Summary of Key Persecution Facts:
Name: Yang Cuifen (杨翠芬)
Address: Qiubei County, Wenshan Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province
Date of Death: October 2, 2013
Date of Most Recent Arrest: August 31, 2009
Most Recent Place of Detention: Yunnan Province No.2 Women’s Prison (云南省第二女子监狱)
Persecution Suffered: Illegal sentencing, imprisonment, home ransacked, detention
Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Yang Cuifen, in her sixties, suddenly passed away in Yunnan Province No. 2 Women’s Prison, where she had been incarcerated for more than four years.
Ms. Yang’s family got a phone call from the prison on the evening of October 2, 2013, informing them that she was in critical condition, and ordering them to go to the hospital to sign some documents. At the hospital, Ms. Yang's family saw that she was unrecognizable, unconscious, and barely breathing.
Ms. Yang's family were taken aback by her sudden death as they hadn't noticed anything wrong in the past four years when they visited her at the prison. She had also called her husband two days before her death, on September 30, 2013, and told him that she would be released in March of the following year.
When the family brought up questions about her death, the prison officials denied their involvement, and stated that she had died because her hypertension suddenly worsened. They also said that the prison had done its best, given Ms. Yang's situation.
The family was told to sign a document that stated Ms. Yang died under normal circumstances. When they refused to sign it, the prison officials threatened that they would cremate Ms. Yang's body and dispose of her belongings themselves if the family didn’t sign the document within a short time frame that was specified.
Arrested and Sentenced
Ms. Yang and Ms. Ye Yanfen were distributing informational flyers about Falun Dafa at Yanshan County Government family housing in Wenshan on August 31, 2009. The guard at the gate reported them to the Yanshan State Domestic Security Division and the 610 Office. They were arrested and taken to the Yanshan County Detention Center. Their homes were ransacked the next day at around 2:00 a.m. by officers from the Qiubei County Domestic Security Division and the 610 Office.
Ms. Yang was later sentenced to a five-year prison term and transferred to Yunnan Province No. 2 Women’s Prison. Those involved in Ms. Yang's death at the prison will not be able to escape their responsibility.
The Wenshan Zhuan and Miao Autonomous Prefecture is a minority area close to the border. Although there are relatively fewer practitioners in the area, the Wenshan 610 Office and the Domestic Security Division have held three prefecture-wide brainwashing sessions, and forced over 50 practitioners to attend. Since the persecution of Falun Gong began on July 20, 1999, dozens of practitioners have been arrested and harassed, and a dozen or so have been sent to forced labor camps or prisons.