(Minghui.org) In the eyes of Ms. Zhang Shuxiang’s family, she was a kind and considerate person. A petite woman, she exhibited enormous inner strength in standing up to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s tyranny.

With plenty of free time after retiring, the Beijing resident rode her bike every day, talking to whomever she met about the CCP’s brutality and how it has been persecuting her faith in Falun Gong, an ancient spiritual discipline that was introduced to the public in 1992.

Ms. Zhang’s tireless grassroots efforts since the onset of the persecution in 1999 came to a halt when she was arrested on June 21, 2017, by a plainclothes officer. The police ransacked her home without showing a search warrant or their police IDs. Her criminal detention notice her family received later didn’t have a signature either. Her Falun Gong pamphlets and several hundred yuan in cash were taken away, but the police never provided a list of confiscated items.

In less than two months, on September 4, the police submitted Ms. Zhang’s case to the procuratorate. When her lawyer went to visit her on September 12, the guards turned him away, saying he didn’t have the required documents.

From being abused in custody, Ms. Zhang’s high blood pressure that was cured by practicing Falun Gong recurred, yet the authorities refused to release her on bail.

Shortly after the Pinggu District Procuratorate indicted her on September 25, Ms. Zhang was tried in the Pinggu District Court on October 17. The judge barred her husband from attending the trial, with the excuse that he signed the investigation record when the police ransacked their home and was therefore considered a prosecution witness.

Ms. Zhang was sentenced to three years and fined 6,000 yuan on November 26, 2017. She was held at the sixth ward after being taken to the Beijing Women’s Prison on May 24, 2018.

Inmate Yang Chunwei was instigated by the guards to order Ms. Zhang to write a statement to renounce Falun Gong. When Ms. Zhang refused to comply, Yang wrote a statement herself and told Ms. Zhang to copy it. When she saw that Ms. Zhang wrote instead how she wouldn’t give up practicing Falun Gong, Yang tore it up and ordered her to write it again.

Along with 60 other practitioners imprisoned for their faith, Ms. Zhang was transferred to the third ward on August 1, 2018, and subjected to intensified torture.

In addition to the high blood pressure, Ms. Zhang’s diabetes also relapsed. Claiming to be “helping her” to control her blood sugar, the inmate assigned to monitor Ms. Zhang gave her very little food at each meal and didn’t let her drink water. Ms. Zhang soon became emaciated and incontinent.

Her age (she was in her 70s) made things worse. Ms. Zhang began to experience organ failure and was on the verge of death. She was taken home in an ambulance on April 3, 2019.

Although her family took her to the hospital, Ms. Zhang remained very weak and bedridden.

On August 27, 2019, agents from the Justice Bureau took Ms. Zhang for a physical exam. Seeing that she still had severe diabetes, they took her home. Others from the Justice Bureau returned on September 17, 2019, and took photos of her. They ordered her to have a physical exam every three months and report the results to the prison.

The authorities came back to harass Ms. Zhang until her term expired on June 20, 2020. At the same time, her pension was also suspended.

Fearful of the persecution, Ms. Zhang’s family didn’t let her practice Falun Gong anymore. When local practitioners came to visit her, her family turned them away.

Although her family let Ms. Zhang start doing the Falun Gong exercises again in 2020 and her health improved some, she took a fall, broke her hip, and became bedridden again. Devastated at not being able to practice her faith, Ms. Zhang passed away on March 30, 2021, from complications of diabetes. She was 73.

Related report:

68-Year-Old Beijing Woman Sentenced to Prison for Her Faith

Chinese version available

Category: Reports of Death Cases