|about Bernhard Wilden| | study in China| |last stay at home| |last days of his life| |message of his death|
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Immediately after we received the news of Bernhard's death we published an obituary notice in the Cologne Newspaper. Afterwards, I received a phone call from a young employee of this newspaper. He was a class-mate of Bernhard and had known him.
I had several conversations with him but these were very difficult as I sobbed throughout most of our conversations. On 30 December 2006 an article appeared in the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger about Bernhard Wilden's death.
Knowing also that Bernhard had been active in the forums of the Catholic news service kath.net I wrote to them informing them of Bernhard's death. An article appeared on their news service on 4 January 2007 announcing his death (www.kath.net).
Mention of Bernhard's death appeared in other places, as well. On 3 January 2007 a story appeared at www.china-intern.de which highly criticised the Chinese Communist Party.
This dispatch particularly mentioned Office 610 a secret office established on 10 June 1999 by order of Jiang Zemin who reigned as president of the Communist Republic from 1993-2003.
The official website of the United States government describes Office 610 as follows:
Falun Gong cases are often handled outside normal legal procedures by a special Ministry of Justice office, known as the 610 office. During the past year, the 610 office was implicated in many allegations of abuse.
Falun Gong writes about the office 610 on its Internet site
Statements to the effect all deaths are to be considered suicides and in cases of deaths with unidentified victims the bodies should be burned immediately.
The internet site www.chinaaid.org speaks of persecutions throughout China and describes police and army raids, arrests, prolonged interrogations and unlawful imprisonment and widespread persecution of Christians.
Sadly, like most westerners, I knew nothing about these abuses until after Bernhard's death.
On 10 January 2007 an article appeared in the German Epoch Times entitled "Death in Beijing - Why did Bernhard Wilden die?"
A year later, on 10 February 2008 an article appeared in the WELT AM SONNTAG entitled "Did Chinese agents kill a young German?"
As far as the German and Chinese authorities were concerned, no official reaction resulted.
On the morning of 24 December 2006, we received news of Bernhard's death. About two hours later, a police officer brought us to the local police station. There a local official spoke with us for some time but he was not interested in what we had to say about our immediate suspicions about our son's death.
On 8 January 2007 I sent a letter to the German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, at Berlin with a detailed description of the case as we knew it. Three days later I received a short reply from the Foreign Office. An employee in the office wrote on behalf of the foreign minister sending my husband and I his deepest sympathy". The letter also informed us that if there would be "further developments" in the case, the German Embassy in Beijing would inform us directly.
Following receipt of this letter from the staff of the German Foreign Minister, I sent an email message to the German Embassy in Beijing. The response was rapid, arriving the next day, but the contents were meaningless and unhelpful. I responded to this message as well but no reply returned.
As no word was forthcoming, on 18 February 2007 I also sent a letter to the Embassy of the People's Republic in Berlin describing the situation in specific detail. They did not respond.
I had also written a second time to the German Foreign Minister at Berlin. This letter was sent on 28 January 2007. This letter, also, was never answered.
Several months passed when I decided to write directly to the Chinese Prime Minister in Beijing, Wen Jiabao (5 May 2007).
Very shortly afterward, I received a letter from the Chinese Ambassador in Berlin. He wrote that our son had been a good student, saying: He held firmly to the discipline and the rules of the university and the law of China and had never been in conflict with the law. He also wrote that the Beijing police should examine the video recording from the surveillance camera at the building of science and technology at the University of Mines showing Bernhard climbing up the fire stairwell alone at 5:13 pm on 23 December 2006. His fall took place at 5:29.
Naturally, I wanted to see this video for myself.
I was grateful for the communication from the Chinese Ambassador and I wrote to tell him so but most of all I needed to express to him my doubts about the statement. I asked him to permit me to see this video for my own inspection.
A staff member of the Chinese Embassy responded to my letter on behalf of the Ambassador at Berlin. He informed me that the video could not leave China as it was consider 'proof'. Why would there be need of evidence or proof? Proof of what? I now knew beyond a doubt that the Chinese were hiding the truth.
If ever proof was necessary it was now!
Before this last contact came, my husband had already determined to return to China to find out more for himself. We planned this trip for November 2007.