(Minghui.org) China has been considered a land of the divine since ancient times. Many traditional virtues have been passed down through history. Respecting the elderly is considered basic human kindness and a cornerstone of the country’s prosperity.
The famous Chinese philosopher Mencius (372 – 289 BC) advised king Hui of Liang, “Treat with the reverence due to age the elders in your own family so that the elders in the families of others shall be similarly treated; treat with the kindness due to youth the young in your own family so that the young in the families of others shall be similarly treated.”
However, in the persecution of Falun Gong, an ancient spiritual and meditation practice, the elderly practitioners were not only treated with no reverence but they were persecuted particularly harshly. Despite the Chinese Criminal Law stating that “a person who has reached the age of 75 may be given a lighter or mitigated punishment for his/her crime,” some elderly practitioners were given heavy sentences for their faith.
Ms. Hu Keying, of Zhoukou City, Henan Province, was sentenced to five years by the Chuanhui District Court in 2017 and ordered to serve time outside of prison.
In 2019, the judge ordered the bailiff to take Ms. Hu, then 83, into custody under the excuse of “stability maintenance.” She was first held at the Zhoukou City Detention Center and then taken to the Xinxiang Women’s Prison. After the prison refused to accept her due to her advanced age and high blood pressure, the police took her back to Zhoukou and held her in the detention center for two more weeks before releasing her.
In January 2021, the Political and Legal Affairs Committee in Henan Province, an extra-judiciary agency overseeing the persecution, ordered the local judiciary agency to re-evaluate the qualifications of Falun Gong practitioners who were previously allowed to serve time outside of prison or were released on medical parole.
Ms. Hu was taken back to the hospital and underwent a physical examination. As it was determined that she failed to meet the qualifications for the exemption of no prison time, the judge ordered that she be taken back to the Zhoukou City Detention Center in early June. By then, her blood pressure had increased again and remained around 230/130 mmHg.
Ms. Hu was taken to the Xinxiang Women’s Prison on July 9, 2021.
Ms. Hu began practicing Falun Gong in the spring of 1996. In less than two months, her illnesses disappeared without any medication. After the persecution began in 1999, Ms. Hu went to Beijing to appeal multiple times and was brutally tortured. Even when a prison refused to accept her due to her severe heart disease, she was kept at a detention center for two years.
Mr. Gong Guoqing and two other Falun Gong practitioners who were visiting him were arrested at his home on May 17, 2020. He was sentenced to 8.5 years by Wanberlin Court of Taiyuan City on April 30, 2021.
Mr. Gong took up Falun Gong in the late 1990s. Before that, he suffered a strange condition of frequent vomiting. Extensive medical exams couldn’t explain what was wrong. He visited many doctors of both western and Chinese medicine. But after spending all of his savings and going through many painstaking treatments, his condition remained the same. He was so weak and he had to wear sweaters and thick pants in the summer.
Just as he was in despair, Mr. Gong was introduced to Falun Gong. His body was soon purified and not long afterward, he was able to eat normally and help with some household chores.
Months later, the communist regime ordered the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999. The police kept pressuring him to renounce his faith, sometimes scaling his fence and breaking into his home in the middle of the night to harass him. He was detained for a month after being arrested on November 21, 2012, for distributing Falun Gong materials.
His wife was traumatized by the persecution and fell into a delirious state at times. Her vision gradually worsened and she is completely blind now. Since she fell ill, Mr. Gong has been taking good care of her.
After being arrested and released several times, Mr. Li Dengchen, a retired teacher in Shenzhou City, Hebei Province, was sentenced to 10 years in January 2021 for his faith in Falun Gong.
Mr. Li Dengchen was first arrested at home on October 22, 2018. The police ransacked his residence and confiscated his valuables worth 150,000 yuan. Due to his high blood pressure, the Shenzhou City Detention Center refused to admit him, and he was released. Mr. Li returned to the local police station the next day and demanded the return of his confiscated property, but to no avail.
Days later, Mr. Li noticed that someone had scaled his fence and entered his home while he was out. He suspected that it was the police who tried to find more Falun Gong-related items in his home. He decided to live away from home to avoid further persecution.
Only a month later, on November 23, he was arrested again and admitted to the Shenzhou City Detention Center. Prior to his second arrest, the police extorted 1,700 yuan from his family for the alleged “physical examination fee.”
Mr. Li developed a critical medical condition in his lungs and was treated in an intensive care unit in 2019. He was released on bail on April 26. By then, he had become emaciated, incontinent, and unable to care for himself. His legs were also swollen. After resuming practicing Falun Gong at home, he gradually recovered. Yet the authorities didn’t stop targeting him.
In late July 2020, Mr. Li received a notice to appear in court for his case. He lived away from home again for a month to hide from the police. In January 2021, he was arrested one more time and directly given a ten-year sentence. He has now been taken to the Baoding Prison to serve time.
In other cases, police altered the age records of practitioners to justify heavy sentences. For example, Ms. Hu Yanshun from Daying County of Sichuan Province was sentenced to a nine-year term in April 2008. In order to justify the heavy sentence, Daying County judicial office staff altered her age from 76 to 70 before the trial. Ms. Hu wrote to the court regarding the alteration but never received a reply. After years of persecution, she is unable to take care of herself and suffers from severe memory loss.
After Mr. Wang Wenfu, from Beipiao City of Liaoning Province, was given a three-year labor camp term in 2001, the police changed his age from 68 to 60 so that he wouldn’t be rejected admission.