(Minghui.org) The Chinese communist regime’s persecution of Falun Gong claimed 17 more lives in the first half of 2017. Due to the regime’s information blockade, the actual death toll is likely to be much higher than reported.

Twelve of the deceased Falun Gong practitioners were given prison terms ranging from 1 to 10 years. Six of them died while imprisoned, one died while serving probation, and another died while on medical parole. Four of the sentenced practitioners survived their prison terms, only to die years later.

Among the practitioners not sentenced to prison, four were arrested and facing indictment or trial. One woman died in custody four days after her arrest.

There was one other practitioner who wasn’t arrested but was frequently harassed at home by police. He died from a stress-induced heart attack.

Falun Gong practitioners are not the only victims of the persecution. Their family members have also suffered tremendously, and some have died from constant worry and stress. The first half of 2017 saw eight non-practitioners who perished after practitioners in their families were arrested.

Mr. Gao Yulin of Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province was arrested on September 21, 2016, and sentenced to four years in prison one month later. He developed high blood pressure and other ailments. His wife, Ms. Dong Yanling, worked hard to seek medical parole for him. She suddenly collapsed on April 18, 2017, while making copies of paperwork needed for medical parole. She died of cardiac arrest soon afterward. She was 61.

Ms. Wang Shuying of Jiamusi City, Heilongjiang Province was sentenced to three years in prison on March 10, 2017, after her arrest on April 8, 2016. Her mother-in-law, who relied on her, moved to live with another relative in Shanghai. The 88-year-old woman’s health quickly declined due to her constant worries about her daughter-in-law. She returned to Jiamusi on April 2, 2017, and died 18 days later.

Below is a list of the 17 deceased Falun Gong practitioners.

1. Beijing Woman Dies Weeks after Being Sentenced to Prison

Ms. Jia Yuping, 52, was arrested on December 12, 2016. The local detention center declined to admit her because she had an unusually low red blood cell count. The police, however, managed to get the local court to sentence her to one year in prison with probation right at the detention center. She returned home later that day, but her condition never improved. She passed away on January 3, 2017.

Ms. Jia’s death was preceded by multiple prior arrests for refusing to renounce Falun Gong. She once had a good job at Shenzhen Stock Exchange and enjoyed a happy family. The persecution, however, shattered her peaceful life. She was arrested three times between November 2001 and October 2005, with the third arrest resulting in two years of forced labor. She lost her job as a result, and her husband divorced her under pressure.

She moved back to Beijing to live with her father after she was released from the labor camp. Police arrested her again in late February 2014 but never informed her family. Only when her loved ones reported her missing did police confirm that she had been in police custody.

Ms. Jia was released on December 29, 2014, after she was diagnosed with rectal cancer. Police, though, never loosened their grip on her and kept harassing her at home. She moved away to live with fellow practitioner Ms. Cheng Yufeng, only to see the latter arrested by police. Another practitioner named Tian Yajun kindly took Ms. Jia in, but police arrested Ms. Tian not long afterward.

Ms. Jia kept moving around but was seized in late 2016.

2. Guangxi Woman Dies Three Months after Prison Admission

Ms. Lu Ruizhen, a resident in Luchuan County, Guangxi Autonomous Region, was arrested on May 13, 2016, and tried months later on November 4. She was soon sentenced to four years and four months in prison and transferred to Nanning Women's Prison.

Ms. Lu’s health quickly declined as a result of the abuse she suffered in prison. She was rushed to Nanning Hospital in critical condition. She died in the hospital on February 18, 2017.

3. Sichuan Practitioner Dies Eight Months After Imprisoned for Hanging a Banner about His Faith

Mr. Cheng Huaigen's family received an unexpected phone call from Jiazhou Prison, Sichuan Province on the evening of May 29, 2017, that Mr. Cheng was in a coma and on the verge of death.

Prison authorities said anyone in the family except his wife could see Mr. Cheng for the last time. They threatened to arrest Mr. Cheng's wife if she came.

Mr. Cheng Huaigen and his wife were both practitioners of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party since 1999.

When Mr. Cheng's son, brother, and five other family members hurried to the prison the next day, he had already passed away.

The unexpected death of 54-year-old Mr. Cheng came only eight months after he was sent to Jiazhou Prison in Leshan City. He was serving a four-year term for hanging up a banner that said, “The World Needs Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.”

The prison did not explain to Mr. Cheng's family how he died. A quick glance at his body did not show any visible wounds or bruises. After his family agreed to cremate his body, the prison let his family take his body back to his home in Chengdu City. The prison would pay for the funeral expenses and compensate his family with 10,000 yuan.

Mr. Cheng's family said that they had no idea of his living conditions and physical condition in the prison, and they couldn't rule out the possibility of whether Mr. Cheng was tortured in the prison.

4. Jilin Woman Dies Less Than 10 Months After Her Prison Admission

A 61-year-old woman died less than 10 months after her admission to prison to serve three years for refusing to renounce Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime.

Ms. Liu Shuyan, a Yushu City resident, was arrested for her faith on November 26, 2015. Her lawyer’s request to defend her in court was denied, and she was tried on March 29, 2016, without legal representation.

She was sentenced to three years in prison weeks later, on April 11. When her daughter protested the unfair trial and wrongful conviction, the younger woman was arrested.

Ms. Liu was transferred to Jilin Province Women’s Prison in Changchun City on July 7, 2016. She was forced to sit on a “small stool” for extended periods of time. When she went on a hunger strike in protest, the guards force-fed her for 12 straight days. Her health quickly deteriorated, and she became critically ill in early April 2017.

The prison authorities, however, didn’t send her to the hospital until April 20. They called Ms. Liu’s daughter after a medical examination concluded that she needed surgery. Having read reports of live organ harvesting of imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners, the daughter insisted that the doctors wait for her arrival before performing an operation on her mother.

It was already afternoon by the time the daughter rushed from Yushu City to the hospital in Changchun City. She saw that her mother was slipping in and out of a coma and had a very weak pulse. The doctors admitted that there was no hope.

The daughter decided to forgo the surgery and have her mother transferred to a local hospital in their hometown of Yushu City. The prison authorities, though, insisted she apply for her mother’s medical parole first.

The parole approval wasn’t issued until 1 p.m. the next day. Ms. Yu died just a few hours after she was brought back to her hometown. She took her last breath at 8:50 p.m. on April 21, 2017.

5. Anhui Man Sentenced for His Faith Dies 10 Months after Prison Admission

A Bozhou City resident spent the last two weeks of his life in a hospital ICU with shackles on his feet and police standing guard nearby. His family was only allowed to take a peek at him from outside a glass window. After he took his last breath, the authorities moved quickly to cremate his body without his family’s consent.

Mr. Bai Jie’s death came about 10 months after he was admitted to Suzhou Prison to serve 10 years for refusing to renounce Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime.

The 55-year-old man was last arrested on September 22, 2013. The police abused him so much that he had a stroke two days into his arrest. He barely survived but was still detained for more than one month before being released on bail.

Even though he was unfit to stand trial, the authorities twice had him carried into the courtroom on a gurney to face charges, in December 2015 and early 2016, respectively. He was sentenced to prison on April 11, 2016, shortly after he was taken back into custody.

Mr. Bai was transferred to prison on June 18, 2016. He had a second stroke and went into a coma on March 31, 2017, but he wasn’t sent to the hospital until 12 hours later. He died on April 14, 2017.

6. Sichuan Woman Dies Serving 10-Year Term

Ms. He Xianzhen was arrested on September 23, 2009, and sentenced to 10 years in prison on September 14, 2010. The Xichang City resident was ordered to serve time at Sichuan Province Women's Prison, where she was subjected to various forms of physical and mental torture.

Ms. He had a stroke on December 19, 2014, and was rushed to Jianyang City People's Hospital. The doctors there performed brain surgery on her. The prison authorities demanded that her family cover all medical expenses in exchange for their approval for her medical parole. Her family didn’t have the money and had to see her taken back to prison.

Ms. He’s family received a notice from the prison on February 2, 2017, saying that she passed away earlier that day. She was 67.

7. Hebei Man Dies in Prison

Mr. Guo Daoyou was a resident of Qinhuangdao City, Hebei Province. He was arrested on August 18, 2008, and later sentenced to prison. The exact length of his sentence remains to be investigated. He died in prison on February 6, 2017.

Related Reports:

Parents Jailed for their Belief, Children Calling for HelpMr. Guo Daoyou Arrested in Qinhuangdao City, Family Without Support

8. Shanghai Woman Dies 9 Months After Release on Medical Parole

A 65-year-old woman in Shanghai died about nine months after she was released on medical parole while serving six and a half years for refusing to renounce Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime.

Ms. Bai Gendi’s family suspected that her death was a direct result of her being drugged and tortured in prison. She told her loved ones after her release, “They want me to die so I can no longer save people.” By “save people,” Ms. Bai meant to inform the public of the persecution of Falun Gong.

As no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong, Ms. Bai never wavered in her faith or stopped talking to people about the persecution. For this, she was forced to pay dearly. Prior to her latest imprisonment, she had already been twice put in forced labor camps for a total of five years and once given a prison term of four and a half years.

Ms. Bai was last arrested on September 10, 2012, and sentenced to prison on May 3, 2013. She was rushed to an ER on August 24, 2016, and soon released on medical parole. She died on June 15, 2017.

9. Heilongjiang Man Dies Less Than One Year after Release from Prison

Mr. Liu Fucai of Suihua City was arrested in March 2012 and sentenced to four years in prison two months later. He was in such poor health that he had to be taken straight to the prison hospital on the day of his prison admission. The prison doctors issued a notice of critical condition five days later, but authorities at Hulan Prison claimed they’d rather see him die than release him on medical parole.

Mr. Liu later contracted tuberculosis, but the prison didn’t release him until his term expired on March 6, 2016. He passed away on February 15, 2017.

Related Report:

Mr. Liu Fucai Near Death, Hulan Prison Authorities Refuse to Release Him

10. Hubei Man Dies Two Years after Prison Release

Mr. Huang Hailin in Shayang City was seized at home around 3 a.m. on July 27, 2012, and sentenced to three years in prison on December 20. He was ordered to serve time at Fanjiatai Prison. His health never recovered after he was released in 2015.

He began to suffer from edema and pleural effusion in August 2016 and died on January 25, 2017. He was 70.

11. Liaoning Woman Dies Less Than 5 Years after Prison Release

Ms. Du Jingqin, 67, had been arrested for her faith many times prior to her death on February 24, 2017.

The local detention center ordered inmates to abuse her after she was arrested in November 2002. Two men kicked her repeatedly in the chest, causing her to spit up blood. They didn’t stop until she passed out. As soon as she came to, they kept beating her until her head was swollen and she had bruises all over her body. She was later given one year of forced labor.

Ms. Du was arrested again on May 10, 2008, and sentenced to four years in prison in January 2009. As soon as she was taken to Liaoning Women’s Prison, more than a dozen inmates held her down and kicked her.

She was once held in a walk-in refrigerator with only thin clothes on. Another time she was placed in solitary confinement for 20 straight days. Her blood pressure shot up to dangerously high levels and she was rushed to the local hospital. The guards beat her again when she returned to prison.

Ms. Du had her blood forcibly drawn, just like several hundreds of other Falun Gong practitioners imprisoned there.

Ms. Du had a stroke towards the end of her imprisonment, but the prison didn’t release her until her term was up on May 12, 2012. She suffered a brain hemorrhage on October 13, 2014, and was hospitalized for 10 days. Because her employer had suspended her health insurance due to her imprisonment, she had to pay for all of her medical expenses.

Ms. Du died on February 24, 2017.

12. Liaoning Man Dies Less Than Six Years after Prison Release

Mr. Qi Qingyuan of Liaoyang City was arrested in May 2006 and sentenced to five years in prison one month later. While imprisoned at Dongling Prison, he was subjected to various forms of abuse. His health declined as a result.

He had a heart attack six days before his scheduled day of release, June 13, 2011. His family saw him handcuffed and shackled when they rushed to visit him at the hospital.

Mr. Qi had no memories of what happened to him after he was released. He had swelling in his legs and feet, and couldn’t walk steadily. He had a stroke and died on March 20, 2017. He was 74.

13. Jilin Woman Dies 4 Days after Being Arrested for Her Faith

A woman in Changchun City, Jilin Province died four days after she was arrested for talking to people about Falun Gong.

Ms. Yu Guixiang’s son urged police to not detain his mother when they called to inform him of her arrest on June 16, 2017. The young man, who was traveling out of town with his father at the time, told police that his mother used to suffer from diabetes and a stroke, and he worried that she may have a relapse of her ailments.

The Jiutai police ignored the warning and sent Ms. Yu to the Jiutai Detention Center without having her undergo the required medical evaluation.

A guard noticed that Ms. Yu exhibited symptoms of illness soon after her admission to the detention center. He filed a report to his supervisors, but the detention center and the police refused to render medical attention or grant a medical parole to Ms. Yu.

Ms. Yu collapsed in the bathroom on the night of June 20. She never regained consciousness and died hours later. She was 65.

14. Jilin Woman Dies in Custody, Family Suspects Foul Play

A Da’an City resident died of respiratory failure while detained for her belief in Falun Gong. Her family suspects that brutal force-feeding by the guards damaged her lungs.

Ms. Han Hongxia, 57, was arrested and had her home ransacked on October 18, 2016. Sui Yanlong, then head of Da’an City Domestic Security Office, was responsible for her arrest.

The guards at Baicheng City Detention Center subjected Ms. Han to various forms of torture, including force-feeding, because she refused to renounce Falun Gong.

Ms. Han became critically ill and was admitted to Changchun Hospital on March 8, 2017. She died two days later.

Her family was shocked by her sudden passing, as she had been illness-free since she took up the practice of Falun Gong in 2008. Her arthritis, heart disease, and neck problems were all gone, and so was her bad temper. She felt compelled to tell people that Falun Gong was nothing like what the government propaganda depicted, only to be arrested for speaking out and die in custody.

15. Henan Woman Dies 3 Months after Being Released on Medical Parole

A 62-year-old woman died three months after she was released on medical parole following an eight-month detention for refusing to renounce Falun Gong.

Ms. Chai Yulan was a resident of Suzhuang Village, Zhaohe Town, Mengzhou City. The local police arrested her at home on April 19, 2016, and took her straight to Jiaozuo City Detention Center.

Officer Wang Gongjun from the Mengzhou City Police Department threatened to make life miserable for Ms. Chai when she said she’d never stop practicing Falun Gong. The detention center guards followed up by torturing her. She soon suffered a broken rib and fractured spine, and she even had trouble crawling, let alone standing or walking. She also became incontinent.

Ms. Chai wasn’t given any medical attention until it was apparent that she was in critical condition. The guards kept her hands cuffed and feet shackled while she received care at the local hospital.

Her family didn’t learn of her condition until a kindhearted person who witnessed her suffering tipped them off. They rushed to the hospital, and only then did the authorities agree to grant her medical parole.

Ms. Chai was taken back to her hometown on December 12, 2016. She died on March 23, 2017.

16. Gansu Man Dies 8 Months after Arrest

Mr. Zhang Bingwu of Jingyuan County, Gansu province was arrested on May 17, 2016, for putting up posters carrying information about Falun Gong. His family was notified on November 22 that he had a brain tumor. He was released on medical parole three days later.

Mr. Zhang's family noticed that his expression was dull and he was unresponsive. He was also incontinent. He gave irrelevant answers when asked questions. If someone put a fist up in front of him, he became very scared and quickly avoided it. He could not answer when asked if he was beaten during detention.

The family heard that a policeman told others that Mr. Zhang would die within a month, as he was seriously ill.

The family brought Mr. Zhang to the hospital on November 31. The doctor asked the family if Mr. Zhang was a drug addict, as needle marks could be seen all over his body.

When Mr. Zhang was detained, the police department forged evidence of his “crime” and sent it to the procuratorate. A hearing was originally set for December 28, 2016, and later postponed to January 4, 2017.

Before the trial in January, the judge visited Mr. Zhang's house to check if he was really unfit to attend. He commented that Mr. Zhang looked fine before leaving.

As Mr. Zhang was not in a right state of mind, he did not attend the trial on January 4.

On January 17, 2017, the family rushed him to the hospital when they noticed that he was in pain and twitching. He was transferred to another hospital in critical condition.

Different symptoms started to appear: redness, pustules, rash and small blisters. In the next two days, a series of tests showed that he had a malignant tumor in his brain, and his brain showed a high level of fluid accumulation, which may have been caused by trauma. He slipped into a coma the next day after being admitted to the hospital.

The family took him home on January 22, 2017, as they decided not to proceed with the surgery on that day.

When he was awake while at home, the family tried asking him questions, but he could not describe what had happened while he was detained. Mr. Zhang passed away on January 26, 2017.

After his death, the judge still harassed the family on February 6, 2017, via phone calls.

17. Jilin Man Dies after Long-term Harassment from Police

Mr. Sun Yufa was a resident of Baishan City, Jilin Province. He filed a criminal complaint in 2015 against former Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin for initiating the persecution of Falun Gong.

Police kept harassing him upon learning of his complaint. He was forced to live away from home for three months. He later returned home, only to be harassed by police again. His heart problems worsened in March 2017 when his daughter was sentenced to three years in prison for refusing to renounce Falun Gong. The elderly man passed away soon afterward. He was 72.