Seventeen years after a 32-year-old doctor died shortly after he was released in critical condition, more details have emerged about the torture he suffered in custody for upholding his faith in Falun Gong.
The Chinese communist regime has been persecuting Falun Gong, an ancient spiritual and meditation discipline, since July 1999. During the past 21 years, many Falun Gong practitioners have been subjected to brutal torture while in custody. As of July 29, 2020, a total of 4,545 practitioners were confirmed to have died as a result of the persecution. But due to the strict information censorship in China, the actual number of practitioners persecuted to death is believed to be much higher.
Mr. Li Huiwen, a doctor in Yangquan City, Shanxi Province, took up Falun Gong in 1996. Because of upholding his faith, he was given two terms of forced labor at the Xindian Forced Labor Camp.
During Mr. Li’s first term (length unknown), he served time in the No.1 ward in the labor camp. Most of the detainees in the ward were drug addicts, with a few Falun Gong practitioners.
In July 2001, detainees of the No.1 ward were ordered to excavate a small hill on the south side of the labor camp to build a track. All of the Falun Gong practitioners were assigned to push wheelbarrows loaded with soil and rocks. Mr. Li was often chased and beaten by a detainee with a pickax in hand.
On the last day of Mr. Li’s term, the 610 Office, an extralegal agency created specifically to persecute Falun Gong, sent him to a brainwashing center, because he refused to renounce Falun Gong.
Because Mr. Li resisted the persecution and smashed the propaganda boards demonizing Falun Gong in the brainwashing center, he was given another labor camp term and sent back to the Xindian Forced Labor Camp.
The labor camp once had a “religious expert” come in to give a talk to smear Falun Gong. Mr. Li and several other practitioners stopped that person from talking. In retaliation, a guard surnamed Xu shocked him with electric batons.
The labor camp launched a new campaign in the summer of 2002 to try to force Falun Gong practitioners to renounce their faith. Mr. Li was transferred to the strict management team, and he held a hunger strike to protest the persecution.
A detainee who once monitored Mr. Li later revealed that Mr. Li fell into a coma after undergoing a prolonged hunger strike. It’s not clear whether he suffered other forms of torture at the same time.
The labor camp released him on February 26, 2003. Mr. Li never woke up after he was sent back home and died shortly after.
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