Practitioners of the meditation group Falun Gong illegally detained in China’s labor camps have been subjected to forced labor, brutal torture, and even killed for refusing to give up their faith, exclusive undercover footage obtained by Fox 11 in a special investigative report reveals.
The report, which aired May 20 on the Los Angeles channel, tells the story of a family from California who is battling with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to retrieve the dead body of a loved one they say died while imprisoned in a women’s labor camp in Jilin Province almost 20 years ago.
Falun Gong was outlawed by the CCP on July 20, 1999, and since then, millions of practitioners have been illegally detained. At least 4,304 Falun Gong practitioners have been persecuted to death since it was banned, according to incomplete statistics provided to the website Minghui.org.
TONIGHT: Almost 20 years after their loved one died inside a Chinese labor camp as a #FalunGong prisoner, a California family is fighting back against the communist government, which is STILL holding her body to this day. Jaw dropping, never before seen undercover video at 10pm. pic.twitter.com/fwkVkU9oxb
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) May 21, 2019
The investigation, titled, “Sister’s Salvation,” follows the story of two Chinese sisters who were arrested for holding signs in support of the spiritual practice group in Tiananmen square in 2001.
Sisters Yifei and Kefei Wang were both arrested, separated, and imprisoned. But while Yifei was eventually released, Kefei died after four months in the labor camp. The family was told that Kefei, who was just 30 at the time, died from a heart attack.
Nearly two decades later, the family is still fighting for justice and for her body to be released. They believe Kefei died from torture after they saw her condition at the hospital.
Yifei, who formerly worked as a journalist for the CCP, now lives in California after fleeing the country.
Speaking to Fox 11, she broke down as she remembered her sister. “I can’t even think about her, because when I do, it always breaks my heart.
“I think about when we were young and would play together, she was a brilliant girl.”
In 2015, Yifei’s husband, Gordon, traveled to China and secretly recorded his visit to the very camp where the family believes Kefei was killed.
SNEAK PEEK: In communist #China, millions have been arrested & sent to labor camps for supporting #FalunGong. Many tortured & killed. Tonight, NEVER before seen video from INSIDE those camps, given to us by a former prisoner who is now marked for death for filming it. 10pm @FOXLA pic.twitter.com/JjjJgRHJ8v
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) May 21, 2019
“It’s been 15 years and we haven’t seen it, we just want to see the body,” a family member can be heard saying in the clip.
The director of Jilin camp responded, “It’s still here. We pay the morgue fees every year, I sign for it every year, every six months.”
The director then added the family could only see Kefei’s body if they agreed “she died naturally.”
“To put it simply, director, she didn’t die of normal causes!” Kefei’s family replied.
Fox 11 also obtained exclusive undercover footage from a former prisoner of Masanjia Labor Camp, and a family friend of Yifei Wang.
After bribing a guard, Yu secretly recorded the daily lives of the prisoners of conscience.
Footage secretly shot by Yu during the 2008 Beijing Olympics shows rows of prisoners working at desks, dressed in bright orange uniforms. Yu told Fox 11 they were making diodes and other products to be sold around the globe.
A prisoner can be seen resting under the desk, which Yu told Fox 11 was from exhaustion.
Yu risked his life to smuggle the footage overseas, he told the channel. “If you’re ever caught doing this kind of thing, videotaping the details of what’s happening in these camps, you would lose your life,” he said.
“The CCP has a quota of people to be killed, and I am one of them.”
— FOX 11 Los Angeles (@FOXLA) May 21, 2019
Separate footage filmed by Yu using secret recording devices hidden in everyday objects such as car keys and a watch, captures the final moments of a Falun Gong practitioner as he lies on a hospital bed in a vegetative state.
He was allegedly tortured by police at the Mansanjia Labor Camp for his beliefs and can be seen shackled to his bed. The man is evidently underweight, and has marks on his skin.
Another clip dated June 30, 2004, shows a gaunt, severely underweight woman. The footage obtained by Fox 11 shows several prisoners who had been allegedly tortured and beaten, and had rotting, blistering skin.
Responding to the clips obtained by Fox 11, Shawn Steel, California Republican National Committee, told the channel it is “unbelievable” and almost “too much for television.”
“But it’s such an important story because there are millions of people involved … If we put a spotlight on it, maybe we can actually help save the lives of many people we don’t even know,” he added.
“A heart attack on a 30-year-old woman, it’s of course a typical lie you get from a totalitarian regime.”
Speaking to Fox 11 immediately after the report aired, the investigation’s main reporter, Bill Melugin, said Kefei’s family will continue to press the CCP to return her body.
“The family are hoping to have a formal funeral for her [Kefei] and more importantly, they want an autopsy. Again, the camp told the family that she died of a heart attack at around 30-years-old.
“The family doesn’t believe that, they saw her at the hospital—they want an autopsy and want to check for blunt-force trauma on her bones, that sort of thing,” Melugin said.