(Minghui.org) Ms. Zhang Yuhong became incapacitated after suffering a stroke at Liaoning Women’s Prison. The authorities refused to release her on medical parole, but demanded 200,000 yuan from her family in exchange for her release. Unable to afford the extortion, Ms. Zhang is still imprisoned at the time of writing.
Ms. Zhang, a Fuxin City, Liaoning Province resident in her 50s, was arrested on November 7, 2018 for her faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
She was sentenced to four years in prison in the Taiping District Court in July 2019 and taken to the fifth ward in Liaoning Women’s Prison on September 24, 2019. A prison guard named Niu Jingjing tried to force her to renounce Falun Gong. When she refused to comply, Niu ordered inmate Zhang Xiaomeng to strike her head with a shoe.
Ms. Zhang suffered a stroke in late June 2020 and remained in a coma for months. When her family went to the intensive care unit to visit her, the guards would not let them get near her and refused to answer any questions. A doctor told her family that she had injuries on her back, but the prison guards prevented her family from looking at her and didn’t allow the doctor to give them any details on her condition.
The guards also forced her family to sign several documents clearing the prison of any responsibility concerning Ms. Zhang’s condition. While it was the prison guards that didn’t allow Ms. Zhang’s family to visit her, they blamed her family for not visiting her on a regular basis, alleging that was what “caused her to become ill.”
The doctor later operated on Ms. Zhang twice. The guards prevented the doctor from communicating with her family, but told them they had to pay 100,000 yuan to cover Ms. Zhang’s medical expenses.
Ms. Zhang’s family had a video meeting with her in early February 2021. She was no longer on a ventilator and was able to speak, but not clearly. She also had trouble moving the right side of her body.
She was later transferred from the fifth ward to the eleventh ward for the elderly and disabled prisoners. Prison officials prevented her family from visiting her in person while still demanding that they cover her medical expenses.
When her family was finally allowed to visit her again in November 2021, they were devastated to see her in a wheelchair and a large area on one side of her head was sunken.
The prison guards blamed Ms. Zhang for not behaving well (meaning that she refused to renounce Falun Gong) and they only allowed her to spend 200 yuan on daily necessities each month.
Her family said how could the guards continue to persecute her, when she was already like this. Ms. Zhang kept crying during the entire visit. The guards ended the meeting before the scheduled time, fearing that she may become too emotional.
In addition to the physical torture she is suffering in the prison, the local social security bureau also suspended Ms. Zhang’s pension and demanded that her family return the pension she had received during the first two years following her arrest, citing a policy that Falun Gong practitioners serving time are not entitled to any retirement benefits.
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