(Minghui.org) Seventeen more Falun Gong practitioners lost their lives between January and early April 2020 as a result of the persecution of their faith.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is an ancient spiritual and meditation discipline based on the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. It has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since July 1999. 

Six practitioners died as a result of torture and abuse in custody, while the remaining eleven passed away after they were released from detention or as a result of intense police harassment. 

The deaths occurred in seven provinces, including eight in Liaoning, two each in Heilongjiang, Hunan, and Henan, and one each in Jilin, Sichuan, and Guangdong.

The practitioners, of which nine were female, were from all walks of life, and included a music teacher, a former military doctor, a retired school principal, and an aircraft engineer. Three practitioners were in their 40s, ten in their 50s and 60s, and three in their 70s and 80s; the age of one of the deceased is unknown. 

As of April 17, 2020, 4,408 Falun Gong practitioners are confirmed to have lost their lives as a direct result of the communist regime's persecution of their belief. Due to the difficulty in getting information out of China, the actual number is likely much higher.

Deaths in Custody

Retired School Principal, 78, Dies in Prison While Serving Time for Her Faith

Ms. Li Guirong, a retired elementary school principal in Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, died in Liaoning Province Women’s Prison in mid-January 2020, only weeks before the end of her five-year term for practicing Falun Gong. She was 78.

Ms. Li was arrested on February 7, 2015, after being reported for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong. She was sentenced to five years by the Hunnan District Court on June 24, 2015.

Ms. Li’s latest arrest came only 15 months after she finished serving a seven-year prison term, also for her faith.

Imprisoned Jilin Woman Dies Suddenly, Family Suspects Abuse

Ms. Xiao Yongfen died suddenly on January 31, 2020, while serving a seven-year term in the Jilin Province Women’s Prison for her faith in Falun Gong. She was 64.

Ms. Xiao Yongfen

Ms. Xiao Yongfen’s family received a call from the prison at around 4:00 p.m. on January 31, 2020, and were told that she had fallen while taking a shower. The caller said she was undergoing emergency treatment at the prison while waiting for an ambulance to arrive. 

The prison called Ms. Xiao’s family again ten minutes later and said that she had passed away on the way to the hospital. Her body was cremated on February 1.

Ms. Xiao’s family suspects that she was abused in prison, where many Falun Gong practitioners have become disabled or died after being subjected to various forms of abuse, including beatings, sleep deprivation, and electric shocks.

Mr. Zhang Zhencai Reportedly Dies from “Cancer" in Prison

Mr. Zhang Zhencai, of Heishan County, Liaoning Province, died on February 7 while serving a 23-month term.

Mr. Zhang and his wife, Ms. Zhang Lianrong, were arrested on July 14, 2019, for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong. They were sentenced to 23 and 26 months, respectively, by the Heishan County Court. 

Mr. Zhang was sent to a prison in Dalian City, Liaoning Province. A prison guard called his family on January 23, 2020, to say that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Two weeks later, the prison informed Mr. Zhang's family that he had passed away. The name of the prison and more details about his death remain to be investigated.

His wife is still imprisoned at the Masanjia Ward of Liaoning Women’s Prison.

Aircraft Engineer in Critical Condition Denied Medical Parole, Dies in Prison

Mr. Hu Lin, a Shenyang City, Liaoning Province resident, died on February 16, 2020, while serving two years for practicing Falun Gong.

Mr. Hu Lin

Mr. Hu was arrested on May 23, 2019, for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong. He started a hunger strike to protest the persecution after he was sent to the Faku County Detention Center. He was tied to a bed in a spread-eagle position and force-fed. The guards left the feeding tube in his stomach in order to increase his suffering.

Mr. Hu was sentenced to two years by the Faku County Court on June 20, 2019, and sent to Kangjiashan Prison on October 30, 2019. 

Despite being emaciated, having no sensation in his legs, and suffering organ failure, the prison authorities denied him medical parole because he shouted, “Falun Dafa is good” after he was taken to Kangjiashan Prison. The prison guards said they wouldn’t release him “even if he died.”

On the evening of February 14, 2020, the prison called Mr. Hu’s older brother, Mr. Hu Shuang, and said that Mr. Hu had been sent to the hospital for emergency treatment. He died two days later.

Mr. Yu Yongman Dies in Custody Three Months After Arrest

Mr. Yu Yongman, a 65-year-old resident of Liaonyang City, Liaoning Province, died at the Liaoyang Detention Center on February 23, 2020. Officials claimed the cause of death was “sudden illness,” but an autopsy indicated that one of his ribs was broken and he also had tear injuries in his lungs.

Mr. Yu, an employee of the Liaoyang Petrochemical Company, was arrested on November 15, 2019, while reading Falun Gong books with several other local residents. The authorities accused him of installing satellite dishes to receive signals from New Tang Dynasty (NTD), an overseas television station known for reporting uncensored information about China.

Mr. Yu Yongman

Mr. Zou Liming Dies Six Months into His Prison Term

Mr. Zou Liming, a resident of Panjin City, Liaoning Province, passed away on March 8, six months after being imprisoned for practicing Falun Gong. 

Mr. Zou was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison in 2015 for talking to people about his faith. He was exempted from serving time due to his physical condition. 

In September 2019, the authorities took Mr. Zou back into custody at Nanshan Prison in Jinzhou City and then transferred him to Dalian Prison in November. His family wasn’t allowed to visit him. 

On February 7, 2020, his family received a call from Dalian Prison telling them that Mr. Zou had fallen into a coma and had been sent to the hospital. The prison provided no details regarding what had caused his coma. 

Mr. Zou passed away one month later. He was 66 years old.

Deaths Due to Torture in Custody or Harassment

Hunan Woman Dies After Cancer Recurrence While Imprisoned for Her Faith

Ms. Fan Wenxiu passed away on January 21, 2020, from cancer, two years after she was released on medical parole from serving time for her faith. She was 53.

Ms. Fan Wenxiu in the hospital

Ms. Fan, a Yueyang City, Hunan Province resident, was arrested on September 1, 2017, for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong and was later sentenced to 3.5 years in prison and fined 5,000 yuan.

She was subjected to intensive brainwashing at Changsha Women’s Prison, aimed at forcing her to renounce her faith. Her cancer that was cured by practicing Falun Gong soon recurred due to the mental pressure. She also suffered colon perforation.

Ms. Fan underwent surgery on July 27, 2018, for ovarian cancer. Only then did the prison approve her medical parole. 

The police still harassed her at home from time to time. Her health continued to deteriorate and she passed away at a local hospital on January 21, 2020.

Heilongjiang Man Dies After 12 Years of Imprisonment and Subsequent Harassment

Mr. Li Huifeng passed away on January 28, 2020, eight days after he had a stroke due to the mental pressure from the persecution of Falun Gong. He was 48.

Mr. Li, a resident of Qiqihar City, Heilongjiang Province, served 12 years in prison for refusing to renounce his faith. In prison he was subjected to various kinds of torture, including extreme stretching, electric shocks, and savage beatings.

The police constantly harassed Mr. Li after he was released in January 2013. Even after he moved to other cities to avoid the persecution, the police always managed to find him and sometimes harassed his family as well.

The police harassed Mr. Li at work prior to the communist regime’s 70th anniversary of its founding in October 2019, leaving him in deep distress. He had a stroke on January 20, 2020, and died eight days later.

Imprisoned Woman Released in a Vegetative State, Dies a Year and a Half Later

Ms. Wu Xiufang, of Fuxin City, Liaoning Province, passed away on February 8, 2020, within two years of being released from prison in a vegetative state. She was 64.

Ms. Wu was arrested on August 18, 2015, while putting up informational materials about Falun Gong. She was sentenced to three years and taken to Liaoning Women’s Prison in June 2016.

Ms. Wu suffered a hemorrhagic stroke due to mistreatment by prison guards. She completely lost mobility and was kept alive with a feeding tube.

Despite her condition, the prison still forced Ms. Wu to finish serving the entire three years. By the time she was released on August 19, 2018, she had fallen into a vegetative state. 

Her daughter took her to a hospital, only to be told that there wasn’t much they could do to help her.

Because Ms. Wu’s pension was suspended due to the persecution, her daughter and son-in-law struggled to cover her medical expenses and to take care of her while both of them were working full-time.

Music Teacher the Third in Her Family to Die as a Result of Persecution of Falun Gong

Having lost her husband and mother to the persecution of Falun Gong, Ms. Chen Jiazhu of Mianyang City, Sichuan Province, was dealt another blow when her daughter died on February 11, 2020, also because of the persecution.

Ms. Chen’s daughter, Ms. Zhang Yan, a music teacher, was repeatedly arrested for her faith over the past two decades. She served one year of forced labor and five years in prison. 

The guard once locked Ms. Zhang inside a cell and forced her to stand with her arms up against the wall for twelve hours a day. Her fingers became deformed as a result of the physical strain. Even so, she was still forced to do intensive labor, including selecting pork hair to make brushes and packaging medicines. 

If she didn’t finish her work at the sweatshop during the day, Ms. Zhang was made to stand still until 1:00 a.m. the next day. She also had to copy the prison rules every night and slept only two to four hours each night. She was not allowed to sleep at all if she refused to do so. Not being able to properly rest, Ms. Zhang suffered from chronic dizziness, chest pain, swelling, numbness, deteriorating eyesight, and hypertension. 

When Ms. Zhang was released in December 2012, after five years of torture, her fingers were so injured and deformed that she could no longer play the piano or teach music. Agents from the Mianyang 610 Office continued to harass her. She had to live away from home to avoid further persecution. 

Years of torture and incarceration, and the fear of being arrested again, took a toll on Ms. Zhang’s mental and physical health. She passed away on February 11, 2020, at the age of 46.

Former Military Doctor Dies after 14 Years of Imprisonment for Upholding His Faith

Mr. Zhao Chenglin, a retired military doctor in Benxi City, Liaoning Province, passed away on February 15, 2020, after struggling for two years with poor health resulting from 14 years of imprisonment and torture. He was 58 years old.

Because of not giving up his faith, Mr. Zhao was removed from his post in the military and repeatedly arrested and detained over the past two decades. He served one year in a forced labor camp and two prison terms of nine and four years. 

The labor camp and prison guards savagely beat Mr. Zhao, causing injuries to his head and internal organs. He lost several teeth during punitive forced-feedings. His head was disfigured. His buttocks developed infected wounds as a result of abuse. 

The guards once hung Mr. Zhao by the wrists in a dark room for several days, with his feet pulled apart by shackles. He fainted several times from the pain.

After more than a month of torture, Mr. Zhao developed infected sores on his legs and he suffered internal injuries. The guards refused him medical treatment and kept him in solitary confinement.

In another torture, the guards tied up his limbs and suspended him in the air, causing tremendous damage to his wrists and ankles. 

Torture re-enactment: Rack torture

Ms. Lin Guizhi Passes Away After Being Incapacitated from Prison Torture

Ms. Lin Guizhi, a Chaoyang City, Liaoning Province resident, passed away on February 20, 2020, after suffering years of persecution for her faith in Falun Gong. 

Ms. Lin Guizhi

Because of holding firm to her faith, Ms. Lin was sentenced to seven years in Liaoning Women’s Prison in January 2004. The prison guards beat her after seeing her doing the Falun Gong exercises, fracturing her ankle. Even after she was in critical condition due to continued abuse, the authorities refused to release her. 

The prison authorities put toxic drugs into Ms. Lin’s food, causing her to often be in a delirious state. When Ms. Lin’s husband visited her on September 9, 2009, she suddenly lost consciousness for five minutes. A guard told him that she sometimes lost consciousness for half an hour or fainted six or seven times a day. 

Ms. Lin served her full term and was never provided any medical treatment. Her condition never improved and she remained mentally unstable and physically incapacitated after she was released. She was only 58 when she passed away.

Heilongjiang Man Dies 7 Years after Serving 11 Years for His Faith

Mr. Shang Guimin, a Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province resident, passed away on February 29, 2020, seven years after he served more than 11 years for his faith.

Mr. Shang was arrested on April 26, 2002. He was secretly sentenced to 14 years in Jiamusi Prison in late September 2002. He was often beaten and locked in solitary confinement for refusing to give up Falun Gong. The guards sometimes took off his clothes and forced him to sleep on the concrete floor when it was -20°F outside.

Mr. Shang suffered poor health after he was released early, in November 2013. He never fully recovered and passed away on February 29, 2020. He was 55.

Incapacitated after Ten Years of Imprisonment, Hunan Woman Dies Two Years After Release

Ms. Xiao Meijun, a Hengyang City, Hunan Province resident, passed away on March 2, 2020, after suffering years of persecution, including incarceration, for her faith in Falun Gong. She was 72. 

Ms. Xiao, a retired food transportation worker, served two prison terms for a total of ten years. At Hunan Province Women’s Prison, inmates were instigated by the guards to beat and verbally abuse her. They didn’t allow her to talk to others and often forced her to stand or sit for prolonged periods of time without moving. Sometimes she was denied restroom use and had to relieve herself in her pants. 

The guards later ordered the inmates to inject Ms. Xiao with unknown drugs. She fell into a coma and was resuscitated in the hospital.

After years of persecution, Ms. Xiao became incapacitated and was unable to walk on her own. Her hands shook involuntarily. Most of her teeth fell out during punitive forced-feedings. 

Ms. Xiao never recovered after she was released on May 18, 2018. She passed away on March 2, 2020. 

Three Brothers and Their Father Die in the Persecution of Their Faith

A mother in Sanmenxia City, Henan Province was dealt another blow when her youngest son, Chen Xiaomin, died on March 10, 2020, less than two months after he was released from prison for practicing Falun Gong. 

Because of holding firm to their faith after the communist regime ordered the persecution of Falun Gong, Mr. Chen Xiaomin and two of his three brothers were repeatedly arrested, detained and tortured. 

Their father passed away in 2001 after he endured tremendous stress while trying to seek the release of his sons, who were arrested in Beijing for appealing for the right to practice Falun Gong. 

Mr. Chen’s oldest brother, Mr. Chen Yuemin, died on April 26, 2011. He was tortured and injected with unknown drugs while serving a five-year term in Xinmi Prison for his faith. He was paralyzed and often had intensive back pain after being released, yet the police continued to harass him until his final days. He was 48 when he died.

Mr. Chen Xiaomin and his second brother, Mr. Chen Shaomin, were arrested on June 6 and 7, 2016, respectively, at their workplaces. They were held incommunicado for more than a year at Sanmenxia Detention Center.

The authorities secretly sentenced the brothers to prison in July 2017, though the length of the terms remains to be investigated. They were taken to Xinmi Prison. According to a Falun Gong practitioner who also served time in the same prison, the brothers were severely tortured there for not renouncing their faith.

Mr. Chen Shaomin was released on medical parole in 2018. He suffered multiple health issues and had completely lost the ability to take care of himself. He passed away on May 14, 2019. His lungs were completely deteriorated at the time of his death.

Mr. Chen Xiaomin was released on January 18, 2020. He was in critical condition, emaciated and unable to eat. He died on March 10, 2020. He was 51.

80-year-old Woman Dies of Heart Attack Due to Harassment for Her Faith

Ms. Sima Shufen, of Luoyang City, Henan Province, was arrested on December 13, 2019. The police ransacked her home and confiscated her Falun Gong books, computer, and printer. Although she was released soon afterward, the police threatened to throw her in jail if she didn’t renounce Falun Gong.

A group of plainclothes officers returned to Ms. Sima’s home on February 27, 2020, and videotaped and searched her home again.

In March, the director of the local residential committee used the epidemic as an excuse to prevent Ms. Sima from going out. She had to report to them whenever she went out grocery shopping and had to return within a certain time. The officials also checked the items she bought before letting her go home.

The home-ransacking and ongoing harassment deeply traumatized Ms. Sima. She suffered a heart attack in mid-March and died on March 25, 2020, at the age of 80.

Woman Suffers Relapse of Tuberculosis During Detention for Her Faith, Dies After Court’s Threat to Confiscate Her House

Ms. Wu Peiwen recovered from tuberculosis by practicing Falun Gong, only to see the disease recur after she was arrested for not giving up her faith. Her condition deteriorated while she was held in detention. The authorities continued to harass her and even threatened to confiscate her house after she was released. She passed away on April 4, 2020, at the age of 55.

Ms. Wu, a resident of Shantou City, Guangdong Province, was arrested on November 28, 2018, when she was studying Falun Gong teachings at home.

The detention center guards forced Ms. Wu to do strenuous labor every day and kept increasing her workload. When she couldn’t finish the work, they punished her by ordering her to clean the restroom. Her health declined as a result of the physical exhaustion and mental stress.

When Ms. Wu appeared in the Jinping District Court on May 22, 2019, she kept coughing and coughed up blood. The judge frequently interrupted her lawyer, who was attempting to enter a not guilty plea for her, and sentenced Ms. Wu to one year in prison.

After Ms. Wu returned home on October 27, 2019, the police installed surveillance cameras at her home to monitor her. Staff members from the local residential committee also constantly harassed her.

On March 25, 2020, a staff member from the Shantou City Intermediate Court called her husband and demanded that he pay a 2,000-yuan fine. When he refused to comply, the court staff threatened to confiscate their house and put it up for auction.

This incident placed tremendous mental pressure on Ms. Wu. Her condition quickly worsened. She passed away on April 4, ten days after the court’s intimidation.

Related reports:

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33 Falun Gong Practitioners Sentenced for Their Faith During Coronavirus Lockdown in China