(Minghui.org) Ms. Zhao Guiyan was arrested in July 2014 for telling people about her belief in Falun Gong. When she was released from prison three years later, she learned that her husband had died a month before. Their children had asked to have her temporarily released to see their dying father, but the prison authorities turned them down.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a mind-body practice based on the principles of the Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. It has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party since 1999.

Ms. Zhao, a resident of Qianxi County, Hebei Province, was suffering from a rare disease in 2011. No medical treatments worked, and she was waiting in pain for death. The practice of Falun Gong helped her dramatically and she recovered in just a few days. Her return to good health coincided with improvements in her family. The lives of her son and daughter took a turn for the better, and her husband's mining business was booming.

When she shared the joy of practicing Falun Gong with other people, Ms. Zhao was targeted for persecution. She was arrested on July 30, 2014, and taken to Tangshan First Detention Center. She was tortured there for eight months, before being transferred to Hebei Women's Prison to serve a term of three years.

Suffering in Prison

Ms. Zhao was forced to stand absolutely still from 6 a.m. to midnight every day for several days straight. In their attempts to force her to give up her belief, the guards and inmates slapped her in the face, poked her mouth, and broke three of her teeth. They also hung her up with her feet off the ground. The guards also forced her to listen to propaganda that defamed Falun Gong, tormenting her physically and mentally.

Ms. Zhao was later moved to Division 5, where she was forced to do hard labor without pay. Every day she got up at 5 a.m. and worked from 6:30 a.m. until 7 and often 9 p.m. The workload was heavy and she was often deprived of sleep and food.

Husband's Plight

During the years Ms. Zhao was detained, her husband also suffered tremendously. Their daughter-in-law had just a baby, but he could not do much to help. His business had trouble collecting on its accounts and was losing money.

He went to the local 610 Office, detention center, police department, and other government agencies almost every day before his wife's trial. They extorted money from him but never kept their promise to release her.

He was devastated after his wife was sentenced to three years. He turned to alcohol to ease his anguish, all the while struggling to manage his business and take care of his family.

His health quickly deteriorated. He felt unwell one day and drove himself to the village clinic. When he arrived, he stopped breathing and died not long afterward. His children begged the prison officials to let their mother see their father one last time, but their request was denied.

As Ms. Zhao returned home on July 29, 2017, she was heartbroken to learn of her husband's death just a month earlier. She recalled what he said during his last visit to her in the prison: “I hope you can get out of here and return home soon. I can't take it anymore.” She did not know those were the last words she would ever hear him say to her.

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