Family of Christian Martyr Pushing for Investigation

A Chinese martyr's family is seeking closure in regards to her cause of death
( [email protected] ) Dec 22, 2004 10:54 PM EST

The family of Jiang Zongxiu, who died under police custody last June, is pushing for the Chinese government to launch a deeper investigation into the death of the woman. Jiang was a villager who had resided in the Baishi Village, Ganshui Township, Oijian County, and Chongqing City.

Last year, 34 year-old Jiang had been spotted distributing Bibles and Christian literature at the local market near her home. Jiang soon encountered local police whom promptly placed both her and her mother-in-law under arrest. Policemen proceeded to take both women to the police station for interrogation. Afterwards both women were sentenced 15 administrative detention by the Tongzi County Public Security Bureau of the Guizhou province under charges for “spreading…rumor and disturbing the social order.” The next day, afternoon, Jiang was pronounced dead – reportedly from a “sudden illness.”

Nonetheless, Jiang’s family expressed second thoughts concerning official police reports. In a video released on the Voice of Martyrs website, Jiang’s family pleaded for further investigations. According to the Voice of Martyrs, Jiang’s husband was allegedly informed by the PSB to cremate Jiang’s body in less than three days. Suspicious of fowl-play, Jiang’s husband quickly requested an autopsy. In a video release by VOM, Jiang’s body bore clearly visible scars from bruising mainly on the calf, thighs, arms, neck, and back.

“My wife went there and they beat her to death,” Jiang’s husband said. “She had no sickness and no illness at all.”

“The PSB use testimonies to cover it up. You see the photos of her! She looks very strong, healthy, and she was very well. She helped harvest all the crops in the field. These are the photos showing she was beaten to death. You can see her neck and shoulders and all the wounds. These photos show clearly she was beaten to death. I ask the government to give me justice because we have a four year-old son!” Jiang’s husband could be seen on video shaking from a mixture of sorrow, grief, and outrage.

Almost in reply Jiang’s four year-old son whispered, “I want mom. I want to have mom.” The video of Jiang’s family was secretly smuggled out of the country before being made public on the VOM website.

“That night Sister Jiang was literally beaten to death by the police,” VOM’s Todd Nettleton claims in an interview with Agape Press. “At one point, the ladies were separated and then they were brought back together, and Sister Jiang told her mother-in-law that she was in a lot of pain, that she had been abused [and] beaten. Then the ladies were separated again -- and that was the last time any of her family saw her alive.”

So far, local Chinese police officials have maintained their stance that Jiang died of more natural causes. According to the official court transcript, the coroners ruled out physical assault as being the cause of death, but insists that Jiang died from a complication involving a “fat heart.” Nonetheless, the court has not commented on the autopsy photos secretly taken by Jiang’s family and release on the VOM website. Jiang’s family alleges that Jiang’s body was visibly wet with blood upon first inspection. So far, the government has not explained the cause of the injuries seen on the video, still maintaining their stance that Jiang died from natural causes.

Currently, Jiang’s family is lobbying on Jiang’s behalf, and for the Chinese government to release more information regarding her death. The family is now pushing for Jiang’s second autopsy and for the government to reexamine the case. Representing Jiang’s family, the VOM recently issued a statement urging all US Christians to write letters to the China consulate in Washington D.C. As of now, the Chinese government has not openly released a statement in regards to this issue.