(Minghui.org) Four members of a family in Yi County, Liaoning Province died within eight years of each other as a result of the persecution of their faith. 

Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, is a meditation system based on the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. Since former Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Jiang Zemin began to suppress the practice in July 1999, a large number of Dafa practitioners have been subjected to arrest, detention, imprisonment, torture, psychiatric abuse, and even forced organ harvesting. 

Ms. Han Zhixi started practicing Falun Dafa in 1996. Like many Chinese families before 1999, a number of her relatives also practice Falun Dafa. The persecution has affected her family particularly hard: her son died in 2006 at the age of 35 after suffering severe torture at a forced labor camp; her mother and father died in 2012 and 2014, respectively, after years of intimidation and harassment by the police; and her aunt became seriously ill as a result of being tormented by the local police and neighborhood committee staffers and died in 2008. 

Ms. Han herself was twice sent to forced labor camps; her daughter was imprisoned for five years; her cousin was also detained multiple times and sent to a forced labor camp. The family has suffered tremendously because they remained steadfast in their belief even in the face of severe persecution.

Son Died After Suffering Severe Torture in Prison

Ms. Han's son, Mr. Zhuo Zhongyou, was a middle school teacher. He was twice sent to a forced labor camp for his belief in Falun Dafa. He endured a great deal of physical and mental trauma due to the persecution and subsequent long-term abuse. His heart, lungs, and kidneys deteriorated and he suffered brain damage. He passed away on May 29, 2006, just 35 years of age. 

Mr. Zhuo Zhongyou

Mr. Zhuo began to practice Falun Dafa in 1997. He and various family members made several trips to Beijing to appeal for the right to practice Falun Dafa after the Chinese communist regime launched the nationwide campaign against the practice in 1999. He was incarcerated in the Yi County Detention Center in October 1999 and was later given two years of forced labor at the Jinzhou City Labor Camp. In late March 2000, Mr. Zuo escaped from the labor camp and went back to Beijing again to appeal. Unfortunately, he was arrested at the Xingcheng Railway Station and brought back to the labor camp.

Mr. Zuo was put into solitary confinement for seven days. Later he was moved to the camp's Team Six. The guards beat him and shocked his back, neck, and other parts of his body with two electric batons. His skin was severely burned for days. During the day, he was forced to work wearing handcuffs; at night he slept with handcuffs on. The guards assigned him extra work and often verbally abused him.

In October 2000, the labor camp officials launched a brainwashing campaign to try to force Falun Dafa practitioners to give up their belief. They made practitioners wear a safety helmet, handcuffed them, and then made them sit at a corner table. Two guards and one inmate were assigned to monitor each practitioner. At times they were forbidden to sleep or even sit down and were forced to watch videotapes of fabricated lies about Falun Dafa. If a practitioner closed his eyes, lowered his head, or showed any sign to resist the programming, the guards and inmates would hit their head with a stick, or shock the head, as well as the face, genitals, stomach, and the rest of the body with electric batons.

Torture reenactment: beating the head with sticks

To protest the persecution, Mr. Zuo and several other practitioners went on a hunger strike. He was force-fed with very salty cornmeal gruel. They also subjected Mr. Zuo to sleep deprivation. All the hunger strikers were forced to sit on a small stool continuously for 44 hours. Subsequently, the stool-sitting torture became a 20-hour-a-day daily routine, from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. Anyone who tried to challenge the torture was handcuffed to the stool. 

During force-feedings, a labor camp doctor used a hard tool to pry open Mr. Zuo's mouth and damaged his teeth. After a one-month hunger strike, Mr. Zuo became emaciated and his blood pressure dropped very low. The labor camp released him on April 25, 2001, fearing responsibility for his death if he were to die in custody.

Mr. Zuo was arrested again six months later, after he said, "Falun Dafa is good" in public. He was given two years of forced labor and suffered severe abuse and torture in the Jinzhou City Labor Camp. Compelled by the guards, three criminal inmates beat him badly. Once, the guards used four electric batons to shock him. They put Mr. Zuo in solitary confinement, forced him to sit on a metal stool, and deprived him of sleep for a long time.

In July 2002, the labor camp started another round of brutal persecution of steadfast Falun Dafa practitioners. Several guards violently attacked Mr. Zuo. He suffered severe injuries and his legs were badly swollen. One guard repeatedly threw punches at his chest 50 to 60 times, making his chest swell and leaving bruises that lasted more than ten days. Mr. Zuo was forced to wear handcuffs for the following three months. He also had to sit on a stool for 15 hours a day, with only three bathroom breaks. This torture lasted for more than four months.

On the evening of March 31, 2003, guard Feng Zibin and a group of criminal inmates took Mr. Zuo and another practitioner, Mr. Li Zhongjie, to a small room on the second floor. While the others were watching TV, they stretched Mr. Li’s arms apart to form a cross. Inmate Guo Weibin said, “Now we have orders from higher up to beat them any way we want.” Then they started a round of unrestrained violence against the two practitioners.

Before he was detained, Mr. Zuo weighed 75 kg. But after being tortured in the labor camp, his weight dropped to only 45 kg (approximately 92 lbs) and he was in critical condition. Again fearing that he might die in custody, the labor camp sent him home in September 2003. 

Even family members and friends could not recognize Mr. Zuo after his release. He vomited every day and had a chronic cough.

The labor camp guards often harassed Mr. Zuo by telephone. Before he had recovered, ten people from his school, including several administrators, came to his home to pressure him to give up Falun Dafa. To avoid another detention or additional persecution, he escaped to a relative's house. By this time, Mr. Zuo's heart, kidneys, and lungs had deteriorated as a result of the long-term abuse. His cough worsened. He was often disoriented, had trouble walking, and could not perform normally at work. He died in the afternoon on May 29, 2006.

Parents and Aunt Harassed and Threatened Before Passing Away

Ms. Han's parents, Mr. Han Zetian and Ms. Long Xiuying, were in their early 70s in 1999 when the persecution of Falun Dafa started. Both had been practicing Falun Dafa since 1996 and had benefited greatly. Ms. Long especially, who had suffered from stomach problems, arteriosclerosis, and heart disease, regained her health. 

The elderly couple tried to go to Beijing in July 1999 to appeal for the right to practice Falun Dafa but were stopped at the Jinzhou Railway Station. They went to Beijing again in September 1999. 

After they returned home, the police took them to the Yi County Detention Center and detained them for 10 days. They also extorted 1,720 yuan from the couple. In October 2000, the couple tried to journey to Beijing for the third time, but they were stopped by the police in Huludao City and brought back. They were detained for 48 days and fined 3,000 yuan. Mr. Han and his wife did not have a regular income and lived on the support of their daughters and relatives. Therefore the fines were a huge financial burden for them.

The couple became primary targets for police harassment. In October 2002, the police detained them for 20 days fearing that they would try to go to Beijing during the People's Congress. They were fined 400 yuan again. 

In addition, they were under constant surveillance. Sometimes the police visited their home unexpectedly, sometimes plainclothes officers visited them, and other times police pretended to be repairmen to check on them. The couple also received threatening letters on multiple occasions. Under pressure from constant threats and harassment, Mr. Han and his wife both fell ill in June 2012. Ms. Long passed away five months later. Mr. Han died in 2014.

Mr. Han Zetian

Ms. Long Xiuying

Ms. Han's aunt, Ms. Han Yiren, was a Chinese medicine doctor. She was arrested on July 21, 1999, on her way to Beijing to appeal for Falun Dafa. The police brought her back and detained her at a police station for a day. She went to Beijing again in October 2000 and was arrested. She was brought back and detained for 43 days and fined 2,200 yuan. Her workplace also withheld 4,560 yuan of her salary.

In November 2005, Ms. Han Yiren fell seriously ill from the mental stress of frequent harassment by the authorities. She passed away on June 28, 2008.

Ms. Han Yiren

Daughter Wrongfully Imprisoned for Five Years

Ms. Han's daughter, Ms. Zuo Lizhi, was born on September 5, 1968. She taught at the same middle school as her brother. Ms. Zuo also started practicing Falun Dafa before 1999. She was detained four times for her faith, including a nine-month detention at a labor camp and a five-year imprisonment. 

Officials from the town government took Ms. Zuo away to a brainwashing center on July 24, 1999, after she tried to appeal for Falun Dafa in Beijing. She was tortured there for two days and two nights and was traumatized. She went to Beijing again to appeal for Falun Dafa on September 23, 1999. She was arrested and sent to the Yi County Detention Center. She was detained for 15 days and had 1,360 yuan in cash extorted from her.

On October 13, 1999, police arrested Ms. Zuo and took her to the Yi County Detention Center. After one month in detention, she was taken to Masanjia Forced Labor Camp in Shenyang City, Liaoning Province. She was incarcerated there for nine months and severely beaten and abused. Her salary was also withheld for one year.

After she was released from Masanjia, Ms. Zuo was repeatedly harassed by CCP officials between 2002 and 2006. To avoid the ongoing harassment, she was forced to leave home and live elsewhere for about four months. Her workplace withheld 300 yuan of her salary during this time. 

Police officers from the Yi County Domestic Security Division and the Dayushubao County Police Station broke into Ms. Zuo's home and arrested her on August 2, 2008. She was tried by the Yi County Court on October 10. During the trial, she testified as to how she had benefited from practicing Falun Dafa. Her lawyer also entered a not-guilty plea for her. The judge and the public prosecutor were speechless and ended the session in a rush. 

The Yi County Court secretly sentenced Ms. Zuo to three years in prison on the charge of “utilizing an illegal religion to sabotage the implementation of the law,” a standard pretext used by the CCP to frame Falun Dafa practitioners. She lodged an appeal with the Jinzhou City Intermediate Court. On January 19, 2009, several officials from the Jinzhou City Intermediate Court questioned Ms. Zuo in person without notifying her family. They claimed that the meeting was her Intermediate Court session. At the time no decision was announced.

Ms. Zuo's mother, Ms. Han Zhixi, then submitted complaints to the Jinzhou City Intermediate Court, the Jinzhou City Procuratorate, the Liaoning Province Supreme Court, and the Liaoning Province Procuratorate and requested that the Jinzhou City Intermediate Court revoke the wrongful judgment handed down by the Yi County Court. However, on February 14, 2009, Ms. Zuo's family received notification of Ms. Zuo's sentence being extended five years. 

Ms. Zuo was taken to Liaoning Women's Prison. In the beginning, she was monitored by two inmates and constantly pressured to give up her belief, but she refused. So for 4-5 days, prison guards instructed her cellmates to take turns watching her at night and keeping her from sleeping, all the while making her work during the day. When Ms. Zuo couldn't keep her eyes open, the inmates slapped her and poured cold water over her head. She was taken outside without warm clothing when the temperature was -20°C.

Later, Ms. Zuo was forced to stand for a long period of time until her feet were so swollen that she could not put on her shoes. She was forced to squat with other inmates sitting on her and beating her. They lifted her up high and dropped her on her buttocks repeatedly. As a result, she sustained injuries to her vertebra and could no longer keep her back straight without pain.

Ms. Han Zhixi Twice Sent to Forced Labor Camp

Ms. Han, now 75, started to practice Falun Dafa in 1996. Upon returning from Beijing to appeal for the right to practice Falun Dafa on July 20, 1999, local police arrested her at home and detained her at a brainwashing center for two days. She went to Beijing again in September. Afterward she was arrested and detained at the Yi County Detention Center for 17 days. She was also fined 1,360 yuan. Several days later, police arrested her again and detained her at the Yi County Detention Center for five and a half months. They also extorted 1,525 yuan from her.

Ms. Han tried to go to Beijing but was arrested at the Jinzhou Railway Station in October 2000. After more than a month of detention, she was given 3 years of forced labor at Masanjia Forced Labor Camp but released after seven and a half months.

For talking to people about Falun Dafa on a bus, Ms. Han was arrested again in March 2005. She was given an 18-month term at Masanjia Forced Labor Camp. She was released after 8 months. However, she is still being monitored and harassed by the authorities. Local police went to Ms. Han's home twice in 2017. They demanded to know if Ms. Han and her daughter still practiced Falun Dafa. They took pictures and video recorded her home. 

Ms. Han's cousin, Ms. Li Zhihui, is a 51-year-old nurse at the Yi County Chinese Medicine Hospital. She went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Dafa on July 20, 1999 and was arrested and detained in Chengde City for one day. After she returned to Yi County, she was taken to a police station and detained for another day. In October 2000, Ms. Li tried to go to Beijing again but was arrested in Huludao City. She was brought back to Yi County and detained for 45 days before being sent to Masanjia Forced Labor Camp where she was incarcerated for seven and a half months. Her workplace withheld 6,000 yuan of her salary.

The police arrested Ms. Li again on October 26, 2002, and detained her for 22 days at the county detention center. She was fined 1,200 yuan. Then again in June 2016, Ms. Li was arrested by police and detained for over ten days.

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