Father of woman who splashed Xi Jinping poster with ink dies suddenly in jail

Dong Jianbiao's body is cremated the day after relatives report seeing it covered from head to toe in bruises.
By Gao Feng for RFA Mandarin and Yitong Wu for RFA Cantonese
Father of woman who splashed Xi Jinping poster with ink dies suddenly in jail Dong Yaoqiong [left] is shown with her grandmother and father in an undated photo.
Photo provided by an RFA listener
The father of a woman sent to a psychiatric hospital for defacing a poster of ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping has died suddenly in detention, with the authorities moving to cremate his remains amid suspicions of violence.

Authorities in the central Chinese province of Hunan incarcerated Dong Yaoqiong in a psychiatric hospital for splashing ink on a poster of China's President Xi Jinping in a live-streamed protest on social media.

Her father, Dong Jianbiao, was detained by local police after he spoke out about her treatment, and died in prison on Sept. 23, the rights website Weiquanwang quoted activist Chen Siming as saying.

Chen himself was detained after telling people about Dong's death, the report said.

According to Chen, Dong's relatives said his body was covered in signs of injury when they went to identify him in the morgue, and that the authorities had had his remains cremated just five days later.

Dong Yaoqiong was sent for "compulsory treatment" after she streamed live video of herself splashing ink on a poster of President Xi in protest at "authoritarian tyranny" on July 4, 2018.

She was then committed as a psychiatric patient in a women's ward in Hunan's Zhuzhou No. 3 Hospital. Dong Jianbiao, who was detained when he tried to visit her, has suggested the authorities put extreme pressure on her mother to sign the committal papers.

A cousin of Dong Yaoqiong told RFA that Dong's funeral took place in his hometown of Taoshui in Hunan's You county, on Monday.

"The funeral was today -- he has been interred now," the cousin said. "You can't get in there right now; there are roadblocks at all of the intersections, and they're not letting anyone through."

"Only family members and local villagers from our ethnic group can go through," the cousin said.

Dong Yaoqiong points to a poster of Xi Jinping after splashing it with ink on a street in Shanghai, July 4, 2018. Photo courtesy of @feefeefly
Dong Yaoqiong points to a poster of Xi Jinping after splashing it with ink on a street in Shanghai, July 4, 2018. Photo courtesy of @feefeefly
Beating or diabetes?
According to a Sept. 24 notice from the prison authorities, Dong died while serving a jail term at Chaling Prison.

"There were injuries from beating all over his body, blood in his anus and his eyes weren't closed," the cousin said. "The authorities said it was due to diabetes."

"They would let us take our phones, or take anything in with us; they just let us get a quick look and then they made us leave."

The cousin said Dong's body was sent for cremation the following day.

"We refused permission for the cremation but they forced it through anyway," they said. "There was nothing we could do. How are we supposed to to bear something like that?"

A Hunan resident who asked to remain anonymous said Dong had been jailed for threatening his ex-wife with gasoline after she had Dong Yaoqiong committed to the psychiatric facility.

"They needed a signature from the immediate family to incarcerate Dong Yaoqiong, and her mother was the one who signed it," the resident said. 
"Dong Jianbiao quarreled with his ex-wife, saying she shouldn't have allowed her own daughter to get locked up, but should have called for her release because she didn't have any mental illness."

"He took the gas can and said he was going to set fire to their house, so [the ex-wife' called the police, and he was jailed for three years and sent to Chaling Prison."

'Brave and optimistic'
Dissident artist Hua Yong, a friend of Dong's, said there is likely more to his death than diabetes.

"He was a very strong-minded, stubborn person, but also brave and optimistic, so we can definitely rule out the possibility of suicide," Hua told RFA.

"Given that he was alone in a prison with very tight security, he must have been beaten to death," he said.

Hua said Dong's insistence on speaking out about the authorities' treatment of his daughter was likely the main factor behind his death.

"Dong Jianbiao kept trying to see his daughter, and has been talking about her [publicly] for many years," he said. "I think the authorities were waiting for a reason to get him into prison, and just a year later, he's dead."

Weiquanwang said in a Sept. 25 report that Chen Siming, who spread the news of Dong's death, is currently incommunicado, believed detained.

Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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