Yang Yuyong, my father, died in the Wuqing Detention Centre in Tianjin on July 11, 2017. Large bruises were found on his neck and body and blood was in his eyes and ears. Large wounds were in and around his ears. In addition, his toes showed injuries as if they had been pricked with fine bamboo sticks.
When I asked how my father died, not one guard or officer from the detention centre or Wuqing Police Department responded. Instead, they dispatched about 100 police officers and special police forces to assume custody of my father's body.
My family and I have contacted different government agencies regarding the death of my father, but have not received any response. Police threatened us not to hire lawyers and not to be interviewed by the media. But, based on what we have seen concerning my father and previously documented cases from the detention centre, I think my father was a victim of extralegal violence. I hope that the National People's Congress will follow up and investigate my father's death.
Arrest and Torture
Chen Dejun, head of the Wuqing Domestic Security Division, and several officers arrested my father Yang Yuyong and mother Meng Xianzhen on the morning of December 7, 2016. They did not provide any search and seizure warrant or any other documents, nor did they provide a list of personal items confiscated after ransacking my parents home. Before taking my parents away, officers stuffed a towel in my father's mouth. Then, they took them to the Wuqing Detention Centre.
When I heard about the arrest, I went to the police station. Liu Lijun, from the Huanghuadian Police Station sprayed me with red pepper spray. As a result, my eyes, throat, and gastrointestinal tract were damaged.
While in detention, guards put my father in foot chains, with each attached to a heavy metal ball. He was then handcuffed, with the cuffs then attached to the foot chains, making him bend over. In addition, guards made him sit still on a small bench for a long time and moved him between cells. They ordered other inmates to torture him.
When my father's lawyer met him and saw the foot chains, he reported this to Huang, a prosecutor working in the detention centre. After the interview was over, guard Liu Zhaogang took my father to an empty cell and beat him with a fly swatter. My father's bottom was bleeding and the swatter handle was broken.
“If you dare to tell lawyers you were tortured here,” said Liu, “next time I will beat you with a heavy duty tool.”
My father reported this incident to his lawyer when he met my father during his second visit. Both the lawyer and I filed criminal complaints against officials involved, but no response so far.
Pressuring the Lawyer
I called the Wuqing Procuratorate on June 12 and asked if the criminal complaint had been received. An officer told me that the documents were received and had been forwarded to the 610 Office, the organisation which is charged with overseeing the persecution of Falun Gong throughout China. I was stunned. My father was tortured for practising Falun Gong. If the documents were forwarded to the 610 Office, that means my father would face even harsher mistreatment and revenge.
“You can contact the police department,” said another officer, “the Tianjin government, or even the central government in Beijing. I can guarantee that no one will accept this case [because it is related to Falun Gong].”
I knew it was difficult, but I wanted to try anyway. I asked the lawyer to file the case with the Wuqing Procuratorial Office. But, the judicial bureau, the supervising agency of lawyers, was immediately notified and an officer contacted the lawyer and threatened him. Wuqing police also talked with me, forbidding me to contact overseas news media and demanded that I fire the lawyers.
When lawyer Wen Donghai met my father again on June 28, Father told him that guard Liu Zhaogang slapped his face and ordered 13 inmates in the cell to beat him. They also sexually abused him including sucking his nipples and rubbing his penis. Occasionally he lost consciousness as a result of vicious beatings, but he did not know how long it lasted.
I filed criminal complaints against the detention centre twice this year, once in March and once in June. But there was no response. However, my second complaint, was transferred by the Wuqing Procuratorate to the 610 Office as mentioned earlier. Based on what my father told his lawyer, his torture worsened since then. That was one month before his death.
Death of My Father
In the afternoon of July 11, I received a phone call saying my father was in the ICU at Wuqing Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine. By the time we arrived there, my father was already dead for a long time and his body was cold.
We were shocked by my father's sudden death. About seven months had passed by the time we saw his cold body.
I saw large bruises on his neck and on his body. His nipples were loosely connected with his trunk, as if one touch could knock them off. There were scars around the nipples, and major wounds were found on his ears. His toes also had wounds, as if they had been pricked with fine bamboo sticks or nails.
There were many police officers at the scene, but no one told us what happened to my father. I contacted the police in Wuqing District, Tianjin City, and the procuratorial offices. But officers gave me the run around, not admitting responsibility.
Fourteen police vans were dispatched the next morning. They surrounded the ICU area of the hospital at about 3 a.m. Among them was one van from the special police forces. Police moved the body from the hospital to a nearby funeral home without our consent.
Later that day, my mother, who was held in the detention centre since December 2016, was taken from the detention centre to see the body. She requested that the body be turned over. She saw many bruises and injuries on her husband's back. When she lifted my father's underwear, there was blood everywhere, including on the butt and crotch. We tried to take pictures with our mobile phones, but police blocked the view and stopped us.
Family Members Continuously Threatened
Officers continued to threaten family members. One of them, Du Baochun, said to my brother, “If you post more photos related to this on the internet, we will arrest you.” They also spread rumours saying my father committed suicide. In addition, officers visited practitioners in the village family after family, ordering them to remain silent about this issue.
In addition, officials told our relatives, by providing incentives, to persuade my mother to give up her belief. My mother's lawyer was not allowed to see her and was threatened.
After collecting evidence and consulting with lawyers, my family and I think my father died of revenge, torture, and killing based on the following:
Torture, Revenge and Threat: Guards at the detention centre put foot chains on both feet and attached a heavy metal ball to each of them. They put handcuffs and cuffed them to the foot chains. Thus, his body was bend all the time. This was very painful.
After my father advised his lawyer of the above during a visit, guard Liu Zhaogang took him to an empty cell and beat him viciously with a fly swatter. My father's bottom was bleeding and the swatter handle was broken.
Liu told my father, “If you dare to tell lawyers you were tortured here. Next time I will beat you with a heavy duty tool.” My father told the lawyer this during the second visit.
Revenge and More Torture: After we filed a second criminal complaint, my father met with harsher mistreatment. Guard Liu Zhaogang slapped his face and ordered 13 inmates in the cell to beat him.
They also sexually abused him including sucking his nipples and rubbing his penis. He lost consciousness on and off when being viciously beaten, but he did not know how long he was unconscious. Audio files are available for this.
Bruises and Wounds on the Body: I saw large bruises on his neck and on his body. His nipples were loosely connected with his trunk. There were scars around the nipples and major wounds were found near the root of his ears. His toes also had wounds, as if they had been pricked with fine bamboo sticks or nails. Photos of these injuries are available.
After the body was turned over, my mother and I saw many bruises and injuries on my father's back. Under his underwear was blood, including his background, and the crotch. We took out cell phones to take pictures, but police blocked the view and stopped us.
Died Before Taken to ICU: We believe that my father had already died before being taken to the ER. When we saw his body, it was cold, pale, and stiff. A medical staff member told me that my father most likely had died before his body arrived in ICU.
Independent Autopsy Denied: Officials only allowed an autopsy by government appointed medical doctors.
Claiming Suicide: Policed instructed officers that they tell village people that my father committed suicide .
Family Members Harassed and Threatened: My family members and I wanted to discover the truth about my father's death, but we were harassed and threatened.
Contacting the National People's Congress: The National People's Congress is the national legislature of the People's Republic of China. It is the largest parliamentary body in the world and an agency with the highest power in China.
I here urge an independent investigation to uncover the truth about my father's death.
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