only when another Falun Gong practitioner, Mr. Sun Zhengsheng, protested and also refused to go through the check-up, did Tang give the order to take Mr. Li to the back of the line, where he was again beaten. Mr. Li experienced dizziness later that day and went on a hunger strike to protest the mistreatment.

Mr. Li was extremely weak, grey haired, and blurry-eyed at the time of his release.

Previous Arrest and Sentence

Mr. Li received his associate degree from the Nanjing Machinery School in 1981 and worked for the Sufang Group. He lives in the Canglang District of Suzhou City.

He was frequently hospitalized for Hepatitis B between the years of 1994 and 1996. Mr. Li was overjoyed to find that his liver disease disappeared after he began to practise Falun Gong in April 1997. His moral character also improved by following the principles of the practice: Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.

Since the CCP launched the persecution in 1999, Mr. Li often clarified the facts about Falun Gong to others using his own story as an example. He exposed the CCP's lies and slander of the practice.

He was arrested for distributing materials exposing the persecution of Falun Gong and his home was ransacked early in the morning one day in late November 2000. Shan Chenyi of the local 610 Office (an organisation of special agents just for persecuting Falun Gong), chief Yie Chengliang of the Canglang District Police Station Political Section, director Chen Hailing of the Fuqian Police Station, and other police officers participated in this arrest.

Director Liu Baosheng and officers Liu Jianhua and Wu beat him at the Canglang District Police Station. Later, he was transferred to Suzhou City No. 1 Detention Centre, where he was held for a month before he was sentenced to three years of forced labour.

At the Fangqiang Forced Labour Camp, Mr. Li endured hard labor for long periods of time. He was given the heaviest workload, yet very little food. The guards and inmates assigned to monitor him often verbally abused him.

Because he refused to “transform,” [forcibly renounce Falun Gong] instructor Li Xiaoxiang of the No. 4 Squadron struck him on the head with an electric baton. Later, he was sent to the No. 2 Squadron where he was tortured and put through brainwashing.

His complexion was unhealthy and he looked exhausted after just a few months at the camp. When his wife and son went to visit they hardly recognized him.

During his term at the forced labour camp, Mr. Li's blood was drawn twice for no apparent reason, once in November 2001, and once in November 2002. He later learned about the regime's crime of harvesting organs from Falun Gong practitioners, and suspects this to have been the reason.

He was released in April 2003 when his term ended.

Family Suffered over the Years

Mr. Li endured both physical and mental hardship for a total of four and a half years of forced labour. His family suffered a great deal as a result.

Mr. Li's elderly father passed away a year after his release in February 2004. His mother passed away while he was serving his second term.

Mr. Li's wife shouldered a tremendous amount of mental and financial pressure. With her husband incarcerated and herself laid off, she had the sole responsibility of taking care of their young child.

The police harassed their son at his elementary school when he was only in the third grade. The son was then teased and bullied by the other students. Four days before his child's middle school entrance examination, Mr. Li was arrested again.

Those who knew Mr. Li showed their support, including his family members. His siblings travelled long distances to visit him multiple times over the years.

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