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Still No Justice for Outstanding Teacher Who Died in Police Custody
December 10, 2012 | By a Minghui correspondent in Heilongjiang Province, China
Name: Li Fengxia (李凤霞 ) Gender: Female Age: 54 Address: Unknown Occupation: Teacher at Jagdaqi District No. 6 Middle School in Daxingan Ridge Date of Death: April 28, 2011 Date of Most Recent Arrest: August 5, 2010 Most Recent Place of Detention: Alihe Detention Center (阿里河看守所 ) City: Jagdaqi Province: Heilongjiang Persecution Suffered: Detention
(Minghui.org) Ms. Li Fengxia was a teacher at the Jagdaqi District No. 6 Middle School in Daxingan Ridge, Heilongjiang Province. She was arrested on August 5, 2010, after hiring a lawyer to defend her brother Mr. Li Fengfei, who had been unjustly arrested and detained because he was a Falun Gong practitioner. Sun Quan and other officers from the Domestic Security Division of the Alihe Police Department in Oroqen Banner, Inner Mongolia arrested her. Ms. Li’s family went to the detention center several times to visit her but were not allowed. Ms. Li died in police custody on April 28, 2011, at the age of 54, after eight months of detention. The Alihe Police have still not provided an explanation for her death, nor have they released Ms. Li’s body to her family.
Ms. Li Fengxia
Ms. Li Fengxia’s brother, Mr. Li Fengfei, 52 years old, is from Dayangshu Township, Oroqen Banner, Inner Mongolia. An agent from the town’s police department, Li Benxue, and officers from the Oroqen Banner Criminal Police Brigade broke into Mr. Li’s house without a search warrant during the evening of March 29, 2010. The police found no evidence of criminal activity or of Mr. Li’s involvement in Falun Gong, but confiscated his wife’s cell phone.
Mr. Li was illegally arrested and held for four days at the Dayangshu Police Department where he was tortured to the point that he could barely walk. On April 2, 2010, he was transferred to the Alihe Detention Center where the guards made criminals brutally beat him.
Upon hearing about the abuse of her brother, Ms. Li Fengxia went to the Dayangshu Town Police Department several times to demand her brother’s release. On one occasion, a police officer—who is also an assistant to Hou Qingjie, the deputy head—punched Ms. Li, pulled her hair, and choked her. “Nobody dares to speak up for Falun Gong in Inner Mongolia,” he said. “Now you are demanding his release. You have such nerve.”
Ms. Li hired a lawyer from Beijing to defend her brother. When the lawyer and Ms. Li Fengxia arrived at the detention center, however, they were told that they could not meet with Mr. Li unless they obtained a signature from the head of the detention center. But Zhang Yanhua, head of the detention center, refused to sign the required document. Ms. Li and the lawyer went to the Political and Legal Affairs Committee for a resolution, but they were not provided any assistance. So they were unable to meet with Mr. Li. The Alihe Court staff eventually agreed to allow the lawyer to review Mr. Li Fengfei’s files, but they were not allowed to make any copies.
The trial of four Falun Gong practitioners including Li Fengfei, Sun Lifeng, Liu Chunxun, and Chen Li commenced on the morning of August 2, 2010. The lawyer entered a not-guilty plea for Mr. Li. The public prosecutor could not defend the charges. The court officials were disconcerted by the not-guilty plea and the defense by Mr. Li’s lawyer.
After the trial, plainclothes officers from Dayangshu Town Police Department followed Ms. Li Fengxia home. On August 5, 2010, they arrested her and confiscated her work computer. Her family was not allowed to visit her at the detention center.
One day after the 2011 Chinese New Year, the Alihe Court tried Ms. Li. No family members were present. The court returned the case to the police department because of insufficient evidence. Yet the police department refused to release Ms. Li. Ms. Li’s family requested her release many times, but the department repeatedly refused. The police did not allow any family visits either.
On the afternoon of April 28, 2011, officers from the Alihe Police Department went to the Jagdaqi District No. 6 Middle School to see the principal Si Bingjiang, claiming that Ms. Li died of cerebral hemorrhage at the detention center at noon on April 28. The school then notified Ms. Li’s husband Mr. Li Wanlin.
Ms. Li weighed only 90 lbs when she died, a significant drop from 140 lbs before the arrest. The Alihe Police Department cannot provide a explanation for Ms. Li’s death. Ms. Li’s body is still stored in the Alihe Mortuary. The authorities have not allowed her family to see her body.
Ms. Li’s brother Mr. Li Fengfei was sentenced to three years in prison. Mr. Li’s teenaged son, who had mental retardation and received a lot of care from Ms. Li, died of illness soon after his mother’s death.
Ms. Li Fengxia was healthy and had no illness prior to the arrest. She died after eight months of detention. Her family does not dare to speak up because of fear. We hope that justice can be returned to Ms. Li and her family.