A 47-year-old woman died five months after she was arrested for the 11th time for practising Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Ms. Kong Hongyun, a resident of Baoding City, Hebei Province, was arrested on January 2, 2019 after she was reported for talking to people about her faith. She fell into a coma in March and had a tracheotomy done without her family's consent. She never regained consciousness and passed away on June 12, 2019.
The authorities refused to provide any explanation to her family of what caused her sudden loss of consciousness and eventual death.
Ms. Kong's death certificate stated that she died of Guillain-Barré syndrome, a condition of bacterial or viral infection that leads to the immune system to attack one’s own nerves. Her family doubted that the said syndrome caused her premature death, as she was perfectly healthy before her latest arrest.
While investigating the cause of Ms. Kong's death themselves, her family managed to obtain some of her medical scan results and consulted a doctor at another hospital.
The doctor told them that Ms. Kong's spinal nerve was severely damaged from her neck down, which caused her to become completely paralyzed.
In addition, because she was bedridden for a long time and lacked proper care, she had a severe lung infection that rendered her unable to breathe, which the doctor suspected was the main cause of her death.
The doctor also noticed slight injuries in the lower back of her head, and her lumbar vertebrae were also deformed and the tissues around them were severely swollen. He said he'd never seen anything like that before and didn’t know what could have caused such a condition.
Three days after Ms. Kong’s family received her scan results, they returned to the police station on July 26, 2019 and demanded an autopsy. They were devastated to learn that the police had already cremated her body earlier that day without their knowledge or consent.
Ms. Kong's family recalled that when her lawyer first met with her in early February 2019, she was on a hunger strike but looked fine and called aloud “Falun Dafa is good.”
During the lawyer's next visit on February 26, however, she was carried out by two inmates and said that she had started to eat two days earlier. Within two weeks, she fell into a coma and never regained consciousness after that.
Her family now suspects that Ms. Kong might have been given some nerve-damaging drugs during her detention, which caused her spinal condition and eventual death.
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