Mr. Zhang Xuewen, 54, Passed Away in 2003, within Five Months of Detention

Name: Zhang Xuewen
Gender: Male
Age: 54
Address: Fangtai Town, Hulan District, Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province
Occupation: Farmer
Date of Death: August 2003
Date of Most Recent Arrest: March 2003
Most Recent Place of Detention: Fangtai Police Station
City: Harbin
Province: Heilongjiang
Persecution Suffered: Forced labour, beatings, imprisonment, torture, extortion, physical restraint, detention

Mr. Zhang Xuewen was imprisoned in March 2003 for upholding his belief in Falun Gong. On August 7th, 2003, Mr. Zhang's family was notified by guards at Hulan Prison (previously called Gezhi Prison) that Mr. Zhang was in critical condition and his relatives were required to go to the prison. When they arrived there the next day, they saw that he was already dead. His appearance was appalling. He was emaciated and his teeth had been knocked out. The prison authorities told his family that Mr. Zhang's condition was the result of his being at the Hulan County Detention Centre. They said that under pressure from the higher level agency, they had to accept Mr. Zhang. They told the family that he died of illness and there was no relationship between his death and what took place at the prison. They asked the relatives to cremate the body quickly and said that the prison would pay for the funeral fees. On August 9th, 2003, under the guard of several dozen police officers from the Riot Prevention Division of the Hulan County Police Department, Mr. Zhang Xuewen's body was cremated.

Mr. Zhang Xuewen, 54 years old, was an honest farmer who lived in Fangtai Town, Hulan District, Harbin City. He started practising Falun Gong in 1994, and benefited both spiritually and physically. However, on July 20th, 1999, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)started the persecution of Falun Gong. Mr. Zhang had twice gone to Beijing to appeal for justice for Falun Gong. The second time, in 2001, he was held at the Qianmen Police Department in Beijing. Five days later, he was brought back to his area by Ren Xiuwei, a police officer from the Fangtai Town Police Station, Hulan District. Forty days later, Mr. Zhang was sentenced to one year of forced labour and was taken to the Wanjia Forced Labour Camp in Harbin City. At the Wanjia Forced Labour Camp he was brutally beaten to the extent that his mouth and nose bled profusely. Two months later, he was taken to the Changlinzi Forced Labour Camp in Harbin City, where he suffered torture.

On four different occasions, Mr. Zhang was detained by officers from the Hulan District Police Department and was fined 1,600 yuan1. In March 2003, he was reported when he was distributing Falun Gong leaflets exposing the persecution in Xinli Village, Erba Town, Hulan District. He was arrested by Zhang Yanyu, an officer from the Erba Town Police Station and the Fangtai Police Station and was taken to the Hulan District Detention Centre. He was held there for five months and was tortured to the brink of death. He was interrogated under torture by Jiang Jianmin, the deputy director of the Hulan District Police Department and Chen Beilin, an officer from the Domestic Security Division.

Mr. Zhang went on a hunger strike to protest the abuse. Zhao Liangui, the previous director of the Hulan District Detention Centre, Wang Yu and Wang Jianxin, brutally force-fed him. They tied him to an iron chair and pried open his mouth, knocking out his teeth. They force-fed him with corn soup and with highly concentrated salt water. After the brutal forced-feeding, they handcuffed Mr. Zhang and threw him on the floor.

On the morning of June 12th, 2003, Mr. Zhang Xuwen was put on trial. Witnesses saw that he was very thin even though he had been very strong just three months before. He lay on his back on the bench seat in the police vehicle. He was very pale, and his eyes were closed. He could not stand up. In order to hold the trial, the police ordered his family to hire someone to carry him on their back into the courtroom. They even declared that if they failed to do so, the family would not be allowed to enter the court. However, the family refused to cooperate with the unreasonable demands of the police. The police officers became very angry and Sun Wei, an officer from the Hulan District Court, kicked Mr. Zhang several times. Mr. Zhang could only lie in the car with many people surrounding him. Sun threatened, “When I am back, I will deal with you.”

Thus, the trial failed and the police had to take Mr. Zhang back to the Hulan District Detention Centre. As a result of the torture and abuse, he developed a high fever. The guards and doctors at the detention centre force-fed him with hot water which caused him to have blood in his stool for many days. On June 20th, 2002, the guards said that he had appendicitis and forced him to have an operation, but the doctors could not find anything wrong with his appendix. His relatives knew nothing about the operation. Someone said it was just another torture.

As a result of the ongoing abuse, Mr. Zhang was on the brink of death. However, the guards at the Hulan County Detention Centre did not allow his family to visit nor let him receive treatment at a hospital. Every day he just lay on a board with no one to take care of him. Without carrying out any legal procedures, the guards declared that Mr. Zhang had been sentenced to five years in prison.

At the beginning of August 2003, Zhang Xuewen was carried to the Hulan Prison. Because he was in critical condition, the guards refused to accept him. However, after the officers from the Hulan District Police Department and Hulan District Political and Legal Affairs Committee discussed it further, Hulan Prison was forced to admit Mr. Zhang when they brought him there the second time.

When Mr. Zhang died, the prison guards and officers from the Hulan District Police Department forced his family to cremate the body within three days. His family members saw that his appearance was completely different from how he looked when he was alive. His ears were blocked with cotton and there was blood in the corners of his mouth. There was an injury to his abdomen. His family was threatened and ordered not to appeal his case.


1. "Yuan" is the Chinese currency; 500 yuan is equal to the average monthly income of an urban worker in China.

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