Falun Gong Practitioner Tortured to Death on a 'Tiger Bench'
Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Wang Yuhuan from Changchun City, Jilin Province, died on September 24, 2007 whilst under police custody. The police didn't inform her family until October 10.
Wang was a peaceful and kind elderly lady in her 60s. She had been in and out of jail over ten times in the past eight years because of her belief in Falun Gong. The police in Changchun once tortured her on a Tiger Bench for three days consecutively. Her anklebones were visible because of the shackles digging into her legs and the police beat her repeatedly, causing her arms to break.
Wang had to endure terrible forms of torture: she was shocked with electric batons until her face was severely burnt, several officers picked her up and repeatedly threw her against a tree, and a police officer once burned her eyes with a cigarette and stabbed her ears with skewers. Even worse, a prison medical staff member once cut her veins and almost killed her with an injection.
She was stripped of all her clothing, together with other imprisoned female Falun Gong practitioners, and they were hung on wooden boards naked for 26 days straight so that the male guards and prisoners could humiliate them.
Wang was diagnosed with breast cancer in the detention center and they thought that she would not survive. She was later released but on May 9, 2007, she was illegally arrested again. According to sources, this large scale arrest was initiated by the Jilin Province Public Safety Department, the Changchun City Public Safety Bureau, and the Erdao District Police Station. Nearly 70 practitioners were illegally arrested including Wang and they were kept in the Changchun City Third Detention Center.
Since then, there was no news of Wang until October 9, 2007. The police called Wang's family and told them, “Wang had internal bleeding. The emergency rescue failed and she died on the spot.” In fact, Wang died on September 24 at the Changchun City Central Hospital but the police claimed that they did not know where Wang's body was and the details of her death.
In 2005, human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng once called Wang the “saint who escaped from the Tiger Bench” after hearing Wang's experience in the prison. The following is a quote from Wang reminiscing her experience, “The police tortured me every five minutes. They handcuffed my hands behind my back and lifted them up and down violently. I heard the sound of my shoulders dislocating. The excruciating pain almost knocked me unconscious and sweat and tears poured down my face. Immediately, they pushed my head down toward my crotch. My chest was immobilized on the Tiger Bench with iron rods and it felt like my neck was about to break.
“Since my chest and abdomen were fixed onto the bench with iron rods, I felt I was dying second by second from suffocation and the excruciating pain. They tied my ankles to iron rings with a rope and pulled on the rings so hard that I felt they would dislocate my ankles. At the same time, other police pushed my head toward my crotch. I couldn't stop shivering because of the extreme pain.”
Wang added, “They tortured me like that every five minutes. My hair and clothes were soaked in sweat, tears, and blood from my torn flesh. Again and again, I fainted because I couldn't bear the excruciating pain. Repeatedly, the police woke me up by pouring cold or boiling water on me. The boiling water blistered my already damaged skin. I wished they would just shoot me right there because I really didn't want to bear such pain.”