(Minghui.org) A 74-year-old woman has been detained for a total of 9 years in the past 22 years for practicing Falun Gong, a spiritual practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Ms. Xiang Wenlan, a resident of Yichang City, Hubei Province, started practicing Falun Gong in 1998. She had suffered from multiple illnesses, such as atrophic rhinitis, hypertension, and heart disease for many years prior. Her illnesses went away and she became a better person after she took up the practice and strove to live by the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance.
A year later on July 20, 1999, the Chinese government launched a nationwide campaign against the practice. Since then, Ms. Xiang has been trying to appeal for Falun Gong and raise awareness of the persecution. For that, she was arrested and detained multiple times. She was sentenced to three years in prison in 2010 and four years in 2016. Additionally, she was also held at other facilities for a total of more than two years. While she was incarcerated, her bed-ridden husband died due to a lack of care.
Appealing for Falun Gong in Beijing Led to Detention
In October 2000, Ms. Xiang went to Tiananmen Square in Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong. She was hit by police with a baton and taken to a police station. At the time, many Falun Gong practitioners from all over China were in Beijing appealing for the right to practice their faith.
Ms. Xiang was locked in a room with more than three hundred practitioners. A few days later, several people from her workplace and a police officer from her local police station arrived in Beijing and brought her back. Ms. Xiang was taken directly to Yiling District No. 1 Detention Center and detained for 15 days. Her workplace fined her 8,000 yuan.
Husband Passed Away During Her Incarceration
Ms. Xiang was arrested on August 28, 2001, after being reported while posting Falun Gong flyers. After she was detained for two months at two different detention centers, police tried to take her to Shayang Forced Labor Camp. But the labor camp refused to admit her due to her poor health. The authorities then detained her at Yiling District No. 1 Detention Center for two years.
At the time, Ms. Xiang’s husband was bedridden from brain atrophy. Without Ms. Xiang, he could hardly take care of himself. One day, a police officer went to their home and took away all the Falun Gong books and materials. He informed Ms. Xiang’s husband that she had been given a forced labor camp term. Ms. Xiang’s husband was devastated and his health deteriorated quickly. He was taken to a relative’s home and passed away in less than ten months. Ms. Xiang was not allowed to see her husband for the last time.
Less than one year after Ms. Xiang was released in July 2004, police and agents of local 610 Office broke into her home. They confiscated her Falun Gong books and materials again. Ms. Xiang was taken to the local police station and interrogated. She was taken to Yiling No. 1 Detention Center and detained for 28 days before being transferred to No. 2 Detention Center. A month later, Ms. Xiang took a fall in the bathroom and suffered a comminuted fracture of her left ankle. She was released on medical parole.
Police arrested Ms. Xiang on June 13, 2006. She was taken to Yiling No. 2 Detention Center and given one year of forced labor. However, her physical examination showed that she had hypertension and heart disease. She was admitted to a hospital and later released on medical parole.
Sentenced to Prison for Exposing the Persecution
In September 2009, police found out through phone surveillance that Ms. Xiang was about to transport copies of the Nine Commentaries on the Chinese Communist Party. Her home was searched and ransacked. She was taken to Yichang City Detention Center. After almost six months of detention, she was tried and sentenced to three years in prison.
Ms. Xiang was sent to Wuhan Women’s Prison. For eight months, she was isolated from the rest of the inmates. Two people were assigned to monitor her at all times. She was forced to watch videos that defame Falun Gong and was not allowed to sleep at times. Later she was forced to work at a prison clothes factory until she was released.
Sentenced to Prison for Suing Former Chinese President
In 2015, Ms. Xiang, like many Falun Gong practitioners in China, filed a legal complaint against former Chinese president Jiang Zemin for launching the persecution of Falun Gong. The lawsuit was mailed to the Supreme People’s Court and Supreme People’s Procuratorate, which are required to process all criminal complaints filed by citizens.
Ms. Xiang was harassed by police after her lawsuit was received by authorities. She was taken to Yichang City Detention Center on December 21, 2015. Almost a year later, she was secretly tried and sentenced to four years in prison. Her family only received her verdict after she was taken to Hubei Province Women’s Prison.
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