Name: Yang XiurongChinese Name: 杨秀荣Gender: FemaleAge: 77City: ChifengProvince: Inner MongoliaOccupation: N/ADate of Death: February 25, 2022Date of Most Recent Arrest: February 22, 2012Most Recent Place of Detention: Inner Mongolia Women’s Prison

After enduring repeated arrests, harassment, incarceration, and torture for the last 20 years for refusing to give up her faith in Falun Gong, Ms. Yang Xiurong was dealt another heavy blow when the authorities suspended her pension in 2020, claiming that she wasn’t entitled to it because she’d been sentenced to prison.

The Chifeng City, Inner Mongolia, resident contacted various government agencies to seek justice, but to no avail. She succumbed to the physical and mental distress of the persecution and passed away on February 25, 2022. She was 77.

Below is a summary of what Ms. Yang endured.

Arrested for Doing the Falun Gong Exercises in a Park

Ms. Yang was first arrested on March 7, 2000, while doing the Falun Gong exercises in a park with 30 other practitioners. The arrest came less than a year after the Chinese communist regime ordered the nationwide persecution of Falun Gong, an ancient spiritual discipline, in July 1999 due to its enormous popularity.

All the practitioners were taken to the Hongshan District Detention Center, where Falun Gong practitioners accounted for most of the detainees.

The guards often woke up Ms. Yang and other practitioners in the same cell in the middle of the night and forced them to stand facing the wall while verbally abusing them. The practitioners held a hunger strike to protest the persecution. Fifteen days later, Ms. Yang was released.

Tortured in the Detention Center

Over ten officers broke into Ms. Yang’s home in October 2000 and searched her home for over two hours. After she was taken to the police station, the officers forced her to stand along the wall for hours, before allowing her to sit down.

The officers verbally abused her and ordered her to confess her “Falun Gong problems.” She responded that there was nothing for her to confess since she merely tried to be a good person and have good health by practicing Falun Gong. The police interrogated her for over ten hours and didn’t let her sleep.

Ms. Yang was transferred to the Hongshan District Police Department the next day. The police forced her to sit in a Tiger Bench with her hands cuffed behind her back. They yanked the bench back and forth and caused enormous pain in her arms and wrists. She was restrained on the Tiger Bench for four days, handcuffed. She wasn’t allowed to use the restroom or given any food or water.

When Ms. Yang insisted that the police loosen the handcuffs, one officer said, “All right! Let me tighten it up for you.” When she was finally let loose, her arms and hands were severely bruised and swollen. The pain was excruciating.

Torture reenactment: Handcuffed behind the back

Shortly after, they handcuffed her behind her back again but this time with one hand over her shoulder. Ms. Yang had difficulty breathing and suffered incontinence. She also began to have constant vaginal bleeding.

Ms. Yang was later taken to the Hongshan District Detention Center for a day before being transferred to the Songshan District Detention Center. One guard who was sympathetic said, “Why did they torture you like this just for practicing Falun Gong?”

Ms. Yang was forced to pick beans for over 13 hours every day in the Songshan District Detention Center. Three months later, she was transferred to the Tumuji Forced Labor Camp to serve a one-year term.

One Year in a Forced Labor Camp

As soon as Ms. Yang was admitted to the labor camp, the guards ordered her to renounce Falun Gong. When she refused to comply, they hung her up and beat her, often for over two hours at a time. In addition to the torture, she was forced to do intensive free labor, including working in the fields. When she came back from the fields to the labor camp, the guards searched her. In the evening, she was forced to listen to or watch propaganda videos that slandered Falun Gong.

Torture illustration: Hung up and beaten

Ms. Yang was arrested again in 2001 shortly after she was released. Many of her personal belongings were confiscated. The police later released her after extorting 3,000 yuan from her family.

Second Two-year Labor Camp Term

Ms. Yang’s next arrest was in November 2009. Her home was ransacked again. In the Songshan District Detention Center when she insisted that she didn’t violate any law and refused to recite the detention center rules, the guards slapped her in the face and forced her to stand for long hours.

The police gave her another two-year labor camp term without due process two months later. They extorted 31,000 yuan from her family and then allowed her to serve the time at home.

Sentenced to 3.5 Years

Ms. Yang’s last arrest was outside of a local hospital on February 22, 2012. The police wrapped her clothes around her neck and almost suffocated her until she lost control of her bowels. They took her keys and went to search her home. After the police left, her family had to send the fridge the police had damaged for repair twice, each time at a cost of 400 yuan.

The police fabricated materials to frame Ms. Yang and ordered her to sign a statement. They continued doing so after she was taken to the Hongshan District Detention Center. When she refused, they verbally abused her.

Even without Ms. Yang’s signature, the police still managed to work with the local procuratorate and court to get her sentenced to 3.5 years.

After six months in the detention center, Ms. Yang was transferred to the Inner Mongolia Women’s Prison. The guards assigned inmates to monitor Falun Gong practitioners around the clock and forbade the practitioners from talking to each other.

The guards also ordered the practitioners to verbally abuse Falun Gong and its founder, watch propaganda videos slandering Falun Gong, and sign statements to denounce Falun Gong.

When the practitioners pointed out that the propaganda videos were fake or resisted the persecution, the guards instigated the inmates to beat them and shock them with electric batons. Some inmates slapped the practitioners in the face, while others kicked them on the chest or their private parts. The practitioners ended up having difficulty breathing, and some became incontinent or even incapacitated.

When the torture and brainwashing failed to break the practitioners, the guards ordered the inmates to add toxic drugs to their food or drinking water. Some practitioners who were very healthy suddenly had high blood pressure and suffered a stroke. Some saw their teeth start to fall out and others began to have hallucinations.

Ms. Yang also developed severe symptoms due to the torture and drugging. At her family’s insistence, the authorities released her six months ahead of time on medical parole.

Financial Devastation

While Ms. Yang was incarcerated, her family was greatly distressed. The family was dealt another heavy blow when the authorities suspended Ms. Yang’s pension in 2020, citing a policy that no one serving time was entitled to retirement benefits, despite the fact that no Chinese labor law has such a stipulation.

Ms. Yang contacted the authorities to seek justice but was told that if she returned the funds she received during her prison term (amount unknown), they might resume her pension payments.

While Ms. Yang’s children borrowed money to repay the funds, Ms. Yang was under tremendous mental pressure due to the extra financial burden she was causing them. Her health quickly declined, and she passed away on February 25, 2022.