(Minghui.org) A few months after Mr. Qi Hongshu finished serving 6.5 years for practicing Falun Gong, his wife passed away in May 2022, after enduring two decades of mental distress and hardship in the persecution of their shared faith.

Since the Chinese communist regime began to target Falun Gong, a spiritual and meditation discipline, in 1999, the lives of Mr. Qi, a former middle school teacher, and his wife, Ms. Liu Guiying, a gold mine employee, had been turned upside down. 

Mr. Qi was sentenced to prison three times; to three, five, and six and a half years, respectively. While he was detained and fired from his job, Ms. Liu struggled to raise their child by herself. She also worried constantly about whether Mr. Qi was being tortured in prison. 

Mr. Qi was first arrested in November 2004 after being reported for talking to his students about Falun Gong. As he held a hunger strike to protest the persecution during the five-month detention at Songshan District Detention Center, the guards force-fed him with food mixed with feces. 

Mr. Qi was later sentenced to three years. He was beaten and verbally abused by the inmates almost every day at the Chifeng Prison. The guards forced him to stand up straight for hours without moving and shocked him with electric batons.

On September 8, 2009, less than two years after he was released, Mr. Qi was arrested again and sentenced to five years in Chifeng Prison. 

His next arrest was at 2 a.m. on July 22, 2015. Officer Xu Guofeng of the Songshan District Domestic Security Office attempted to gain political favor by persecuting him. Mr. Qi held another hunger strike at the Songshan District Detention Center. Although the police released him on bail at one point, they soon took him back into custody.

Mr. Qi was sentenced to six years and six months with a 20,000-yuan fine by the Songshan District Court in June 2016 without legal representation. The guards at the Chifeng Prison assigned specific personnel to monitor and torture him. He was denied family visits. 

During the “Zero-out” campaign in 2020 (a concerted effort to target every Falun Gong practitioner on the government’s list to renounce their faith), the authorities in Chifeng Prison also intensified the torture against the practitioners in an attempt to transform them.