An amputee in China recently died after being tortured, harassed, and abused by authorities on-and-off for nearly two decades because of his faith.
Wang Xinchun lost both of his feet in 2002 at the age of 26 after being tortured by local policeman who were targeting Wang because of his belief in the spiritual discipline Falun Gong, according to Minghui.org, a U.S.-based website that serves as a clearinghouse for the persecution of the practice that is banned in communist China.
Since that time, frequent arrests, detentions, torture, and harassments caused Wang’s health to severely deteriorate.
He died in April at the age of 43 after suddenly losing consciousness. Two months earlier, Wang had become paralyzed on the left side of his body.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline consisting of meditation exercises and a set of teachings centered around the principles truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, according to its website. The discipline surged in popularity in China in the 1990s, with around 70 million to 100 million people practicing by the end of the decade, according to the estimates cited by Western media at the time.
Perceiving this popularity as a threat to its totalitarian control, the Chinese Communist Party banned the practice in 1999, launching a brutal campaign to “eradicate” Falun Gong.
Wang, a computer technician from Yichuang city in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, began practicing Falun Gong in 1998 at the age of 22. At the time, he was suffering from pancreatic cancer, but after three months of doing the meditation exercises, the illness disappeared, as well as his ascites, according to Minghui.org.
After the persecution of Falun Gong was unleashed in 1999, Wang refused to renounce his faith in the practice and thus became a target for local police.
In January 2002, Wang was on his way to distribute information flyers about the regime’s suppression of his faith when he was arrested and searched by three policemen, including the chief of police, Wang said in a personal account published on the website.
Wang managed to run away from the police but was forced to head into the mountains to evade them. Police pursued him overnight and into the next morning.
While Wang was in the mountains, he accidentally stepped knee-deep into a river in which the water was freezing cold from the harsh winter. His wet legs soon iced up.
In the meantime, the police surrounded the mountain. After two days evading police in the unfamiliar terrain, Wang was arrested.
He was then taken to a police station, where he was repeatedly slapped in the face and had his personal items confiscated, including his cell phone, coat, and money.
Police then soaked his feet in a basin of scalding water—not the correct treatment method for frostbite. As a result, Wang’s feet became swollen, making it difficult for him to stand up.
“This is the cruelest way of stabbing people without using a knife,” Wang said. “When they arrested me on the mountain, I was still able to walk, and I was not totally frostbitten. Only when they washed my feet with hot water did my feet truly suffer injury.”
Upon returning home, Wang’s feet started to fester and slowly decompose. Eleven months later, both his feet had to be amputated.
Prior to the persecution, Wang ran an electrical appliance repair shop. But police later confiscated the computers that he used to run his business, forcing him to shut down the shop. He later opened a shoe repair shop, but had to close that too when he was sent at a detention center.
After his release, he opened another small shoe repair shop, which was also closed by the police department.
During the two decades, Wang was detained on several occasions, and beaten, tortured, and harassed by police more than a dozen times—despite his disability.
On one occasion, police tortured Wang while he was detained at a station. Wang protested the detention by going on a hunger strike. On the fifth day of his hunger strike, officers dragged Wang onto a large metal rack, and stretched his arms and legs out in four directions, buckling them onto hoops connected to a rack. Since he did not have feet, the police couldn’t buckle his legs, so they wrapped his thighs with wire and tied that to the hoops.
While Wang was tied up in this position, police kicked him in the head, chest, abdomen, and ribs. As a result, he sustained a large amount of swelling on the head.
Wang was tied up on the rack for five days, and was force-fed daily by a tube inserted through his nose into his stomach. These force-feeding sessions caused Wang to vomit and lose consciousness.
The local police were unrelenting in their attacks on Wang, targeting him for arrest, beatings, or detainment, both while he was at and away from home.
During one beating at the hands of local authorities, the perpetrators told Wang: “Beating you does not violate the law. With the Communist Party in power, beating people is not in violation of the law. The Communist Party is the law.”