(Minghui.org) It was confirmed during the first three months of 2022 that an additional 44 Falun Gong practitioners have lost their lives to the persecution of their faith. Among these cases, one took place in 2008, two in 2019, twenty in 2021, and ten, eight and three in January, February and March 2022, respectively.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a mind-body practice based on the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. Since its introduction to the public in 1992, countless people have been drawn to its profound principles and health benefits. Fearing Falun Gong's ever-growing popularity, the Chinese communist regime launched a nationwide campaign in July 1999, attempting to stamp out the practice.
The 44 deceased practitioners, of which 28 are women, came from 16 provinces in China. Liaoning topped the list with 11 cases, followed by 6 in Hubei and 4 in Heilongjiang and Sichuan each. The remaining 12 regions had between 3 and 1 deaths.
Except for one practitioner whose age was not known, the other 43 practitioners were aged between 44 to 89. Thirty-two (73%) were above 60, including 8 individuals in their 60s, 15 in their 70s and 9 in their 80s.
Eleven practitioners died while still in custody, with five of these deaths taking place in 2021. Among them, one died in a mental hospital, one died in a police station, three passed away in detention centers and six succumbed to torture in prison.
The deceased practitioners came from all walks of life and include several teachers, a retired bank employee, a communications company customer service manager and a former prison employee.
One woman was the mother of a U.S. resident. She died in March 2022, seven weeks after she was arrested. According to her family, her body was covered with blood. Another two women died in January 2022, three and eight days following their arrests, respectively. A delivery worker passed away in February 2022 due to the pressure from his last arrest a month ago, which came a year after his wife succumbed to long-term mental distress from the persecution of their shared faith.
Below are snapshots of some of the death cases. The complete list of practitioners can be downloaded here (PDF).
Deaths in Custody
Ms. Ji Yunzhi, a resident of Lindong Town, Bairin Left Banner, Chiefeng City, Inner Mongolia and mother of Simon Zhang, a U.S. resident, died at Bairin Hospital on March 21, 2022, seven weeks after she was arrested on Chinese New Year’s Day (February 1). She was 66.
While in detention, she was brutally beaten by guards and inmates until she was on the verge of death. “If I die, it will be the result of torture,” Ms. Ji once said to her cellmates.
Ms. Ji was arrested at home on February 1, 2022. Despite the fact that she was experiencing convulsions and was vomiting, the police had her sit on the cold tile floor for a long time, taunting her by saying she was faking her symptoms.
Ms. Ji went on a hunger strike at the Bairin Left Banner Detention Center and was force-fed through a nasal tube. The detention center doctor slapped her in the face many times.
On the morning of March 20, 2022, Ms. Ji’s husband received a call from the Bairin police notifying him to go to the hospital. Upon arriving there, he was told that doctors had started to resuscitate Ms. Ji, but the prognosis was not good. A plan was made to transfer her from Bairin Hospital to Chifeng City Hospital. But an expert from the city hospital, who had come to Bairin to examine Ms. Ji, said it was too late and there was no need to transfer her. Her husband repeatedly requested her release, but the officer in charge (Xu Jianfeng) refused to do so, saying he needed approval from his superiors.
The family was notified of Ms. Ji’s death the next day. They asked to see her one last time in the hospital room, but the police stopped them. Through the window, her family saw that her esophagus had been cut open. There was also blood on her face and shoulder. Many police officers were standing in the hallway. They drove Ms. Ji’s family from that level of the building and closed the elevator to that level so that no one could access the area.
After her family left that floor, the police called the Bairin Crematorium, which soon dispatched a vehicle to pick up Ms. Ji’s body for storage. When Ms. Ji’s family arrived at the crematorium, the forensic investigator did not allow them to come in. They begged the police and were eventually allowed to come in one at a time and take a quick look at her body. Over 40 police officers had been dispatched to guard the body.
The police have asked Ms. Ji’s husband to “negotiate” with them in an apparent attempt to smooth over the situation, but at the time of writing it is not known whether these negotiations involve a settlement for her death or threats to keep silent.
Ms. Huang Sulan, of Chengdu, Sichuan Province, was arrested outside of her apartment building on January 20, 2022, and taken to a secret detention facility in Pengzhou.
The police informed Ms. Huang’s family on January 23, 2022, that she had died earlier that day. Her body was soon moved to the Pengzhou City Funeral Home. Her family has seen her body, but further details about her death remain under investigation.
Prior to Ms. Huang’s last arrest, she was previously arrested on July 10, 2019, while visiting practitioner Ms. Mao Kun. Although Ms. Huang was released on August 9, Ms. Mao was later sentenced to 11.5 years and died in custody.
Ms. Zhang Siqin, a 69-year-old woman in Dalian City, Liaoning Province, died at the Yaojia Detention Center on January 26, 2022, eight days after she was arrested for practicing Falun Gong.
Ms. Zhang began to experience severe medical problems on the first night at the detention center, yet the authorities refused to provide any treatment for her, except feeding her unknown drugs without any diagnosis.
Ms. Zhang was taken back into custody on January 19, 2022, to serve a two-year term. She was terrified and was struck with a wave of nausea. Even though the doctor advised against her detention due to her medical condition, the police insisted that she was fine and took her to the Yaojia Detention Center.
On the first evening at the detention center, Ms. Zhang was unable to walk on her own or fall asleep. The guards refused to provide her with any food. The next morning, she was so weak that she wasn’t able to dress herself and had to rely on her roommate’s help.
For the next few days, Ms. Zhang was unable to keep any food down and vomited everything she ate. The food the guards provided was only congee and steamed buns. She remained too weak to stand on her own.
When Ms. Zhang was admitted to the detention center, the guards took away her dentures. She asked several times to have them back, but the guards refused to return them, which made it even more difficult for her to eat.
Despite her medical issues, the guards didn’t take Ms. Zhang to see a doctor and instead gave her some unknown drugs, which caused her condition to further deteriorate.
On January 25, the sixth day of her detention, Ms. Zhang began to shake uncontrollably and was unable to sit up on her own. Her roommate reported it to the guards, who insisted on giving her an unknown drug, again with no medical assessment. When Ms. Zhang was unable to take the drug, the guards ordered five inmates to hold her and force-feed her the drug. She became incapacitated and lost the strength to sit up afterwards.
At 2:20 a.m. on January 26, Ms. Zhang again began to shake uncontrollably. The inmates in the room were all awake, yet the guards still ignored her. At 9 a.m., she was taken out in a wheelchair but was brought back just ten minutes later. The guards continued to forcibly administer the unknown drug.
Ms. Zhang began to run a fever around midnight. By 2:40 a.m. she was in critical condition. The guards still refused to take her to a hospital and ordered the other inmates in her room to keep monitoring her.
By the morning, Ms. Zhang was unable to sit up even with her roommate’s help. Although the inmates reported her situation at 7:07 a.m., the doctor hadn’t shown up by 7:25 a.m. Her roommate kept calling the guards, but no one showed up.
By the time the doctor arrived at 7:30 a.m., Ms. Zhang had stopped breathing and had no pulse. The doctor tried to resuscitate her, but she didn’t respond. The doctor called the guards at 7:34 a.m., but they didn’t answer until the doctor called the third time. Ms. Zhang was pronounced dead at 7:35 a.m. and removed from the cell.
Mr. Zhong Guoquan, of Mishan City, Heilongjiang Province, was sentenced to three and a half years in August 2020 for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong. He was admitted to the Jixi City Prison on November 17, 2020, and later transferred to Tailai Prison, where he died on February 6, 2022. He was 72.
Mr. Zhong’s family had requested medical parole in early 2022, but the prison turned them down on the grounds that Mr. Zhong was a political prisoner. His family was devastated on February 6 when they received a phone call from the prison saying he had died hours earlier.
Mr. Zhong was arrested on March 4, 2020, after being reported for distributing Falun Gong materials. While awaiting an indictment, he was admitted to the Mudanjiang Agricultural Reclamation Community Hospital on July 6, 2020. He was found to have numerous diseases, including Type 2 diabetes, kidney failure, multiple strokes, high blood pressure, heart disease, urinary tract infection, high cholesterol, blood clots, and impaired vision and hearing.
Mr. Zhong appeared in the Mishan City Court on August 11, 2020 and was sentenced to 3.5 years one week later. He appealed the verdict, but his appeal was rejected by the higher court.
Mr. Zhong was moved from the Mishan City Detention Center to the Jixi City Prison on the morning of November 17, 2020. He was later transferred to Tailai Prison, where he died on February 6, 2022. The Tailai County Chinese Medicine Hospital issued a statement to say that he died of respiratory failure.
Tailai Prison has been used as a concentration camp by the authorities to transform Falun Gong practitioners. Those who refused to write statements to renounce their faith were subjected to various forms of torture, including being hung up by handcuffs, being forced to stand or squat for long hours, sleep deprivation for days on end, force-feeding of chili pepper water, and verbal abuse.
Mr. Shi Jianwei died at Yunnan Province No. 1 Prison while serving a 6.5-year term for his faith in Falun Gong. While the prison claimed that Mr. Shi died of liver cancer, his family suspects that he was tortured to death, given the bruises on his back and the normal level of tumor marker protein. His body has been cremated against his family’s will.
Mr. Shi, a former English teacher in Binchuan County, Yunnan Province, was arrested at home on September 7, 2015 for filing a criminal complaint against Jiang Zemin, the former leader of the Chinese communist regime who ordered the persecution of Falun Gong. He was tried by the Xiangyun County Court on June 23, 2016 and sentenced to 6.5 years at the Yunnan Province No.1 Prison.
Beginning in 2019, the prison denied Mr. Shi any family visitation. Two years later, on August 25, 2021, his family received a call from the prison that Mr. Shi was suspected of having liver cancer and had been taken to the prison hospital.
The guards said Mr. Shi had lost more than 20 pounds in recent months and was in critical condition, yet they still refused to release him on medical parole, allow his family to visit him, or to review his medical record, citing the pandemic and Mr. Shi’s refusal to renounce Falun Gong.
A month later, on September 26, a prison guard called Mr. Shi’s family saying that he was on the verge of death and was being resuscitated. His family asked to visit him, but they were refused again, citing the pandemic.
Three hours later, the same guard informed the family that Mr. Shi had passed away and demanded they come to the prison to sign his cremation paperwork.
When the family saw Mr. Shi’s body at the funeral home, they noticed that he had bruises on his back and fluid accumulation in his abdomen. Suspecting he was tortured, the family refused to sign the cremation agreement and demanded to see his medical record.
A week later, the prison provided three of Mr. Shi’s blood test results. In all three tests, the levels of alpha-fetoprotein, an important indicator of liver cancer, were normal.
Mr. Shi’s family requested an autopsy, but the prison guards replied that they would have to prepay 100,000 yuan to cover the cost. They also threatened the family that if they didn’t agree with their assessment of the cause of death, they could file a complaint against the prison with the procuratorate, but it wouldn’t change the result whatsoever.
Mr. Shi’s family demanded to take his medical record and blood test results with them, but the guards refused to release the documents, claiming that the family were only allowed to take a look at them. Shortly after, the guards cremated Mr. Shi’s body against his family’s will.
Deaths Shortly After Prison Release
Mr. Bai Xingguo was injected with a toxic drug six months before his term for practicing Falun Gong ended. His health kept deteriorating, and he was constantly in a delirious state. When the prison asked his family to pick him up in January 2022, he was already incapacitated and on the verge of death. He passed away 20 days later.
Mr. Bai, of Chengde City, Hebei Province, was arrested on January 4, 2018, when he went with several other practitioners to put up banners reading “Falun Dafa is good.” He stood trial on April 18, 2018 and was sentenced to three years in June 2018.
On December 15, 2018, Mr. Bai, who had been released on bail, was taken back into custody at Tucheng Detention Center and later transferred to the Tangshan Prison, where he was given the deadly shot.
Ms. Ji Guizhen, a Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province, resident, died on February 3, 2022, one month after she was released on medical parole while serving time for her faith in Falun Gong. She was 75.
Ms. Ji was arrested at home on September 23, 2019. While several officers restrained Ms. Ji and videotaped her, the others searched her home and confiscated her computer, printer, Falun Gong books, and related materials. The 500 yuan cash in her purse was also taken away. The police carried Ms. Ji into the police van and took her away when she refused to walk on her own.
Ms. Ji was interrogated about having put up information about Falun Gong in a local neighborhood. She didn’t provide any information but said to the police that she was hoping they could get to know the facts about Falun Gong and not participate in the persecution.
The police forced Ms. Ji to press her fingerprints on some documents. They held her at the police station until 8 p.m. and released her on bail.
She was tried by the Wujiang District Court on August 11, 2020 and sentenced to three years and three months in mid-December. The judge also fined her 3,000 yuan.
After nearly 1.5 years at the Suzhou City Detention Center, Ms. Ji’s family was informed by the guards on January 3, 2022 to take her home on medical parole. She passed away a month later on February 3. It’s not clear whether she developed a terminal disease in the detention center or was subjected to torture which claimed her life.
Deaths After Long-term Persecution
Less than one year after Ms. Guan Fengxia passed away due to years of harassment for practicing Falun Gong, her husband, Mr. Dai Zhidong, also died, one month following his last arrest for their shared faith.
Mr. Dai, a former submersible pump company employee under the Daqing Petroleum Administration in Heilongjiang Province, was arrested on January 8, 2022, after he and another practitioner were reported for giving out a pamphlet with information about Falun Gong at a gas station. The police ransacked his home and charged him a 10,000-yuan bond, before releasing him on bail.
Mr. Dai was under tremendous pressure with the newest round of financial persecution, as he was still struggling to pay off Ms. Guan’s medical bills. With the police confiscating his only 5,000 yuan in cash savings, and his son paying the 10,000 yuan bond for him, he worried when he would be able to pay off all the debts. Meanwhile, the police threatened Mr. Dai not to report the persecution to the Minghui.org website. The mental pressure took a toll on his health and he passed away on February 11, 2022. He was 60 years old.
Since the onset of the persecution, Mr. Dai and Ms. Guan were repeatedly arrested for speaking up for Falun Gong. Ms. Guan was given two years of forced labor and Mr. Dai was sentenced to seven years. Both of them were subjected to beatings, sleep deprivation and other torture for not renouncing their faith.
Even after they were released, the authorities kept harassing the couple, leaving them under tremendous mental distress. The ongoing persecution took a toll on Ms. Guan’s health. She developed uterine fibroids and had irregular bleeding. She was unable to eat and became emaciated. She passed away on March 5, 2021, just 60 years old.
Mr. Zhang Guoyu suffered repeated arrests, detention and torture ever since the Chinese communist regime began to persecute Falun Gong 23 years ago. While serving his second labor camp term, he was stretched into an excruciatingly painful position for nine days and suffered a severe lung infection.
Mr. Zhang suffered another round of harassment in 2021, causing him much mental distress, and his lung condition relapsed. He had fluid accumulation in his abdomen, which contributed to multiple organ failure. He passed away on January 18, 2022. He was 50 years old.
Mr. Zhang, a former customer service manager at a communication company in Dalian City, Liaoning Province, was first arrested in 2001 with his wife for going to Beijing to appeal for the right to practice Falun Gong. When both of them were detained, their preschooler son was left at home without their care.
Mr. Zhang was later given two years of forced labor. At Yaojia Detention Center, because he refused to wear an inmate name tag, the guards put him in solitary confinement and instigated other inmates to beat him. They handcuffed him to a bed, covered his head with a helmet and beat him. His legs were severely injured and he was unable to get off the bed afterwards. The guards handcuffed him so tight that his fingers were still numb a month later.
Mr. Zhang was forced to lie in bed for over 20 days, with no bedding or blanket. The only time he was allowed to get up was to use the restroom and have meals, which was less than one hour each day. He wasn’t allowed to wash himself or change clothes. When he was finally let off the bed, his hands and feet were severely swollen due to poor blood circulation.
Mr. Zhang was arrested again on September 12, 2006 and given another two years at the Benxi Forced Labor Camp.
In order to force him to renounce Falun Gong, the guards tied Mr. Zhang up in the “extreme stretch” position for nine days in March 2003. In this torture, the guards put two single beds together and fastened the Mr. Zhang’s four limbs to the corners of the beds. Every now and then, the guards either tightened up the ropes or pulled the beds further apart, keeping them apart by filling the gap between them with bricks.
They planned to keep him tied up for a longer time, hoping it would force him to renounce Falun Gong and provide information about other practitioners. By the ninth day, Mr. Zhang began to have difficulty breathing and to exhibit other severe symptoms. When the guards took him to the hospital, the doctor found a severe lung infection that required immediate treatment. The guards refused to let him stay at the hospital but took him to the clinic at the labor camp.
Mr. Zhang suffered a persistent high fever for a week before his temperature finally returned to normal after being given three bottles of IV drips every day. Unable to bear the persecution anymore, he wrote a statement to renounce Falun Gong against his will. He later regretted it and wrote a solemn statement, nullifying the statement, after which he was put in solitary confinement for fourteen days.
After Mr. Zhang was released in September 2008, the authorities continued to harass him and his wife from time to time. He lived in fear and tremendous distress. His lung condition relapsed in 2021 during the latest round of harassment. He had fluid accumulation in his lung and abdomen and died from multiple organ failure at a hospital on the early morning of January 18, 2022.
When Ms. Ye Zhongqiu was released from prison in November 2020 after serving a four-year term for her faith in Falun Gong, she was unable to walk or talk clearly. The former physics teacher died on January 25, 2022. She was 54.
Ms. Ye’s death capped two decades of suffering due to the persecution of her faith. For raising awareness about the persecution, she was sentenced three times for a total of 12 years. She was fired from her school. Her husband divorced her due to the pressure of the persecution. Her daughter was deprived of mother’s care while still in middle school.
Ms. Ye used to teach at the Liaozhong County Urban No. 2 Middle School in Liaoning Province. She was first arrested on December 10, 2003, after being reported by another teacher at the school for passing out information about the persecution to her students. She was fired by the school and later sentenced to five years.
Her imprisonment dealt a heavy blow to her daughter, who was in the second year of middle school, as the young girl was deprived of her mother’s care and love. Unable to bear the pressure, her husband, who was also a middle school teacher, divorced Ms. Ye.
After Ms. Ye was released in November 2008, she provided tutoring to several students. While preparing lunch for the students one day in October 2010, a group of police officers broke in. They said that Wang Lianhe, the principal of the Liaozhong County Urban No. 1 Middle School, reported her for giving him a DVD with information about the persecution of Falun Gong. Ms. Ye stood trial in the Liaozhong County Court on March 8, 2011 and was sentenced to three years.
Ms. Ye continued her effort to raise awareness about the persecution after she was released. She was arrested one more time on November 3, 2016 for trying to stop the police from spraying pepper water on another practitioner. She appeared in the Liaozhong District Court on August 23, 2017 and was sentenced to four years in November 2017.
At the Liaoning Province Women’s Prison, Ms. Ye was often beaten and verbally abused. She suffered a stroke on April 4, 2020 and became incapacitated. She was first treated at a hospital affiliated with the prison and then transferred to the clinic inside the prison. The guards blocked her daughter from visiting her, citing the pandemic as an excuse.
When Ms. Ye was released in November 2020, she was unable to walk on her own or talk clearly. She succumbed to the physical damage and passed away fourteen months later, on January 25, 2022.
When Mr. Tian Chengjun’s five-year prison term for practicing Falun Gong expired on June 18, 2013, the authorities continued to detain him at a secret location for years. He was extremely weak and emaciated when he was released. He locked himself at home and didn’t dare to go out to meet with anyone. As the police continued to harass him, he moved in with his sister, only to die on February 27, 2021, after suffering a heart attack. He was 53.
Mr. Tian, a Baoqing County, Heilongjiang Province resident, was arrested at home on June 18, 2008, less than two months before the Beijing Olympics. The authorities claimed that they were preventing him from going to Beijing to appeal for the right to practice Falun Gong.
Mr. Tian appeared in the Baoqing County Court on November 18 and was sentenced to five years on December 4. While serving time at the Lianjiangkou Prison, he was forced to do unpaid labor and subjected to various forms of torture.
When his term expired on June 18, 2013, the prison transferred him to another undisclosed detention facility out of town. It’s not clear how exactly long he was detained beyond his prison term.
82-year-old Man Dies Due to Mental Distress from the Persecution
Mr. Chen Liqing, a Pengzhou City, Sichuan Province, resident, passed away on January 31, 2022, after enduring multiple arrests and countless incidents of harassment over the past 23 years. He was 82.
Mr. Chen, a former elementary school teacher, was sentenced to three years in September 2004. At the Deyang Prison, the guards beat him and kicked his lower body, as he refused to write a statement to renounce Falun Gong. The inmates added toxic drugs to his food and drinking water. He was also given an injection before being released and began to suffer a mental disorder shortly after.
The authorities monitored Mr. Chen’s daily life and often harassed him after he was released. The harassment further escalated in September 2021, as the residential committee staff members constantly came to order him to renounce Falun Gong. Succumbing to the mental distress, Mr. Chen died on January 31, 2022.
Premature Death of 44-year-old Man After a Two-year Labor Camp Detention, Forced Divorce and Non-stop Harassment
Mr. Guan Yunzhi, a resident of Tieling City, Liaoning Province, was subjected to inhumane torture while serving a two-year labor camp term between 2002 and 2004 for practicing Falun Gong. His wife divorced him due to the pressure of the persecution. He was also fired by his workplace and subjected to non-stop harassment from the authorities. The mental suffering took a toll on his health. He passed away on March 1, 2022, at the age of 44.
Mr. Guan was first arrested on December 24, 2001, while working at the Qinghe District Power Company. The police threatened to sentence him to prison, to set a precedent [of convicting innocent Falun Gong practitioners] in the Qinghe District.
As Mr. Guan refused to renounce Falun Gong during the interrogation, the police slapped him in the face, stepped on his toes, yanked his neck, pulled his body hair and burnt his fingers with cigarettes.
Mr. Guan was given two years at the Tieling Forced Labor Camp in late January 2002. When he wrote how he benefitted from practicing Falun Gong in the required “thought report,” the guards whipped his back with a spiked rubber stick with a metal core. As Mr. Guan remained firm in his faith, the guards shocked him with electric batons on his head, chest and then all over his body.
The police continued to harass Mr. Guan after he was released. Upon learning about a potential arrest in March 2007, he lived away from home to avoid the police and was fired by his workplace. By then, his wife had been pregnant for a few months. Suspecting that she also practiced Falun Gong, the police arrested and threatened her. Not wanting to continue living in fear, she divorced him.
Mr. Guan was stopped and questioned by the police while walking on the street on July 30, 2014. After a police officer found he practiced Falun Gong, he arrested him and interrogated him overnight. Mr. Guan was released on bail after over 40 days of detention.
As a result of the relentless persecution, Mr. Guan began to suffer medical problems. His health kept deteriorating over the years and he eventually died on March 1, 2022, just 44 years of age.
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