(Minghui.org) Falun Gong practitioners have been arrested, imprisoned, or even lost their lives since the Chinese communist regime began to persecute their faith in July 1999. Among the persecuted are senior citizens who were arrested simply for reading Falun Gong books together at private homes.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a peaceful meditation system based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.

Below are some examples of seniors being persecuted for reading Falun Gong books together.

Reading Books Together Became a Provincial Major Case

Ms. Sun Zhifen, 60, is a Falun Gong practitioner in Taiyuan City, Shanxi Province. She and her four practitioner-guests were reading Falun Gong books together at her home on June 25, 2018 when Yingze District police broke in and arrested them. Her guests were Ms. Tian Yuqin, 60, Ms. Hu Lanying, 65,, Mr. Luo Baojun, 62, and Ms. Guo Runxian, 68.

Police said plainclothes officers had followed these practitioners for a while before making the arrest. Classified as a major case, it was handled by the Central Government Inspection Team, Shanxi Province Public Security Bureau, and Taiyuan Police Department. After a trial in April 2019, all these practitioners were sentenced to prison with terms as high as 10 years and fines as high as 30,000 yuan.

Imprisonment and Death

Mr. Gong Yanzhao, a practitioner in Hechuan District of Chongqing City, had been mistreated numerous times for his belief. As he and several other practitioners were reading Falun Gong books together in April 2016, police arrested him and ordered him to renounce his belief during interrogation. After he refused to do so, Mr. Gong was sentenced to two years in prison with a fine of 3,000 yuan.

Mr. Gong's health deteriorated during his imprisonment, and he could not keep food down. Following his release on medical parole, he died on June 24, 2018, at the age of 77.

Four Elderly Women Imprisoned

Ms. Ye Ronggui, 81, Ms. Wang Xiangzhi, 70, Ms. Fang Xiaotao, in her 70s, and Ms. Meng Dexiu, 69, are practitioners in Tongling City, Anhui Province. They often read Falun Gong books together and became a target of persecution. Officers from Tongling Economic and Technological Development Police Department often followed them. Later on police arrested them as they read together again on March 24, 2018, and ransacked their homes.

The four practitioners were initially released on bail on June 20, 2018, but they were taken back into custody in July 2018 and sent to a brainwashing center. They were sentenced to prison during their trial on November 28, 2018. Their prison terms were: Ms. Ye (4 years), Ms. Wang (3 years and 10 months), Ms. Fang (3 years), and Ms. Meng (2 years).

78-Year-Old Woman Defends Herself in Court

Eight practitioners in Dongcheng District, Beijing were reading Falun Gong books together on September 6, 2018 when Donghuashi Street police broke in and arrested them. These practitioners were Ms. Wang Hong, 78, Ms. Fu Yamin, 76, Ms. Zheng Yunyun, in her 70s, Mr. Wang Shunli, 69, Ms. Liu Shengping, 70, Ms. Li Luying, Ms. Wu Ye, and Ms. Ren Lin.

Ms. Liu had chest pain and high blood pressure of over 190 following her arrest, so she was released on September 10. The remaining seven practitioners appeared in court on July 16, 2019. Only Mr. Wang Shunlin’s attorney pleaded not guilty on her behalf, while the other lawyers entered guilty pleas for their clients for fear of retaliation by officials. Nonetheless, the lawyers all agreed that reading Falun Gong books together did not cause any harm to society.

Ms. Wang Hong defended her own innocence although her lawyer pleaded guilty.

80-Year-Old Sentenced to 4-Year Imprisonment

Ms. Sun Zhongfang, 80, was arrested at home by 19 officers from Majiabao Police Station in Beijing on May 8, 2018, as she was reading Falun Gong books with six other practitioners. Except for Ms. Zhang Shuhua, who was 68 at the time of the arrest, all other practitioners were 70 or older, with the oldest one being 86. Ms. Zhang was released on bail after 15 days, while other practitioners were released on bail hours after their arrests.

A prosecutor asked Ms. Sun if she had organized the reading at her home, but she refused to answer. The local court officials held a hearing at her home on November 1, 2018 and returned on December 28 to announce that she had been sentenced to four years in prison with a fine of 4,000 yuan.

Six Elderly Practitioners Detained in Shanghai for Reading Together

Ms. Jin Shumin, 56, and five other practitioners in Shanghai were reading Falun Gong books at her home on July 15, 2019 when officers from Luoshanxincun Police Station and Pudong Police Department came and arrested them.

Ms. Jin's guests included Ms. Xie Sinan, 83, Ms. Li Cuifeng, 75, Ms. Guo Sujiao, 75, Ms. Zhang Meizhen, 72, and Ms. Sun Wenjuan, 72.

50-Year-old Woman Dies After Detention

Over 20 officers from Shimenzhai Police Station arrested four Falun Gong practitioners in Qinhuangdao City, Hebei Province as they read together at 66-year-old Mr. Gao Xingtai’s home on April 27, 2018. Mr. Gao's three guests were Ms. Li Guibin, 76, Ms. Shang Xiujun, 50, and Ms. Song Hezhen, in her 70s.

Ms. Shang was taken to Qinhuangdao Second Detention Center and fined 10,000 yuan. By the time she was released 10 days later, she had lost over 20 pounds with lower back pain, fatigue, and no appetite. As her health condition deteriorated over time, she died on June 17, 2018.

85-Year-Old Practitioner Arrested for Reading Together

When six elderly Falun Gong practitioners in Huaian City, Jiangsu Province read together at Mr. Ma Daoming’s home on June 28, 2018, police came in and took all of them to a police station. Four of the practitioners were released later that day while Mr. Ma, 85, was not released until after 3 a.m. the next day. The police also went to his home afterwards many times to harass him. When Mr. Ma refused to open the door, they climbed inside from a window and took him away to sign paperwork.

Ms. Meng Xiaojing, 62, was kept at a detention center for one month followed by a hearing on November 27, 2018. She was arrested again September 21, 2019.

Related Reports:

Three Mass Arrests in One Year in Taiyuan City, Shanxi Province

Chongqing Man Dies After Decade Long Persecution for His Faith

Four Elderly Women Sentenced to Prison for Gathering to Read Falun Gong Teachings

Seven Beijing Residents Arrested and Made to Stand Trial for Reading Book of Their Faith Together

Woman, 80, Faces 4-Year Prison Term After Wrongful Conviction for Practicing Falun Gong

Six Senior Residents of Shanghai Arrested While Reading Falun Dafa Teachings

Woman Dies from Stroke Induced by Arrest for Her Faith Two Months Ago

Additional Persecution News from China – December 10, 2018 (21 Reports)

Additional Persecution News from China – October 14, 2019 (12 Reports)