Furious, the police officials threatened to put out an arrest warrant for Zhang in Shanghai and have her sent to the 'brainwashing' class (forced 're-educations' sessions designed to break a person from their belief in Falun Gong through sleep deprivation as well as physical and psychological torture). Zhang's daughter tried to dissuade the police, explaining that in her mother's 70 years she had already suffered a great deal. She had suffered through the Great Cultural Revolution, losing her husband and son. Now, her practise of Falun Gong was finally bringing her some peace. The police officials were unmoved, and launched a search for Zhang.
To avoid almost certain detention and torture, Zhang returned from Shanghai. Over the subsequent days, police officials performed multiple searches of her daughter's home. Deciding that her presence was a danger to her family, Zhang, like thousands of Falun Gong practitioners before her, left her home and took to the streets. For over a month, she was able to avoid capture, but soon this hunted lifestyle proved too much for this 70-year-old woman, and she died on November 13, 2001.
In a separate case, Ms. Li Jun, also a Falun Gong practitioner from Hefei City died as a result of persecution by Chinese police, according to local sources familiar with her case.
Labour camp officials have denied any knowledge of Li Jun's death. Officials at Hefei's East City Public Security Bureau branch and Hefei's Political and Judiciary Committee, however, have respectively confirmed the deaths of both Zhang and Li, but refused to reveal any details about the causes of the deaths.
Li Jun was the sister of Li Mei, a 33-year old female Falun Gong practitioner who was tortured for four months until her death on February 1, 2001 in the Anhui Woman's Labor Camp. According to an AFP report in February, "Family members who were allowed to see Li's body said her face was covered with bruises, while there were traces of blood from her nose, mouth and ears and gauze bandages were wrapped around her neck, claimed the [Hong Kong Human Rights] centre."
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