The Brutal Persecution of Elderly Falun Gong Practitioners
(Minghui.org) Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual practice based on the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. Since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began to persecute it in July 1999, many Falun Gong practitioners have been arrested, detained, and tortured for refusing to renounce their faith.
This report sheds light on the persecution of elderly Falun Gong practitioners and how they have been physically and mentally abused despite their age. Some were persecuted to death as a result of torture and tremendous pressure from the authorities.
Below are snapshots of some cases.
Persecuted to Death
To force practitioners to renounce Falun Gong, the perpetrators often employ multiple forms of torture at the same time, including beatings, shocking with electric batons, sleep deprivation, and so on. Some practitioners were tortured to death, while other died after being released on the brink of death.
After the CCP began to suppress Falun Gong in July 1999, Mr. Wang Hongzhang of Jinan City, Shandong Province, was detained many times in labor camps, prison, or other facilities.
In 2008, Mr. Wang, then 76, was sentenced to five years for his faith. In Shandong Prison he was subjected to various forms of torture, including being beaten on his buttocks with a mop handle.
Mr. Wang was released on medical parole in 2012 after he developed heart palpitations and was in critical condition. Citing his imprisonment, his company suspended his pension from 2014 to 2016 and only gave him a minimum subsistence in the last two years.
Having to take care of his mentally ill adult daughter by himself and struggling to make ends meet, Mr. Wang, a retired engineer from Jinan Steel Group, lived in poverty and despair after his release from prison. When a friend visited him on January 21, 2019, it was dismal in his home. The friend left some food and tried to cheer him up. That afternoon, Mr. Wang was found dead. He was 87.
Ms. Hu Yanshun was sentenced to nine years in prison for practicing Falun Gong after authorities altered her age from 76 to 70 in order to justify the heavy sentence. She was abused in the prison and her health drastically declined. She passed away three years after being released. She was 87.
Ms. Hu, of Daying County, Sichuan Province, was harassed, arrested, and detained multiple times for not renouncing her faith. She was convicted and given one year of house arrest in 2003 after being reported for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong.
Ms. Hu was last arrested in 2007. The Daying County Court changed her birth year from 1932 to 1938, which was soon followed by an announcement on April 23, 2008, that she had been sentenced to nine years in prison.
In Chengdu Women's Prison, the inmates verbally abused Ms. Hu and spat on her. Against her will, they pressed her fingerprints on a prepared document that said she'd renounced Falun Gong.
Ms. Hu suffered from swollen legs, sciatic nerve pain, and heart problems. She also experienced memory loss and was unable to take care of herself.
She was released on January 11, 2016, one year and four months early. The police subsequently harassed her and her family, sometimes demanding that she report to them at the police station.
Fearing police retaliation, her family locked her in and didn't let her contact other practitioners.
The local government suspended her low income subsidy with the excuse that she was a convicted criminal.
Her health rapidly declined, and she passed away on December 30, 2018, in her daughter's home.
A 76-year-old man died in Duyun Prison less than two months before finishing a two-year term for not renouncing his faith in Falun Gong.
The police showed up at Mr. Zheng Jucheng's home in early March 2019 and learned from his neighbors that he lived by himself with no family around. So they informed the neighbors of his death but didn't say exactly when he passed away.
Mr. Zheng was a construction contractor in Anshun City, Guizhou Province. His wife and daughter abandoned him more than 20 years ago after he went bankrupt when his business failed.
After he began practicing Falun Gong in 2002, he gained the confidence to start a new life. He quit many bad habits and became more open-minded and considerate.
Mr. Zheng was arrested on April 30, 2017, for distributing information about Falun Gong. He was held in the Puding County Detention Center. When his friends went to visit him, the guards took the money and clothing they brought for him but would not let them see him.
He was secretly sentenced to two years in Duyun Prison a few months later. When his friends went to visit him before the 2018 Chinese New Year, he had already been taken to the prison.
The guards ordered the inmates to torture Mr. Zheng. They poked him in the eyes with their fingers, pinched and stabbed his nose and ears with toothpicks, pinched his nipples, slapped him in the face, punched and kicked him, and hit him in the testicles. He became incontinent and paralyzed on one side of his body.
Ms. Xu Huizhu’s family and friends lost contact with her in late July 2016. They went to visit her in August, only to discover her dead body. It appeared that she had been dead for days.
It was later confirmed that the 78-year-old retired teacher in Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province, had been arrested and taken to Huangpu Brainwashing Center in July. Ms. Xu was targeted because she had filed a criminal complaint against former Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin for ordering the persecution of Falun Gong that resulted in her repeated detentions in the past.
Ms. Xu was first arrested and taken to the brainwashing center in 2001. She was arrested again three years later.
Her relatives reported her missing in September 2012 and soon realized that the police had arrested her and ransacked her home. She ended up in the brainwashing center again, this time for two weeks.
Ms. Xu filed a criminal complaint against Jiang Zemin in July 2015, only to be arrested two months later. Officers pinched her arms so hard that her skin turned blue. They hit her with water bottles and threatened to harvest her organs if she refused to sign their prepared statements. She wasn’t released until December 25, 2015. The police then had three people shadow her on a daily basis.
Ms. Xu was arrested and taken to the brainwashing center in February 2016. She was released a month later, but the police took her back to the center in July.
A Zhaoyuan City, Shandong Province, woman died hours after being arrested for refusing to renounce Falun Gong. Her son hired two lawyers to investigate her suspicious death, but the lawyers had to drop the case after the local police threatened to revoke their licenses.
Ms. Guo Zhenxiang, 82, was arrested by Mengzhi Police Station officers early in the morning on January 11, 2019, for distributing information about Falun Gong. At around 10 a.m., her family was summoned to the police station and told that she had died.
The police claimed that Ms. Guo became ill after being taken to the police station and died in a local hospital despite resuscitation attempts. Her body was then taken to Zhaoyuan City Funeral Home without her family's consent.
Suspecting that she had been abused in the police station, Ms. Guo's son hired two lawyers to investigate.
The lawyers asked to see surveillance videos recorded between Ms. Guo's arrest and her death. The police only agreed to show the footage of her arrest and denied having recordings of her in the police station or in the hospital.
The lawyers examined Ms. Guo's body in the funeral home. They found bruises on the back of her head. When they asked the police about the bruises, the officers changed their story and said that she died after taking a fall.
As the lawyers were preparing to file complaints against the police over Ms. Guo's death, the police did everything they could to stop them. They monitored and harassed the lawyers and Ms. Guo's family.
The lawyers were also threatened with having their licenses revoked and were thus forced to drop the case.
The police offered to settle the case by offering Ms. Guo's family a small sum of money. The family refused to settle. Ms. Guo's body remains in the funeral home.
86-Year-Old Woman Suffers Stroke after Being Pushed Down by Police, Dies Three Years Later
Ms. Li Xiumiao of Fuyu City, Jilin Province, used to be a healthy person who could cook for her family and do the household chores. However, she died on April 30, 2019, after suffering a stroke that resulted from a fall.
In July 2016, several police officers went to Ms. Li's house and took away her music player which she used to do the Falun Gong exercises. When Ms. Li tried to take it back, one officer pushed her down, and her head hit the edge of the Kang bed-stove.
When Ms. Li's older daughter returned home that night, she saw her mother was sitting on the Kang bed, bleeding from the back of her head, and incoherent. The doctors said that Ms. Li had suffered a stroke. She was paralyzed and unable to take care of herself thereafter.
In May 2018, Ms. Liu's daughter was arrested and sentenced to four years in prison. Less than a year later, Ms. Li died at age 86.
90-Year-Old Sichuan Man Dies Six Months after Arrest
Mr. Pan Guangxing, 90, of Wanyuan City, Sichuan Province, was reading Falun Gong books in his home on June 21, 2016, when the police broke in and arrested him.
The arrest attracted the attention of Mr. Pan's neighbors, who informed his stepson. His stepson hurried home to stop them. The police then ransacked Mr. Pan's home and confiscated all his Falun Gong books and materials.
Unable to handle the harassment and threats, Mr. Pan developed high blood pressure and diabetes and was admitted to the hospital. Mr. Pan passed away on December 5, six months later.
Ms. Wu Qiu'e lost consciousness shortly after police officers broke into her home to serve a notice threatening to punish her for filing a criminal complaint against former Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin. The 80-year-old woman from Daxing'anling, Heilongjiang Province, died just days later.
Ms. Wu filed a lawsuit in July 2015, accusing Jiang of initiating the persecution of Falun Gong, a meditation practice that restored her health and happiness.
The police showed up at her home on October 28, 2015. They took her fingerprints against her will and warned her of upcoming punishment. Ms. Wu passed out not long after the officers left.
Her children rushed her to the hospital later that day after finding out what happened. Despite resuscitation efforts, Ms. Wu passed away.
Her family suspects her sudden death was a result of the police threat, as she had been so healthy over the years that she lived alone comfortably in a sixth-floor apartment.
Though many of the practitioners were in their 70s and 80s at the time of their arrests, with some nearly 90 years old, they were still sentenced to prison for refusing to renounce their faith. Their sentences ranged from two to 11.5 years.
“We'll Detain Him Even If He's 95 Years Old!”
Mr. Yin Yucai, a former presiding judge of the Duchang County Criminal Court and former director of the Duchang County Parasitic Disease Treatment and Prevention Facility in Jiangxi Province, was secretly sentenced to three years and two months in prison on June 13, 2014.
In January 2014, Mr. Yin, then 83, was arrested for telling people about Falun Gong.
When his family went to the local detention center to ask for his release, the police told them Mr. Yin's arrest will be approved soon and said, “We'll detain him even if he's 95 years old!”
He finished serving his term in March 2017.
Prior to this, Mr. Yin was arrested on January 29, 2005 and sentenced to eight years in prison in June 2006. He had developed mental disorder caused by the physical and mental torture by the time he was released from Yuzhang Prison in Jiangxi Province on July 4, 2011.
Mr. Li Peigao, 83, was arrested in early January 2019, and taken to the Yunnan Province No. 1 Prison.
Mr. Li was previously arrested by officer Qiu Xueyan from the Xishan District Domestic Security Division on November 26, 2015. He was tried by the Xishan Court on September 8, 2016, and sentenced to four years on October 8, 2016, to be served outside of prison.
Mr. Li was arrested again by Jinbilu Police Station officers on November 24, 2018, for distributing Falun Gong calendars. His home was ransacked by Xishan Domestic Security Division officers. He was released later that evening.
Mr. Liu Dianyuan of Liaoning Province was sentenced to 11.5 years in prison in 2015 for suing former CCP leader Jiang Zemin, who ordered the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999. When his daughter visited him in Shenyang No. 1 Prison in early 2017, he was in a wheelchair and looked very weak and emaciated.
On November 9, 2015, Mr. Liu, then 78, was arrested while visiting his sister. He had been forced to leave home and move from place to place since 2010 to avoid arrest. He was sentenced 11.5 years. Prior to the latest lengthy sentence, Mr. Liu had spent seven years in prison between 2001 and 2008.
Since the persecution of Falun Gong began in 1999, Ms. Tang Liwen, 80, of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, has been arrested six times and sentenced twice to prison for a total of 15 years (once for seven years and another time for eight years).
Ms. Tang and her younger son were arrested on September 6, 2015, for telling people about Falun Gong. She was sentenced to eight years in prison and her son to seven years.
When Ms. Tang's husband, Mr. Wang Jiuwu, who was 85, learned of the arrest, he tried to appeal many times to the appropriate departments, including the police stations, the procuratorate, and the court. He also hired an attorney for their defense, but to no avail.
Unable to cope, Mr. Wang fell ill in December 2016. Whenever he was awake, he cried and said nonstop, “They are so cruel...”
He passed away on June 5, 2017.
Ms. Tang's 90-year-old mother also died of grief in 2008 when her daughter was arrested and sentenced.
Because Ms. Tang and her younger son are still in prison, neither of them know that Mr. Wang has passed away and Ms. Tang's older son, who has a mental disorder, is now left to fend for himself.
89-Year-Old Man Sentenced to Three Years in Prison, Fined 4,000 Yuan
On January 7, 2019, nine residents of Bazhong City, Sichuan Province, were convicted for their faith in Falun Gong and given prison terms of up to five years. Each was also heavily fined. Six of the practitioners are 70 years old or older, with two being over 80.
Mr. Zhang Xinwei, 89, was given three years of imprisonment and fined 4,000 yuan.
In November 2018, when the practitioners were first tried, Mr. Zhang Xinwei was seen walking into the courtroom with a cane and help from his family. He recounted how his high blood pressure, hepatitis, and tuberculosis, as well as many other ailments, disappeared after he picked up the practice of Falun Gong in 1998. He also described how he recovered from a comminuted fracture in 20 days back in 2000.
Another practitioner, Mr. Zhang Minglang, 82, was sentenced to five years in prison and fined 10,000 yuan.
Mr. Zhang, a former prosecutor himself, argued that it was his constitutional right to practice Falun Gong and he didn't violate any law by doing so. He credited Falun Gong for freeing him from over 30 years of suffering from liver and stomach problems, as well as severe rheumatoid arthritis.
Mr. Zheng Decai, 84, of Dalian City, Liaoning Province, was sentenced to one and half years in prison for not renouncing his faith in Falun Gong. He was denied family visits for a long time.
Mr. Zheng was arrested on September 4, 2017, after being reported for talking to people about Falun Gong. He was detained for 37 days and released on bail after he developed a medical condition.
The Zhuanghe City Court held a hearing for Mr. Zheng on April 12, 2018. His lawyer entered a not-guilty plea for him. The judge adjourned the hearing without issuing a verdict. His family only learned of his prison sentence on June 11, 2018, when they went to the local detention center to pick up his belongings, as directed by the authorities.
Mr. Zheng was taken to Nanguangling Prison on June 12 to serve time, but he was denied admission after failing the physical exam. He was returned to the detention center, where he exhibited symptoms of high blood pressure and abnormal rapid heart rate two days later. He also coughed up blood.
The authorities finally allowed his family to visit him after their persistent protests. He was in a wheelchair during the visit.
Mr. Zheng was admitted to Dalian Prison on August 6, 2018. When his family went to visit him on September 13, 2018, they were denied the meeting because Mr. Zheng had refused to give up practicing Falun Gong.
This is not the first time that Mr. Zheng has been persecuted for his faith. He lost his hearing after being beaten by the police when he went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong in 2000. He was arrested again in 2010 and secretly sentenced to 3.5 years in prison. He developed a heart problem and high blood pressure after being tortured in Dalian Prison for holding firm to his faith. The guards cuffed his hands and feet to the bed while he was being treated in the hospital.
82-Year-Old Guizhou Woman Sentenced to Five Years in Prison
Ms. Zhao Yingcui, 82, of Guizhou Province was sentenced to five and a half years and fined 8,000 yuan on March 19, 2019. The sentence came more than a year after she was arrested on October 16, 2017, for talking to people about Falun Gong. She was tried on December 13, 2018.
Ms. Zhao is a retired elementary school teacher. She used to suffer from many serious ailments and was in constant pain. She had nerve-blocking injections for pain management, but the doctor's carelessness caused damage to her nervous system and she began to lean to the right when she walked or stood. The pain made her quick to lose her temper and pick fights with her husband.
Most of her conditions went away after she learned Falun Gong in May 1997. She said she was healthier during the past two decades than when she was much younger.
Because Ms. Zhao shared her story, she was targeted by the authorities and sentenced to four years in prison twice, first on April 10, 2008, and then on December 14, 2012. She served the second term outside of the prison.
On the morning of April 7, 2008, Ms. Wang Yanxiang, then 71, of Daqing City, Heilongjiang Province, jumped from the window of her third floor apartment.
Having been arrested for her faith previously, Ms. Wang panicked after hearing someone knock on her door and tried to avoid being arrested. She suffered several broken ribs, a broken leg, and internal injuries that resulted in fluid in her pleural cavity.
Only a month after her fall, officers of the Honggang District Court secretly arrested Ms. Wang on June 11. At that time, her health was still fragile and she was unable to care for herself. They handed down a three-year prison sentence and she was taken to the No. 1 Detention Center in Daqing City to serve her time.
Mr. Zhao Xingyou, 79, and his wife Ms. Shi Guizhi, 77, of Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province, were both sentenced to prison in early January 2019 because they painted the words “Falun Dafa Is Good” on their courtyard wall.
Mr. Zhao was given a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence and his wife, four years. Ms. Shi was taken to the Heilongjiang Women's Prison while Mr. Zhao was taken to Hulan Prison in Harbin City.
The couple was reported to the authorities after someone who worked for the Shuangcheng Real Estate Company went to a villager's home in Shuiquan Township, where the couple live and noticed the phrase on the wall. The person took photos and sent them to the Shuangcheng District Police Department and the 610 Office.
A man on parole was sent back to prison after he was found talking to people about Falun Gong.
Mr. Ma Weishan, 81, previously a village official and manager of a private business firm, was arrested on April 22, 2014, for sending group text messages about Falun Gong. He was sentenced to five years in prison by the Sanhe City Court on November 5, 2015. The Langfang City Intermediate Court upheld the verdict on May 13, 2016.
The Sanhe City resident was later released on parole, but he was taken back into custody on September 28, 2018, for talking to people about Falun Gong at a farmers' market. Xicheng Police Station officers kept him in a detention center for a few days before taking him to Jidong Second Prison in early October to serve out his prison term.
Ms. Qu Shuyun, then 86, of Daxinganling, Heilongjiang Province, was sentenced to three years in prison in 2017 for distributing information about Falun Gong. She was put on probation for three years and fined 3,000 yuan.
In July 2016, Ms. Qu, who is illiterate and lives alone with her husband, was arrested three days after she handed information about the persecution of Falun Gong to someone who was later identified as the secretary of the local Political and Legal Affairs Committee.
Her home was ransacked. The police confiscated several Falun Gong books, photos of the founder of Falun Gong, and other items.
Although Ms. Qu was released that same day, she was frequently disturbed by the police afterward.
When she was arrested a second time, the police tried to force her to sign a guarantee statement to renounce her belief.
In the process, Ms. Qu collapsed and went into convulsions. The police ignored her, so her daughter had to call an ambulance to take her to a hospital.
After Ms. Qu was discharged from the hospital, captain Zhang of the Domestic Security Division showed up, claiming that she needed to come with him to close her case, so she went.
The captain took her all over the place, including to the procuratorate and the district court. At the last stop, they took her fingerprints, but she did not know why.
Captain Zhang lied to Ms. Qu again and told her to put her fingerprint on the verdict document to close her case. He also instructed her to put her fingerprint on a document which turned out to be a statement that said she agreed to stop practicing Falun Gong. She did as she was told but did not understand the implications of her actions.
She was then taken to a courtroom and secretly tried. When the judge and the police asked her if she would stop practicing Falun Gong, she said she would not. After Ms. Qu was sentenced, she took the verdict documents home without even understanding that she had been sentenced.
Injected With Unknown Drugs
Injecting their victims with unknown drugs is another method used by the authorities to try to force practitioners to renounce their faith. These injections, which can damage the nerves, are not only extremely painful but can also lead to mental disorder or death.
An elderly man in Chongqing was arrested on February 27, 2017, and taken to a local brainwashing center for 15 days, during which time he was given unknown drugs that damaged his central nervous system.
Mr. Zheng Kaiyuan, then 79, was targeted because he refused to renounce his faith in Falun Gong. He told his family upon his release that the drugs caused him excruciating pain. He also had blurred vision and temporary memory loss. He further developed muscular atrophy.
The retired teacher’s latest arrest came less than nine months after his arrest on June 12, 2016. He was also given unknown drugs at that time and developed similar symptoms.
Arrested and Detained
Many practitioners have been threatened and beaten in police custody. Due to the tremendous pressure they were under while in custody, some of the elderly practitioners who were later released started to fall ill.
Ms. Zou Guiqin, 90, from Balinzuo Banner, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, used to suffered from spinal stenosis, myasthenia gravis, stomach disease, and pulmonary heart disease, and she once lost consciousness for seven days in 2010. After she was paralyzed for a year and a half, she decided to recite “Falun Dafa is good” when she heard many patients had recovered after they sincerely recited the phrase. Fifteen days later, Ms. Zou could stand up by holding onto a rope, and her health then gradually improved.
She completely recovered when she started learning how to do the Falun Dafa exercises. Ms. Zou could take care of herself again and could also walk without any help, cook, and do her own grocery shopping.
People she knew asked where she had been for the past two years. She used the opportunity to tell them how she became very sick and then fully recovered after practicing Falun Dafa.
However, on November 18, 2018, Ms. Zou was arrested by three officers from the Balinzuo Banner Police Station when she was putting up Falun Dafa flyers.
She was taken to the police station and forced to sign her name. She was threatened that she would be incarcerated in Chifeng Prison. Under intense pressure, Ms. Zou became so frightened that she fainted. She was released two hours later.
87-Year-Old Woman Unable to Care for Herself after Arrest
Ms. Chen Fuzhen, 87, of Mianyang City, Sichuan Province, has been repeatedly arrested in the past for refusing to renounce her faith in Falun Gong and was once sentenced to three-and-a-half-years on probation.
On September 17, 2019, the police went to Ms. Chen's godson's tea house and arrested Ms. Chen who was resting at the shop. The police said it was to complete the formalities of the sentencing that happened a few years ago.
Ms. Chen and her godson finally returned home at night. Due to the intense pressure that she felt during the day, she accidentally fell down and injured her leg. Now she can no longer walk and needs someone to take care of her.
A police officer who beat a Falun Gong practitioner in his 80s said to him: “It's fine to beat you to death.”
Mr. Chen Zaishan from Haiyang City, Shandong Province, was doing farm work when the police showed up and arrested him on the morning of November 9, 2018.
They ransacked his home and confiscated his Falun Gong books in front of his bedridden wife. Then they took him to the Kaifa District Police Station, where a police officer beat him.
When Mr. Chen protested, the officer responded, “It's fine for us to beat Falun Gong practitioners to death.”
The police held Mr. Chen until 5:00 p.m. and then released him.
Monitored and Harassed
Another common way the authorities use to try to force practitioners to renounce their faith is by monitoring and harassing them. This constant surveillence often caused the practitioners to develop health issues.
A 76-year-old woman was fitted with a wrist monitor two months before she finished serving a one-year term outside of prison for her faith in Falun Gong. The monitor was not removed after Ms. Tang Xiuwen's term ended in June 2019.
She has also had to deal with her local residential committee staff, who visited her on a regular basis to interrogate her. The never-ending surveillance and harassment has taken a toll on her health. In recent weeks, Ms. Tang began to experience rapid weight loss, dizziness, coughing, and high blood pressure. She is also having trouble falling asleep at night.
Ms. Tang, a retired TV factory worker in Changsha City, Hunan Province, was arrested in May 2017 after being reported for handing out informational materials about Falun Gong.
Although she was released on the day of the arrest, the police found her again in 2018 and said they had submitted her case to the local procuratorate.
Ms. Tang was given a one-year term by Yuelu District Court in June 2018 and ordered to serve the time outside of prison.
The local police and residential committee staff members showed up at Ms. Tang's home in April 2019 and forced her to wear a wrist monitor that tracks her location and records her daily life in both audio and video.
The residential committee staff has also been interrogating her at home every one or two weeks, making records of her daily activities and taking her fingerprints and photo.
Elderly Man Confined to Room in Nursing Home
Mr. Liu Fenglin, 78, lives in the Fucheng County Center Nursing Home. Having benefited from practicing Falun Gong, Mr. Liu often rode his bicycle to a nearby market to tell people about his experiences.
However, since early 2018 when a man named Ni Zhigang was appointed the new president of the nursing home, Mr. Liu was stopped from going out. Ni also arranged for someone to live with Mr. Liu to monitor him.
Mr. Liu was subsequently confined to his room and all Falun Gong books and materials were confiscated. When Mr. Liu's relatives went to visit him, they were not allowed to go in.
Unable to bear the pressure, Mr. Liu escaped in April 2019 by jumping over the wall of the nursing home. He lived away from the nursing home for about five days before he was persuaded to return when nobody was willing to take him in.
Police Harassed Elderly Woman and Tried to Take Blood Sample from Her
Ms. Ma Zaizhen, 82, of Liupanshui City, Guizhou Province, lives alone and was often harassed by the police.
On March 9, 2018, they showed up at her home and tried to push her into a waiting car while many people in the neighborhood looked on.
An onlooker went up and asked Ms. Ma what happened.
Ms. Ma said, “They tried to take a blood sample from me. I told them I've been very healthy since I began practicing Falun Gong 18 years ago, and I no longer have to pay 30,000 yuan in medical expenses every month.
“I demanded to know what legal basis the police had to try to draw my blood,” Ms. Ma continued. “They flashed a piece of paper, saying it was an order from their superios. One of them grabbed my hands, and another one began making a video of me. A third person pulled out a needle, but I struggled to get away.
“They dragged me downstairs and then all the way here. It hurt so much that I couldn’t breathe.”
Ms. Li Yuanqin, 80, is a retired teacher from Caishi Street Primary School in the Jiangjin District of Chongqing. Her pension was suspended in early 2016 because she filed a lawsuit against former CCP head Jiang Zemin. Her husband, who is over 80, lives in a residential care facility.
In addition to the couple's loss of income, Ms. Li has had to deal with the stress caused by harassment from local authorities. She became blind in one eye and is now unable to live independently.
Ms. Li, a highly respected teacher, filed a criminal complaint against Jiang Zemin with the Supreme Procuratorate and the Supreme Court in 2015. Official repercussions quickly followed.
The Jiangjin District police instructed local community personnel to interrogate Falun Gong practitioners and ransack their homes on September 21, 2015.
The Jiangjin District Political and Legal Affairs Committee's 610 Office pressured the Jiangjin District Education Commission to suspend the salaries of 13 Falun Gong practitioners in the education system in early 2016. They further threatened that if any of them did not sign the “transformation” statement before January 30, 2016, they would suspend salaries of the practitioners' family members and even remove their children from government positions.
The Caishi Street Primary School and Jijiang Neighborhood Administration Office responded to the education commission's order by suspending Mr. Li Yuanqi and Ms. Li Yuanqin’s salaries.
The two practitioners went to the primary school to meet with Wang Chengfei, the school Party secretary, and Wu Hongwei, the school principal. Wang, in particular, objected to their appeal and delivered an ultimatum: “No signature, no 'transformation,' no pension.”
When Ms. Li Yuanqin went to the relevant local authorities to advocate for her livelihood, they either shirked their responsibility or further harassed her. At one point, security guards were ordered to drag her out of a government building.