A middle school teacher died in a hospital on August 9, 2020, barely one month after he became critically ill but denied medical parole. Mr. Wang Fengchen had been serving a four-year term for his faith in Falun Gong, and his death came six months before his term was set to expire.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is an ancient spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Mr. Wang, a geography teacher in Daqing City, Heilongjiang Province, was arrested on January 18, 2017, together with his wife, Ms. Leng Xiuxia, and three other Falun Gong practitioners who all work in the same school as the couple.
Mr. Wang and Ms. Leng appeared in the Lindian County Court on October 11, 2017. Mr. Wang was later sentenced to four years in Hulan Prison and Ms. Leng to an unknown term in Heilongjiang Women's Prison. They were each fined 30,000 yuan.
On May 31, 2020, Hulan Prison informed Mr. Wang’s family that he had been coughing for two months and experiencing persistent dizziness. At his family’s request, the guards sent Mr. Wang to the prison clinic that evening. The clinic doctor said that he had pneumonia and prescribed him some antibiotics.
The prison clinic proposed to send Mr. Wang to a bigger hospital under the administration of the prison on June 18 and asked for a 10,000 yuan deposit from his family. Pressed by the family, the clinic doctor revealed that Mr. Wang had a serious lung infection.
After seeing that Mr. Wang’s condition still didn’t improve after receiving treatments at the prison hospital, his family demanded to send him to an outside hospital for a comprehensive checkup and better treatment. It took a week for the prison to respond to them.
Before approving his family’s request, the prison authorities forced them to sign a liability waiver on June 26, claiming that the prison wouldn’t be held accountable if Mr. Wang died in prison and that he must be returned to the prison after the checkup.
Mr. Wang’s family sent him to a cancer hospital, but he kept vomiting blood during the checkup, rendering him unable to finish all the examinations, including a bronchoscopy. Due to the coronavirus epidemic, the hospital couldn’t admit Mr. Wang, but asked him to come back to the hospital on July 2 to finish the examinations. Mr. Wang was sent back to the prison that day.
Mr. Wang's condition became critical on June 30 and he was taken to the cancer hospital for emergency treatment.
Around 8 p.m. on July 1, the prison informed his family that he had difficulty breathing and was being treated in the hospital. The guards demanded that Mr. Wang’s family pay his medical fees. His family rushed to the hospital and saw blood all over Mr. Wang’s nose and mouth. The doctor said that he could die at any time.
Mr. Wang’s family applied for medical parole for him on July 2, but their appeal was rejected by the prison authorities. Their excuse was that they didn’t have a firm diagnosis for Mr. Wang and that the cancer hospital wasn’t qualified to issue such a diagnostic report. The prison guards said to Mr. Wang’s family that he had to finish serving the remaining six months of his term, even if he died in prison before the end of his term.
Four days later, Mr. Wang vomited blood again and couldn’t breathe. The cancer hospital issued a notice of critical condition for him.
His family went to the prison to demand his release again on July 8 but was turned down again.
Mr. Wang passed away around 5 a.m. on August 9 at the cancer hospital. His wife is still serving time at the time of writing.
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