(Minghui.org) Mr. Yang Shijie’s parents, Mr. Yang Wenshan and Ms. Li Lianyu, took up Falun Gong, a spiritual and meditation discipline, in June 1996. The elderly couple credited the practice for quickly improving their health. After seeing their changes, their four children all followed in their footsteps and began to practice Falun Gong.

Mr. Yang’s younger sister, Ms. Yang Shifen, used to suffer from severe headaches and gynecological diseases. As a side effect of her chronic medication, she was very thin. After learning Falun Gong, all of her symptoms disappeared and she also gained some weight.

But the family’s happy life didn’t last long. Years after the Chinese Communist Party ordered the persecution of Falun Gong due to its overwhelming popularity in 1999, Mr. Yang’s parents and his younger sister passed away one after another. Mr. Yang and his two other sisters were arrested and detained.

Now Mr. Yang is facing prosecution following his arrest on March 11, 2021, after being reported for spending banknotes printed with information about Falun Gong (as a way to overcome the strict censorship in China to raise awareness about the persecution).

Parents’ and Sister’s Deaths

With the onset of the persecution, knowing that the entire Yang family practiced Falun Gong, officials from the village committee sent people to monitor them every day. The police ransacked the elderly couple’s home several times and confiscated their Falun Gong books and media player containing Falun Gong exercise music.

The mother, Ms. Li, was arrested three times for talking to people about Falun Gong and detained for a year.

When their four children were arrested for going to Beijing to appeal for the right to practice Falun Gong and faced the threat of losing their jobs, Ms. Li and her husband were dealt a heavy blow. Ms. Li’s health quickly deteriorated, and she passed away on September 9, 2000. She was 69.

Mr. Yang struggled to live by himself while constantly worrying about the safety of his children. He passed away on December 28, 2007, forty days after his son was released from serving a labor camp term. He was 77.

Ms. Yang Shifen was arrested three times shortly after the onset of the persecution. Following her fourth arrest in July 2001, she was taken to a brainwashing center, where she was beaten, deprived of sleep and denied any contact with her family. The guards forced her to watch propaganda materials demonizing Falun Gong. They also ordered her to write statements to renounce her faith.

Ms. Yang was harassed in 2015 for filing a criminal complaint against Jiang Zemin, the former head of the communist regime who ordered the persecution of Falun Gong. While the police didn’t arrest her, the harassment left her living in fear and under tremendous pressure.

After witnessing the police arresting her youngest sister, Ms. Yang Shimin, on March 11, 2016, she passed away six days later. She was 57.

Persecution of Mr. Yang Shijie

Mr. Yang was arrested in May 2006 when going to a property of his to collect rent from his tenants. The police brought him home and ransacked his place. The police also forced his wife to take them to his father’s home and found some Falun Gong informational materials there.

Mr. Yang was later given two years of forced labor. Although he was released ahead of time, his father passed away 40 days after he returned home.

Mr. Yang was arrested again on January 8, 2016, for filing a criminal complaint against Jiang Zemin. His Falun Gong books and an e-book reader were confiscated. He was released a week later.

Just prior to his latest arrest in March 2021, Mr. Yang was arrested at home on May 5, 2020. Some of his memory cards and flash drives were confiscated. He was held at the Shunyi Detention Center for a month.

Persecution of Two Other Sisters

The family’s youngest sister, Ms. Yang Shimin, was arrested on November 27, 2004, after being reported by security personnel for distributing Falun Gong materials in a residential area. She held a hunger strike to protest the arbitrary detention and was released seven days later.

A few weeks after she recovered, she was arrested again and directly taken to the Tiantanghe Forced Labor Camp to serve a two-year term.

Ms. Yang was arrested again on March 11, 2016 and detained for 30 days.

The family’s oldest sister (name unknown) was arrested five times and held in a brainwashing center twice between 1999 and 2003. She fell into a delirious state as a result of the abuse.

Chinese version available

Category: Accounts of Persecution