A Tianjin woman died while imprisoned for distributing materials exposing the Chinese communist regime’s persecution of Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline based on the principle of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Her family, however, was forced to waive their legal right to seek justice for her.
Ms. Chen Ruiqin was arrested on May 16, 2014 and sentenced to 4.5 years in 2015. She was soon moved to Tianjin Women’s Prison, where she was subjected to various forms of abuse. Her health kept declining, and the 44-year-old perished around early February 2017.
The prison authorities never informed Ms. Chen’s family of her condition. Even today, her loved ones still don’t know when exactly she passed away. When they were finally notified of her death, they were not allowed to examine her body or order an independent autopsy. They remained at the prison for four days before succumbing to pressure and agreeing to have Ms. Chen’s body cremated and forgo their legal claims against the prison.
According to insiders, prison guards used the following means to abuse Ms. Chen:
• Forcing her to stand for long periods of time without moving;
• Not allowing her to use the restroom or clean herself up after she soiled her pants;
• Pinching her nipples and touching her genitals;
• Stomping on her toes, causing profuse bleeding;
• Beating her and leaving bruises all over her body;
• Splashing hot water onto her face;
• Forcing her to drink urine and eat faeces.
Ms. Chen’s cellmates complained about the smell, but the guards still refused to let her use the restroom or clean herself. The cellmates had to keep the window open in the winter to let the odor out. After a period of time, the guards finally allowed Ms. Chen to rinse herself with cold water once in a while.
Psychological manipulation was also employed to weaken Ms. Chen’s willpower. Guards deceived her family into believing that she only wanted to practice Falun Gong but had no interest in the family’s well-being. Her family then blamed her for causing them to live in fear over the years and asked her to renounce her faith.
Ms. Chen had a seizure at one point and was led to say that she’d given up her belief, but she recanted her statement as soon as she became clearheaded.
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