Mr. Ge Zhijun returned home from prison in February 2019. He died within less than two years, on November 29, 2020, at age 42. He is survived by his wife, a nine-year-old daughter, and a paralyzed father.
Mr. Ge, of Zhuozhou City, Hebei Province, was a practitioner of Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline and meditation practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since July 1999. He was imprisoned twice for a total of 12 years in the 21 years of persecution. He was subjected to all kinds of tortures for refusing to renounce his belief.
Recovering From Chronic Tuberculosis
Mr. Ge suffered from tuberculosis when he was 8 years old. This and his other health problems drained his energy. He didn’t do well in school. His parents frequently sought medical treatment for him, but he never truly recovered. Between the age of 13 and 18, he received regular injections and infusions in the hospitals. His buttocks were swollen as a result and he couldn’t walk properly.
He learned Falun Gong in 1996, when he was 18 years old. A month into the practice, all of his health problems disappeared. He lived by Falun Gong’s principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and became a considerate and hard-working person. His coworkers at Lingyun Industrial Co. in Zhuozhou respected and got along with him. His neighbors often asked for help from him, knowing that they could count on him.
Viciously Beaten for Speaking Up for Falun Gong
Mr. Ge went to Beijing in December 1999, after the persecution started, to speak up for Falun Gong. The police arrested and transferred him back to Zhuozhou, where the local police hammered him with batons. After injuring him, the police made him kneel in the hallway for hours. He was locked in a detention center for a month and the police extorted 12,100 yuan from him.
Since then the local police never stopped harassing him at home. They followed, monitored, and assaulted him.
His employer forced him to go to a brainwashing session and pay 100 yuan every day. Unable to withstand the financial and mental pressure, he lived away from home to avoid future persecution.
Eight-year Sentence and Family’s Plight
Officers from the Shijingshan Police Station in Beijing arrested Mr. Ge in Beijing when he told others about the persecution of Falun Gong in 2001. After they transferred him back to Zhuozhou, the local police and agents from the 610 Office interrogated him. He was on his knees while they threatened him with an electric baton and tactical mace.
The Zhuozhou police tried to extort 20,000 yuan from his family. The family couldn’t afford it, and was punished. His father was forced into early retirement, and his two sisters weren’t allowed to work for six months, and their husbands three months.
Mr. Ge went on a hunger strike for seven days in the Zhuozhou Detention Center. He was tortured for nine months, during which time the a local court judge sentenced him to eight years in prison.
Mr. Ge was taken to the Mancheng Prison sometime in 2002 and was found to have pleurisy. The prison authorities initially refused to accept him, but were then forced by the detention center to do so. Mr. Ge was so weak that he couldn’t perform the unpaid labor required by the prison, and even had difficulty climbing onto his bunk bed.
After spending three days in the Mancheng Prison, he was transferred to Shijiazhuang No. 4 Prison, where he was forced to watch videos slandering Falun Gong every day, and wasn’t allowed to talk to other practitioners. The authorities had four prisoners watching him around the clock. He needed their approval before doing anything including using the toilet or washing up. The prisoners did anything to torture him into submission and renounce his faith, so that they could get term reductions.
The prison authorities put Mr. Ge in a special building, in which the second and third floors were empty and used exclusively for torturing Falun Gong practitioners. The prisoners kept him awake for 18 days. As soon as he fell asleep, the prisoners would beat him or burn him with cigarettes. He was severely beaten and his toes were burned. At times they tied him up and lay him on the ground while a person sat on his legs and pressed down on his chest. It caused him extreme pain in his body, and he couldn’t breathe.
The prisoners regularly locked Mr. Ge in a small room about three feet long and one foot wide, for 15 days every year, for seven years. He had to wear handcuffs and shackles. Besides sleeping, most of the time he had to sit on a small stool that was 8” long, 6” wide, and 8” tall. It was so short that it put a lot of pressure on his buttocks. This caused the flesh on his buttocks to fester and not have time to heal. His lower body swelled up and was in constant pain. His hands and legs were sometimes chained to the ground for days. There was a pit and a faucet, and he spent all day inside. The guards also kept the light on all the time.
In the winter of 2004, a doctor from outside of the prison came to draw Mr. Ge’s blood for tests. The doctor didn’t say a word and drew several test tubes of his blood. A captain in the prison told him that drawing blood was to check his health. From then on, every time a doctor came to examine his health, the doctor asked if he had an infectious disease. Falun Gong practitioners received health exams twice a year while other prisoners had only one.
After he later learned about the forced organ harvesting against the practitioners, he realized that he had been targeted and included in the government’s organ banks.
Mr. Ge lost eight golden years in prison. He went in at age 23 and came out at 31. By the time he was released in 2009, half of his hair was grey, six of his teeth were gone, his memory had declined, and he had hypertension, heart, and liver problems.
He also learned that while he was in prison, his parents were collectively punished because of him. His father became paralyzed after losing his job. His mother, who wasn’t a practitioner, was detained for 15 days and handcuffed to a rail while viciously beaten. She ended up having to beg for a living. Under tremendous financial and mental stress, she died in February 2005, in her 50s.
Sentenced Again for Four Years
Mr. Ge was arrested on February 26, 2014. He was later released because his health was in a dire situation as a result of the eight years of torture. The doctor said that he could die at any time if his high blood pressure caused his blood vessels to rupture. The police confiscated 20,000 yuan in cash from him, which dealt a big blow to his family. His wife had to take care of his paralyzed father and a young child, while not having a job.
A judge in Zhuozhou City Court sentenced Mr. Ge to a four-year prison term on February 11, 2015. They put him in Zhuozhou Detention Center despite his life-threatening condition. He was later transferred to Jidong Prison in August.
No one knew what horrific things he experienced in the four years. He seemed mentally disoriented upon his release on February 5, 2019. He could not speak logically and locked himself in his room. He couldn’t hold a job or live independently. His daughter was 8 years old and was terrified by what she saw. By the time he died, she was only 9.
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