(Minghui.org) After one month of hospital treatment, a man in critical condition was sent back to prison on September 9, 2020, to finish serving a seven-year term for practicing Falun Gong, a mind-body discipline persecuted by the Chinese communist regime. 

Mr. Lai Zhiqiang, a Tangshan City, Hebei Province resident, was hospitalized around early August 2020, after he began to experience difficulty breathing. He has been bedridden and largely unresponsive since suffering a stroke in 2019. The doctor who performed a tracheotomy on him suggested that they couldn’t provide further treatment to Mr. Lai and that he didn’t have much hope of recovery. The prison authorities kept shackles on Mr. Lai during the entire month of his hospitalization.

For the past year, Mr. Lai’s family has repeatedly requested his release on medical parole. The prison authorities alleged that they were willing to release him, but the decision was rejected by the local justice bureau. When Mr. Lai’s family went to the justice bureau at the prison’s suggestion, they were blocked outside the entrance. 

Mr. Lai, a taxi driver in his 50s, was arrested on March 31, 2016 while visiting another Falun Gong practitioner. His arrest was part of a police sweep of local Falun Gong practitioners during the 2016 International Horticultural Exposition in Tangshan, as the authorities attempted to prevent the practitioners from going to the public to expose the persecution. After six months in detention, he was sentenced to seven years and sent to Jidong Prison on October 17, 2016. 

The prison authorities kept Mr. Lai in the Strict Management Ward for more than three years and denied him family visits. By the time the authorities finally allowed his wife to visit him in mid-January 2020, he had lost all mobility due to the stroke in 2019. He was carried out by several guards. He had no facial expression and appeared not to recognize his wife.

Before sending him to the hospital in August 2020, the authorities held Mr. Lai in the prison clinic. The guards kept a feeding tube in his stomach and fed him through the tube every day. Without being given enough water, Mr. Lai’s lips were very dry. A few staff members occasionally used a towel to drip some water into his mouth. He often had tears in his eyes when they did that. He also moved his lips, but couldn’t talk.

Related reports:

Prison Refuses to Grant Medical Parole to Bedridden Man in Serious Condition Following Stroke

Imprisoned Man Unable to Walk or Recognize People a Year after Suffering a Stroke, Still Not Granted Medical Parole