70-Year-Old Woman Sentenced to 3 Years for Practising Falun Gong; Denied Opportunity to See Elderly Mother Before She Passed Away

Following her third arrest on March 29th, 2013, Ms. Jiang Lianying was sentenced to 3 years on August 21st, 2013 for practising Falun Gong. The local authorities in Tuanshanzi Village, Yilan County, however, deliberately kept her family in the dark regarding her verdict and the location of her detention.

When the family finally managed to find out her whereabouts after eight months, they met with all kinds of obstacles while trying to visit her at Heilongjiang Women's Prison.

Though Ms. Jiang's husband and daughter were eventually allowed to see her, they couldn't bring themselves to tell her the sad news that her 103-year-old mother had passed away during her incarceration.

Prior to this most recent arrest, Ms. Jiang was twice sent to Wanjia Labour Camp in 2000 and 2003, respectively, and was detained there for a total of four years and three months.

Close to Fifty Falun Gong Practitioners Arrested in a Span of 4 Days

Authorities of Yilan County and Fangzheng County Police Departments coordinated a mass arrest of Falun Gong practitioners in Yilan County, Dalianhe Town, Sandaogang Town, Daotaiqiao Town, and Tuanshanzi Township. The director of the Technology Division of Heilongjiang Provincial Public Security Department went to Yilan County to lead the raid. Starting in the evening of March 29th, 2013, officers from Yilan County, Fangzheng County, and Tonghe County Police Departments and Police Stations arrested close to 50 Falun Gong practitioners over the course of four days.

In the evening on March 29th, officers from Tuanshanzi Police Station forcibly took Ms. Jiang from her home. Her 103-year-old mother was left alone with her 68-year-old husband, who was in bad health. No one in the family knew Ms. Jiang's whereabouts until three day later on April 1st. As it turns out, she was being detained in Harbin Second Detention Centre.

Ms. Jiang's husband could not care for her mother and had no choice but to send her to Ms. Jiang's younger sister's place in Anhui Province. The trek from Heilongjiang to Anhui was very hard on her, and she was also worried and anxious about Ms. Jiang. She passed away shortly after arriving in Anhui.

Trial and Sentencing

The arrest on March 29th was Mr. Jiang's third in the past 15 years of persecution. Ms. Jiang's family hired a lawyer from Beijing to defend her and submit an innocent plea.

In July 2013, Yilan Court informed Ms. Jiang's attorney that her trial would be held on August 6th. When her lawyer travelled from Beijing to Yilan County on August 5th, the court called to tell him that there wouldn't be a trial the next day and that the next court date was yet to be determined.

In the afternoon on August 21st, 2013, Ms. Jiang was tried in Yilan County Court. The prosecutor Ning Yan was speechless when Ms. Jiang's attorney defended her. Before the court was adjourned, Ms. Jiang's attorney asked that she be released to look after her mother and sick husband.

Even the judge Zhang Anke said twice that she should be released unconditionally right away to care for her mother. After the court was adjourned, Ms. Jiang was not released. The family didn't hear anything for a month, until they learned from Ms. Jiang's attorney that she had been sentenced to three years in prison.

Family Kept in the Dark for Eight Months After Trial; Prison Authorities Interfere with Her Family Visit

After the trial, Ms. Jiang's family heard nothing directly from the authorities for almost eight months. They did everything they could to ask around and finally found out where Ms. Jiang was incarcerated. In the morning on April 11th, 2014, Ms. Jiang's husband, daughter, and two other family members went to Heilongjiang Women's Prison to visit her.

A woman with the last name Yang at the reception office told the family that they needed to show their identifications, household registry, and Notification of Imprisonment. The family tried to explain to Yang that they never received a verdict nor a notification of imprisonment before they lost contact with Ms. Jiang. They didn't know what to bring to visit her. They also told her that they had travelled 200 miles to see Ms. Jiang and that due to her husband's health, they couldn't afford to make another trip in the near future.

Eventually Yang agreed to let Ms. Jiang's daughter go in alone. However, a person at the Prison Administration said that she couldn't see Ms. Jiang without a proof of kinship. The daughter was forced to go outside until someone in the family sent in a picture of the household registry through her mobile phone, and only then was she able to see her mother.

Imprisoned in a Forced Labour Camp Twice Before the Latest Arrest

After the suppression of Falun Gong started in 1999, Ms. Jiang was arrested and put in a forced labour camp twice for speaking up for Falun Gong and telling others about the persecution. She was incarcerated in a forced labour camp for a total of four years and three months.

The following is Ms. Jiang's account of what happened in 2000, “I went to Beijing wanting to speak up for Falun Gong. As soon as I got to Tiananmen Square, I saw plainclothes officers waiting there. They arrested me. Later police from Tuanshanzi Police Station came to Beijing to take me back. They sent me directly to Yilan Detention Centre, and later locked me in Wanjia Forced Labour Camp for a year without following any legal procedures.”

“While I was at the detention centre, Yu Delan, head of Tuanshanzi Village, Zhang Huanyou, chief of the Tuanshanzi Police Station, and secretary of Tuanshanzi Township went to my family and asked them to pay 5000 yuan (~US$800). They said it was a fee to take me back from Beijing. They threatened to take away and sell our 230 sheep and the cows. My husband was forced to borrow money from relatives and gave it to them.”

“In Wanjia Forced Labour Camp, guards Wang Enguang and Wang Zhonghua tried to force me to write statements to renounce Falun Gong. They deprived me of sleep. On June 17th, 2001, I didn't answer when they called me during breakfast. An inmate Wu Haiying assaulted me, put tape over my mouth and hung me up. The same day Wu Jinying, a captain, locked me in solitary confinement. The guards hung me up from a metal door, slapped me, kicked me, and shocked me with high-voltage electric batons.”

Two days before China's National Day in 2003, Zhang Huanyou, chief of Tuanshanzi Police Station, ordered the officers to arrest Ms. Jiang and ransack her house. They found Falun Gong books and materials and forced Ms. Jiang to burn them at the police station.

Ms. Jiang refused, so Zhang locked her up in Yilan County Second Detention Centre. She was later sentenced to three years and taken to Wanjia Forced Labour Camp. She was tortured in the camp until she coughed up blood constantly and was unable to keep food down. Her health deteriorated and the camp authorities wanted to release her for medical attention. Yilan County 610 Office (an organisation of special agents just for persecuting Falun Gong) ordered Tuanzishan Police Station to bail her out, but Zhang refused to cooperate.

The following is Ms. Jiang's account about the second arrest and imprisonment. “Officers from Tuanshanzi Township Police Station came to my house on September 28th, 2003, and forced me into the police vehicle. They then ransacked my house and found Falun Gong articles. They used that as evidence to detain me for four months. Afterward they sent me to Wanjia Forced Labour Camp in Harbin City for three years. After I served the time, they extended my sentence by three months.”

“Guard Fang Li and chief Yao Fuchang at Wanjia Forced Labor Camp demanded that I curse Falun Gong. I refused, so they repeatedly kicked and punched me. When they got tired, they tied me to the Tiger Bench1 and shocked me all over my body with an electric baton. I was tortured like this for two days. They didn't stop until I went into shock and began to convulse.”

“On June 21st, 2004, a supervisor visited Wanjia Forced Labour Camp. When a guard slandered Falun Gong on stage, I demanded that he stop. I shouted, 'Falun Gong is good.' A group of guards dragged me out to a workshop and began to beat me. They cuffed me to an iron chair, and Yao Fuchang shocked me with an electric baton. I was left on the iron chair for seven days straight, and inmates watched me around the clock, making sure that I couldn't go to sleep.”

Note

1. "Tiger Bench": Prisoners are forced to sit on a small iron bench that is approximately 20 cm (6 inches) tall with their knees tied together. With their hands tied behind their backs or sometimes placed on their knees, they are forced to sit straight up and look straight ahead without movement for long periods of time.


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