(Minghui.org) Two women in Sichuan Province died nine days apart in two different prisons. Their bodies were immediately cremated, and their families were only informed later when it was time to pick up their ashes.

Ms. Yan Hongmei and Ms. Hu Xia were imprisoned for the same reason – they both refused to renounce Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime.

Ms. Yan was arrested on August 4, 2014 and ordered to serve 4 years in Chengdu Women’s Prison. She developed cancer, but was denied medical parole. She died in the prison hospital on December 28, 2017. The prison authorities once claimed that they would cremate her body right away should she die in custody. Their threat came to fruition following her death.

Ms. Hu was arrested on July 18, 2015 and sentenced to serve time in Longquan Prison, though her exact jail term remains to be investigated. She was brutally tortured and possibly drugged. She died in the prison hospital on December 19, 2017.

Cancer-stricken Teacher Denied Medical Parole, Dies 4 Days Before New Year

Ms. Yan, an art teacher at Tianshui Elementary School in Chengdu City, was arrested on August 4, 2014 after being reported for talking to her pupils about Falun Gong. She appeared in court on March 7, 2015 and was sentenced to four years in prison four days later. The local appeals court soon rejected her appeal without holding a hearing or consulting her lawyer as required by law.

Ms. Yan’s health kept declining while incarcerated at Longquan Women’s Prison. She was diagnosed with cancer, but not given proper medical attention. As her condition worsened, guards eventually checked her into the prison hospital on September 2, 2017.

Her family’s repeated requests to have her released on medical parole were denied. They were also told that they would not be allowed to claim her body should she die in custody.

She passed away four days before the 2018 New Year. Her family received a notice to go to a funeral home to pick up her ashes. They were never asked for their consent of cremation.

Business Owner Succumbs to Abuse in Prison and Dies 13 Days Before New Year

Ms. Hu, around 55, was a business owner in Chongzhou City. She was tending to her store on July 18, 2015 when police broke in and arrested her. She appeared in court on March 21, 2016 and was soon convicted.

She was transferred to Longquan Prison around May 2016. Because she held firm to her faith in Falun Gong, the prison guards subjected her to various forms of torture.

A group of inmates pushed her head into a bucket of water. They then took her to a washroom and took turns beating her until she couldn't get up. They broke one of her teeth by jamming dirty underwear into her mouth. They also doused her with cold water repeatedly.

Ms. Hu refused to attend a brainwashing session on February 10, 2017. She was handcuffed to a window frame and shocked with electric batons. That night, she was moved to a different cell, where she was forced to sleep on the cement floor.

When Ms. Hu was transferred to another ward, someone who saw her up close noticed that the collar and front of her sweater were covered with blood stains and that her hands and forearms bore a lot of scratch marks. As guards often threatened to inject Falun Gong practitioners with unknown drugs, the witness who observed Ms. Hu suspected that she had been injected with unknown drugs that caused her to itch and scratch.

Ms. Hu was last seen in a hospital bed wearing an eye patch. She died 13 days before the 2018 New Year. Her daughter learned of her passing when she received a call from the prison, asking her to pick up Ms. Hu's ashes.

Related Reports:

Cancer-Stricken Art Teacher Denied Medical Parole, Prison Threatens Immediate Cremation Should She Die in Custody

Chengdu Elementary School Teacher's Prison Term Upheld in Secret Trial—Defense Lawyer Files Complaint

Abuse and Torture of Women in China's Longquan Prison