(Minghui.org) Ms. Zhou Xianwen was given unknown drugs hours before she was released on bail on September 23, 2019, two months after being arrested for raising awareness about the persecution of her faith in Falun Gong. Not long after she returned home, she began to have difficulty breathing, developed generalized edema, and had blisters on her feet and calves. After struggling with extreme pain for nearly two years, Ms. Zhou passed away on August 8, 2021. She was 73.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a mind-body discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Ms. Zhou, a Shanghai resident, was arrested on June 24, 2019, after she was reported for using four 5-yuan bills that had information about Falun Gong printed on them to buy food at a supermarket. Due to strict information censorship in China, many Falun Gong practitioners use creative ways to spread information about the persecution, including printing information on banknotes.

The police held her in the Zhangjiang Detention Center and interrogated her six times about where she got the banknotes. “If you tell us where you got them, we can discuss what to do with you. You are already in your 70s. How will you survive it if you are sentenced to three or five years?” they asked her each time. She didn’t answer the question.

Ms. Zhou was held in a 600-square-foot cell with 50 other inmates. Despite the high heat and humidity in Shanghai, she was only given one cup of lukewarm water a day and forced to take cold showers.

After two months of detention, Ms. Zhou developed a heart condition and was easily out of breath. She couldn’t lie flat at night and was unable to fall asleep. The guards refused to provide any treatment to her. Not until Ms. Zhou passed out three weeks later did the police agree to release her on bail.

On the morning of September 23, 2019, the police first had the detention center doctor run an electrocardiogram on Ms. Zhou, take a blood test, and measure her blood pressure. That afternoon, they took her to a prison hospital and had the same tests carried out.

Back in the detention center, the police restrained her on a bed and gave her IV drips against her will. When Ms. Zhou asked what drug they were giving her, they didn’t say. As soon as the IV drips finished in about two hours, the police released her on bail.

After she returned home, Ms. Zhou felt uncomfortable all over, whether she was standing or lying down. She had difficulty breathing and had the sensation that she could stop breathing at any time. She was out of breath after the slightest effort, such as opening the door, answering the phone, or using the restroom. She also felt that her mind was blank, and she was incoherent and couldn’t get her words out. Sometimes she couldn’t fall asleep the entire night. She lost her appetite and didn’t want to move. Only then did she realize that the police must have given her toxic drugs.

She developed edema over her entire body—even her eyelids were swollen. She couldn’t squat or bend over. Her body was rigid and she felt like a robot when she tried to walk.

Four police officers stayed outside of Ms. Zhou’s home around the clock to monitor her daily life. Staff from the residential committee also stopped by to harass her once in a while.

A year later, on September 21, 2020, Ms. Zhou learned that the police had submitted her case to the Pudongxin District Procuratorate. She hired a lawyer to represent her.

When the lawyer went to the procuratorate to review her case document, he submitted a legal opinion to prosecutor Chen Gang, asking him not to indict Ms. Zhou. The lawyer asked prosecutor Chen to visit Ms. Zhou and see for himself how serious her condition was. Chen refused to consider the suggestion. Ms. Zhou later submitted a statement to the prosecutor, detailing how she was given the toxic drugs that caused her to be so ill.

Ms. Zhou’s lawyer learned in November 2020 that the prosecutor had dismissed her case in October 2020, giving her 15 days of administrative detention, from which she was exempted due to her condition.

Not long after, Ms. Zhou’s condition grew markedly worse. Blisters appeared all over her feet and oozed when they broke. Then she began to have excruciating pain in her calves. Blisters also appeared on her calves and oozed blood and pus. Whether she sat, stood, or laid down, she was in constant pain. Over time, her feet became swollen, festered, and turned dark. She passed away on August 8, 2021.

Past Persecution

Prior to her final ordeal, Ms. Zhou was arrested seven times and served one year in a forced labor camp for not giving up Falun Gong, which she credited for curing her neck problem, gallstones, anemia, and other ailments.

She was first arrested in November 2000 and briefly held in detention.

She was arrested on July 31, 2007, and held in the same detention center for a month before being transferred to Qingpu Brainwashing Center on August 30.

Her next arrest was on September 28, 2009. Only a few days after she was released on bail a month later, she was arrested a fourth time and taken to a brainwashing center. The police gave her one year of forced labor two months later.

Ms. Zhou was detained for a month after her fifth arrest on September 26, 2012, and then held at the Fengxian Brainwashing Center for 24 days.

She was detained for seven days after her sixth arrest on May 22, 2014, and five days after her seventh arrest on July 28, 2015.

Related reports:

Shanghai Woman Given Toxic Drugs Hours Before Bail Release, Struggles with Breathing, Edema, and Leg

Arrested Nine Times for Her Faith, 72-Year-Old Woman Faces Prosecution

Ms. Zhou Xianwen Files Letters of Complaint to the Local Court for Illegal Detention

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Category: Reports of Death Cases