Neighborhood security agent confirms death, wife still in labor camp
NEW YORK (FDI) – An elderly Falun Gong practitioner from Chaoyang district in Beijing, home to the Bird’s Nest Stadium, died from injuries incurred in custody two days before the close of the 2008 Olympic Games, the Falun Dafa Information Center reported on Wednesday.
Mr. Wang Chongjun (王崇俊), age 65, died at home on August 23, 2008 after being injected with an unknown drug in a Beijing labor camp, according to sources in China. His wife, Ms. Wang Zhiqin, remains illegally detained and is unaware of her husband’s death.
In a telephone call made to the Longzhuashu village community police working site near their home on September 9, a member of the neighborhood watch group confirmed Wang’s death.
“He died. Isn’t Wang Chongjun dead?” said a Mr. Li who picked up the phone. When the investigator asked if Wang’s family had received compensation, Li said: “I don't know. He died at home...I listen to my boss. I'm from out of town.” (see transcript excerpt and link to a recording of the phone conversation below)
The Falun Dafa Information Center (FDIC) had first reported the arrest of Wang and his wife in July 2008 (news). The couple were among over 8,000 adherents detained in a nationwide round-up that occurred in the months preceding the Olympics and has continued since the closing ceremonies as well.
“The tragic case of Wang and his wife are typical of the horrific abuses Falun Gong practitioners continue to face in China, abuses that worsened with the Olympics” says Falun Dafa Information Center Spokesperson Erping Zhang. “While Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is speaking at UN headquarters this week in New York City, countless innocent Chinese citizens are languishing in labor camps and in grave danger. It is up the international community—including governments, media, and human rights groups—to ensure that the thousands of adherents still in detention don’t meet the same fate as Wang.”
On the evening of April 14, 2008, local security agents raided Wang’s home without a warrant and arrested the elderly couple. The detention followed more than a week of intensified harassment and surveillance of the family, reportedly on the orders of Yang Fengling, head of the village 610 Office. Yang ordered the surveillance after Ms. Wang refused to renounce her practice of Falun Gong during a previous meeting. After their arrest, the couple was taken to Chaoyang District Detention Center. Their family was denied access to visit them.
On June 20, 2008, the couple’s family members received notices from the dispatch center at Beijing’s Tuanhe “Re-education through Labor” (RTL) Camp (more about Tuanhe Labor Camp). The documents stated that Wang Chongjun had been sentenced to two years of RTL on May 22, 2008, and was being detained in the First Ward of the dispatch center. His wife, Wang Zhiqin, had been sentenced to two and half years of forced labor on May 20, 2008, and was being held in the Tenth Ward.
According to sources inside China, while at the camp, guards injected Mr. Wang with an unknown drug, an increasingly common torture technique used on Falun Gong, that led to 11 deaths in 2007. The drug reportedly caused his skin to turn a yellowish color for him to become emaciated. Seeing that Wang was on the verge of death, the camp authorities released him so as not to be held responsible for his dying in their custody.
Upon receiving notice from the camp, Wang’s family picked him up and took him to the hospital for medical treatment. Nevertheless, Wang died at home on the afternoon of August 23, 2008. His wife had meanwhile been transferred to Shanxi Province RTL Camp not long before the start of the Olympics. According to sources close to the couple, she has yet to be informed of her husband’s death.
“We call upon the international community and media based in Beijing to use every resource available to investigate the facts for themselves,” says Zhang. “This persecution must end, lest more innocent people die.”
Transcript of call confirming Wang’s death:
The following is the transcript of a call made to the Longzhuashu village community police working site in Beijing’s Chaoyang district on September 9, 2008. An audio recording is available here (the voice of the investigator has been changed to protect their identity).
Male (A): My name is Li. I am on duty. I am not a policeman.
Investigator (Q): What is Wang Zhiqin's home phone number?
A: Her home phone is not working anymore.
Q: Did you go there when they arrested him in April?
A: I was probably there.
Q: Did you go to see him after his release?
A: He died. Isn't Wang Chongjun dead?
Q: Does anyone still live in his home?
A: He has a son who works somewhere else. I don't have his phone number.
Q: Have things been taken care of? Has his family gotten any compensation?
A: I don't know. He died at home. You can ask her . I listen to my boss. I am from out of town, I am not a local.
Q: How much do you get paid every day?
A: 20 Yuan per day.