Imprisoned teacher tells his wife: 'every time we meet could be our last farewell'

03-07-2013 Physical torture

( Mr Bian Lichao was a highly regarded teacher at Kailuan 10th Middle School in Tangshan City, Hebei Province. He was sentenced to 12 years in 2012 and detained in Shijiazhuang Prison. After three months, he was pale and emaciated, his cheeks sunken, and his eyes deep-set. He also had symptoms of high-blood pressure and a heart attack. On the afternoon of April 22nd, 2013, when his wife visited him in prison, the first thing he said to her was, “Xiuzhen, every time we meet could be our farewell.”

Name: Bian Lichao (卞丽潮)
Gender: Male
Age: 48
Address: Tangshan City, Hebei Province
Occupation: Teacher at Kailuan 10th Middle School in Tangshan
Date of Most Recent Arrest: February 25th, 2012
Most Recent Place of Detention: Shijiazhuang Prison (石家庄监狱)
City: Tangshan
Province: Hebei
Persecution Suffered: Illegal sentencing, imprisonment, torture, extortion, detention, denial of medical parole, and denied visitation
Key Persecutors: Chen Zhong(陈忠), Yue Yuhai(岳玉海), An Yingwu(安英武) and Li Wenli(李文利)

Mr Bian had worked diligently as a teacher for more than 20 years. He was loved by his students and fellow teachers and had been recognized as an excellent teacher several times. However, after the persecution of Falun Gong began in July 1999, his awards were taken away when he refused to renounce Falun Gong. He never complained, but continued to work diligently.

Mr Bian was arrested on February 25th, 2012, and his family had more than 100,000 Yuan (GBP £11,300) extorted from them. On July 26th, 2012, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison. After local residents heard about what had happened, they were all sympathetic, and 279 of them signed an appeal letter with their fingerprints to call for his release.

Difficulty trying to visit him

During the past three months, Mr Bian's wife visited many government agencies in Tangshan and Shijiazhuang to get permission to see him. However, the officials of Shijiazhuang Prison kept refusing to let her visit, using various excuses. On March 5th, they at first agreed to let his family and lawyer visit him the next day. However, the next day they changed their minds and would not allow it, using the excuse of prison remodeling. They also intimidated the lawyer and tore up his letter.

Mr Bian was finally carried out to meet his wife under the watchful eyes of three guards and several inmates around 2:00 p.m. on April 22nd, 2013. He could barely walk. When his wife greeted him as he entered the room, he was unable to see her until he was very close to the window. She asked him, “I am so close to you, can you see me?” He said he could not.

He and his wife were surrounded by prison officials. Before the meeting, division chief Yue Yuhai told Mr Bian that his meeting could only last 30 minutes instead of the regular one hour.

Mr Bian told his wife during the visit that he had been given two eggs each day, one in the morning and one at night due to his poor health. This was later stopped, and now he is only served thin porridge in the morning. During the visit, Mr Bian talked for less than ten minutes before he was too tired to go; then he could only lie on the table and listen to his wife.

No reply to petition for medical parole

On December 18th, 2012, Mr Bian was sent to Baoding Prison. He was found to have severely high blood pressure during a check up. When he was transferred to Shijiazhuang Prison on January 6th, 2013, his condition seriously deteriorated. Besides high-blood pressure, he suffered a heart attack and his eyesight became very bad. The food in Shijiazhuang Prison was inadequate as practitioners were only given two big spoons of congee for breakfast, one bun for lunch, and half a bun for dinner.

On January 29th, 2013, Mr Bian had a check-up at the prison hospital. He also had an ultrasound for his head and heart; however the director, An Yingwu, told him that everything looked normal.

On January 30th, 2013, when his wife and daughter came to visit him, his heart disease was at the point of severe myocardial ischemia and myocardial infarction. His wife then mailed letters to the Shijiazhuang Prison Management Bureau and Shijiazhuang Prison to apply for a medical parole, but she did not receive a reply.

Legal rights ignored

After Mr. Bian was transferred to Shijiazhuang Prison, he repeatedly applied to see his lawyer, but the prison officials refused to give him an answer. On April 14th, 2012, division chief Yue Yuhai gave him an answer. Mr Bian also applied for medical parole, but prison director An Yingwu stated that his health was not severe enough to qualify.

Mr Bian wrote his wife more than a dozen letters and gave them to deputy chief Wang Qunniu. She never received any of them. Regular prison inmates were allowed to call home regularly, but he was not allowed to, even on Chinese New Year's, despite his repeated requests.

On February 17th, 2013, Mr Bian's wife and daughter came to the prison around 8:00 a.m., hoping to see him. However, 15 minutes after their arrival, the guards drove them away. They were taken to meet Chen Zhong, the deputy chief of the Education Department, and Zuo (given name unknown), the newly appointed chief of the Education Department. Chen Zhong said that Mr Bian was currently under a three-month term of strict control so he could not be visited. Zou said he could not make decisions because he had not understood the situation yet. When Chen Zhong talked about Mr Bian's health, he told his wife that Mr Bian did not cooperate with his treatment and the prison would not be responsible if he suddenly died. Li Wenli, the deputy chief of the Political Department, told Mr Bian, “Your wife wrote a letter to me with contents about Falun Gong. Is she a Falun Gong practitioner? Your wife has made trouble every time she's visited, so tell her to be careful.”

Persecuted by inmates

After the Chinese New Year, prison officials arranged three groups of inmates take turns monitoring and torturing Mr Bian. They did not allow him to talk or have anyone talk to him. If anyone did, they were severely reprimanded. He was not allowed to go to the toilet alone. The inmates who participated in the torture had their terms reduced. All of them followed their orders and persecuted Mr Bian physically and mentally.



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