While in custody, he allegedly died of “sudden myocardial infarction.” His wife “disappeared.”
by Yu Chuntao
“Heart attacks” are becoming an epidemic among detained Chinese dissidents.
On October 16, relatives of Ye Zhong, a Fujian human rights activist, were informed by the Complaints Office of the Fuzhou Public Security Bureau that he had died of “sudden myocardial infarction” while in custody in the Jin’an district, one of the six urban districts of the prefecture-level city of Fuzhou.
Relatives had been inquiring about Ye’s and his wife Li Meiying’s whereabouts for several days after the couple had been detained last month. They got no answer about Li Meiying and her fate remains unknown.
Ye had become a celebrity among Fujian dissidents. Like others, he started protesting forcible demolition of homes but had later converted himself into an advocate for the broader issue of transparency, human rights, and democracy. He openly criticized Mayor of Fuzhou Municipal District Wu Xiande and Jin’an District CCP Committee Secretary Lin Tao for their tyrannical rule and the use of the dreaded “black jails” to detain and forcibly indoctrinate all kind of dissidents.
“Black jails,” officially called “legal education centers,” are hotel rooms or apartments where inmates are kept 24/7 and subject to intense indoctrination, with credible claims of torture. Ye Zhong was familiar with “black jails,” having been detained there repeatedly himself, and in psychiatric hospitals as well. He was also among those detained to prevent protests in coincidence with the China-Central Asia Summit in May this year.
He was taken away by the police on September 12 during a dinner that included other human rights activists of the Fuzhou area. When exactly he died is unknown, and his relatives were not aware of any pre-existing heart condition. They may guess what happened, though, as several other dissidents have died in custody in similar suspicious circumstances.