On Christmas Day, a funeral for Ms. Zhao Fenglian, a Falun Gong practitioner, was held in Gansu province's Jingchuan city. As the hearse carrying her body made its way through the city, people noticed the two startling banners attached to it. One banner read “Zhao Fenglian Tortured to Death at the Lanzhou Women's Prison” and the other one read, “Bring the Police Responsible for This to Justice!” Many people took a good look and were profoundly moved by these bold messages.
Arrested for Reading a Falun Gong Article
According to a report at Minghui.net, Zhao Fenglian was a 51 year-old female employee of a local company. Although illiterate, she started to practice Falun Gong in 1996.
After the Chinese Communist Regime began to persecute the practice in July 1999, Ms. Zhao was sentenced to one year in a forced labor camp in 2001, because she told other people the truth about the persecution of Falun Gong.
At the end of 2002, Zhao Fenglian was followed by the local police while on her way to the home of another practitioner, Li Dexiang. The two practitioners were merely intending to read a recently published Falun Gong article, but the police broke into Li's house and arrested both of them. The local TV station's news team arrived at the scene and used the story as part of their recent “Special Investigation,” which was really just propaganda to defame Falun Gong.
Force-Fed and Violently Injured
During their over 100 days of detention in the Jingchuan City Drug Addiction Detoxification Center, both Zhao and Li were force-fed many times while on hunger strikes to protest their unjust treatment. On one such occasion, the center's Chief, Liu Liguo, Deputy Chief Zhao, and a duty officer instigated several drug addicts to hold Zhao Fenglian on a bed with her head hanging off it, so that she could be force-fed. After several unsuccessful attempts, Liu Liguo became enraged and smashed a bottle into Zhao Fenglian's mouth, twisting it around until three of her teeth broke. At the end of October 2003, Zhao was again kidnapped by the Jingchuan City Public Security Bureau's Political Safety police. She then was tried behind closed doors in August 2004 at the Jingchuan City Detention Center and sentenced to a four year prison term.
Insisting Her Innocence at the Cost of Her Life
In December 2004, Zhao Fenglian was incarcerated at the Women's Prison in Gansu province, where she suffered inhuman torture just because she maintained her innocence and refused to slander Falun Gong. Both the front and back of her body had large black bruises and she was frightfully thin. She was unable to eat anything for nearly four months and finally fell into a coma. The prison administration then approved her release on bail for health reasons as she was confirmed as having pancreatic cancer and being on the verge of death. On December 22, 2005, Zhao Fenglian passed away at her home.
The Hearse's Banners Display the Facts
At about 9 a.m. on December 25, as the hearse carrying Zhao's body headed to the funeral home, people quickly noticed the two large banners attached to its sides, enabling many of those passing by to read: “Zhao Fenglian Tortured to Death at the Lanzhou Women's Prison” and “Bring the Police Responsible for This to Justice!” It was obvious that they were quite taken aback by such a bold action.
As the funeral procession made its way to the funeral home via busy roads through the center of the city, instead of the less-frequented route that the government had planned, it attracted even more attention. Subsequently, many people in the funeral home received flyers with more details about Zhao Fenglian's death from having been tortured in prison merely for her belief in Falun Gong.