Villagers Warned to ‘Back Off’ in Their Support of Torture Victim’s Family
Since the death of their loved one, Xu Dawei, only 13 days after his release from prison, the Xu family has been appealing for justice from local authorities. Subsequently, 365 residents from five nearby villages in Liaoning Province, China, signed a petition in support of the family’s legal action. They say that Xu Dawei was a good person who died from torture in police custody because of his spiritual beliefs.
Xu was born in 1973 in a rural village near the city of Fushun. In January 2001, he was sentenced to eight years imprisonment because he practiced Falun Gong, a spiritual practice which has been persecuted in China since July of 1999. During his incarceration in four different prisons, Xu was beaten, shackled, stabbed with needles, force-fed, and shocked with electric prods.
Xu’s prison term ended on Feb. 3, 2009, but when his family went to pick him up, they were shaken by what they saw: their son, in his 30s, was emaciated with gray hair. They said his eyes were lifeless, and he could not recognize them.
Once home, Xu cowered in a corner without moving. After his family persuaded him that he was now safe, he moved to his bed. He occasionally became more aware and told his family that the guards had injected him with nerve-damaging drugs and had also tortured him.
But he could not eat, coughed incessantly, and was unable to spit out the phlegm. He also had visible burn marks from the electric shocks, swollen limbs, and necrotic skin on his buttocks.
He was taken to a hospital, but the doctor said it was too late as his heart had failed, his skin had lost its elasticity, and no blood could be administered. “This did not happen in a day or two. The treatment time has passed,” the doctor said. Xu died in the hospital on Feb. 16, 2009.
Several hundred residents from nearby villages, mourning the loss of a “good son,” rallied to support the Xu family’s appeal. They signed a letter asking the authorities to compensate the family’s loss and to hold the prison staff accountable.
The petition was picked up by some overseas media, causing concern among local officials. They warned the villagers who had signed to back off.
One of the petitioners told The Epoch Times that six officers came to his house to ask him questions and recorded his statement. “They were from the county public safety bureau and the local police station. They had a list in their hands and one of them told me to leave the issue alone.”
Another petitioner who was a close acquaintance of Xu said: “He never fought or got into trouble with others.” This petitioner described how, five days ago, four police officers from the town and village police stations had interviewed him about the petition and wrote down a deposition. “Xu was a good man. Now that he’s gone, I have to help his child and his mother,” he said.
A neighbor of Xu’s went out to collect signatures during the cold winter days. Several petitioners told him they would sign it “a hundred times over, because I must help.” Another petitioner said the family should sue the prison for “killing a good person for his beliefs.”
Read the original Chinese article.