A 63-year-old woman died less than six days after she was arrested in December 2019 for practicing Falun Gong. Ms. Bai Chunhua's family noticed many injuries on her body and suspect that she had been beaten to death for not giving in to the police's demand to renounce her faith. Her body is still held in the hospital morgue at the time of writing.
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.
Ms. Bai, a Gongyi City, Henan Province resident, was arrested at home by six officers from the Zijinglu Police Station around 6 p.m. on December 8, 2019. Without a search warrant, the police ransacked her home and took her away at around 7:30 p.m.
At 3:34 p.m. the next day, police officer Wang Conglong called Ms. Bai’s family and asked them to come to the emergency room in the Ruikang Hospital. Her family rushed there and was told that Ms. Bai had fallen into a coma at around 2:33 p.m. The police called an ambulance at 2:40 p.m. and by the time the medical staff arrived at 2:48 p.m., Ms. Bai was no longer breathing and had no pulse. Her pupils were also dilated. At 2:55 p.m., she was sent to the emergency room. After being given some medicine and put on a ventilator, she regained very weak breathing and heartbeat.
The police refused to pay the medical fee for Ms. Bai. Only after her family paid 2,000 yuan, did the doctor agree to send Ms. Bai to the intensive care unit (ICU).
According to Ms. Bai’s CT scan, she had bone fractures in her third, fourth and fifth ribs on the left, and second and fifth ribs on the right. She also had injuries on her mouth and there were multiple bruises around her back.
Ms. Bai was pronounced dead at 8:04 a.m. on December 14, after five days in the ICU.
Her family said that she was very healthy before being arrested. Although she was 63 years old, she still often worked in the field. With the injuries sustained less than 24 hours after her arrest, her family suspects that she was severely beaten in custody, which eventually claimed her life.
Six Critical Minutes Missing in the Surveillance Video
Ms. Bai's family demanded to see the surveillance video of her in the police station. The police didn’t make the video available to them until the afternoon of December 15. The video showed that the police began to interrogate Ms. Bai in the Gongyi City Police Department at 7:55 p.m. on December 8, the interrogation lasting until 11 p.m. that night.
Ms. Bai was then brought to the Zijinglu Police Station. The police handcuffed and shackled her, and continued to interrogate her until 12 a.m. She was left sitting in the chair in the interrogation room overnight.
The next morning, the police began to interrogate Ms. Bai again at 10 a.m. During this time, Ms. Bai asked for a bottle of water. While she was drinking, a police officer hit her in the mouth. The bottle fell and the water spilled onto her pants. At 2:27 p.m., six minutes before she fell into a coma, the police removed her handcuffs and shackles. She walked slowly, with one hand placed on the wall. Then the video was cut off and the police didn’t provide any information about what happened during the next six minutes.
Ms. Bai’s family later filed a complaint against the police with the Gongyi City Procuratorate. But the prosecutor refused to accept the case with the excuse that there wasn’t any evidence of the alleged police violence.
Ms. Bai’s tragic death was proceeded by several arrests and a prison term. She was seized in a group arrest of a dozen practitioners in April 2005 and sent to a brainwashing center. When she refused to give up Falun Gong, five guards knocked her to the ground and beat her. Other practitioners detained there were also beaten and deprived of sleep. The police transferred Ms. Bai to the Gongyi City Detention Center at the end of the brainwashing session.
On December 21, 2015, Ms. Bai was arrested again for distributing calendars with information about Falun Gong. She appeared in the Gongyi City Court on May 30, 2016, and was later sentenced to three years and two months.
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