[Refer to point H on China map]
Status: Tortured to death
City: Shenyang, Liaoning province
Former Occupation: Accountant
Date of Most Recent Arrest: March 2, 2005
Date of Death: June 16, 2005
Last Place Detained: Masanjia Hospital, Shenyang
Known Acquaintances Overseas: Zhao Shuhuan, former prisoner of conscience from Masanjia Labor Camp currently residing in Virginia; former supervisor of the Longshan labor camp in which Ms. Gao was tortured can also be reached in Canada through the Falun Dafa information Center.
Other information: Ms. Gao was previously detained and tortured at the Longshan forced labor camp outside Shenyang.
In 1999, the 31-year-old accountant was fired because she practiced Falun Gong. In response, she began filing legal appeals to protest the government’s persecution of the practice. She did so in spite of knowing that other Falun Gong practitioners had been jailed for the same action.
In July 2003, police arrested Ms. Gao and sent her to the Longshan forced labor camp in Shenyang. There, witnesses say she was routinely beaten for refusing to give up her practice of Falun Gong.
On May 7, 2004, Ms. Gao was summoned to an office by two labor camp officials who then tortured her with electric batons for seven hours straight. The torture seared the skin off her face, head, and neck, and she sustained severe, disfiguring burns. Her once-radiant face was left scared with blisters and her hair was matted with pus and blood.
In a desperate attempt to escape her torturers, Ms. Gao jumped from the 2nd-floor office window of the facility. She suffered several injuries and was hospitalized.
While in the hospital, Ms. Gao was under constant surveillance by Chinese police. Authorities announced she would be returned to captivity as soon as she could leave the hospital. But before this could happen, a small group of Falun Gong practitioners rescued her and Ms. Gao went into hiding.
The escape allowed people to take pictures of Ms. Gao’s disfigured face. The photos made their way overseas, where rights activists publicized them widely. Details of her case were submitted to government offices around the world, and her case was presented to the United Nations.
When Ms. Gao’s case attracted international attention, one of the Chinese Communist Party’s highest-ranking officials stepped in. Politburo Standing Committee member Luo Gan ordered the Liaoning province Chinese Communist Party Political Judiciary Committee, the Procuratorate, the Department of Justice, and the Police Department to conceal any and all information about her case, and to return her to police custody immediately.
The Shenyang City Police Department tapped the phone lines of all known Falun Gong practitioners in the region, hoping to discover her rescuers and those who publicized her case. Police carried out a manhunt and all individuals believed to have helped Ms. Gao were rounded up. At least one such individual, Mr. Sun Shiyou, is reported to have been severely tortured during this process, including having his genitals shocked by electric batons and long sewing needles inserted under his fingernails. Mr. Sun’s family members were also abducted.
Sources in China report that on March 6, 2005, police located Ms. Gao and sent her to the Masanjia Hospital. By the time her family learned of her whereabouts on June 12, Gao had lost consciousness. Her organs were atrophying and she was hooked up to a respirator. Her family members say they found her little more than “skin and bones.” Gao Rongrong died four days later at the age of 37.