(Minghui.org) An 83-year-old woman in Luzhou City, Sichuan Province never returned home after she was taken away by staff members of the Jiangyang District Court on November 10, 2021, for a physical examination.

Ms. Zhao Zhaoquan’s family later learned from a letter she wrote them that she was taken to the Hejiang Detention Center on the same day. Her detention was further confirmed after they received her arrest notice. Without informing the family, the court secretly sentenced her to two years.

Ms. Zhao’s family learned from an insider that she is experiencing some medical condition while in custody. But a person familiar with her case told the family that because she is a political prisoner for her faith in Falun Gong, there is no way for them to get her out. Another official directly told the family that they could just wait to pick up Ms. Zhao’s ashes.

Since June 2021, staff members from the Jiangyang District Court repeatedly came to Ms. Zhao’s home and took her to do various physical examinations. One day, she came home with all sorts of tubes on her body, including one that monitored her heartbeat. She felt uncomfortable and pulled the tube. When a court staff member took her back to the hospital the next day to read the result, the doctor said the result wasn’t accurate and he had to do the test again.

One and half months after Ms. Zhao’s last physical examination, her family received a letter from her on December 24, 2021. She said that when the court staff members, surnamed Li and Fang, came on the morning of November 10, they told her that if all results looked good, they wouldn’t take her to do more physicals in the future. They also bought breakfast for Ms. Zhao as she hadn’t had anything that morning.

After two hospitals both confirmed that Ms. Zhao was perfectly healthy, the court staff members took Ms. Zhao to the Hejiang County Detention Center for a 14-day quarantine. She was later transferred to the Luzhou City Detention Center and has been held there since.

Ms. Zhao’s family was very worried about her and sought her release, only to be told that she had been sentenced to two years.

Two Decades of Persecution

Ms. Zhao, a retired elementary school teacher, took up Falun Gong in May 1996. She credits the ancient mind-body practice for curing her arthritis, frozen shoulder, nephritis, and inflammation in the bone.

Because of not renouncing her faith, she was held in detention centers and brainwashing centers multiple times since the onset of the persecution in 1999. She was given two labor camp terms of 2 and 3 years, respectively, as well as being sentenced once to 2.5 years. Due to her health condition, she was rejected admission and exempted from serving the 3-year labor camp and 2.5-year prison term. The two incidents eventually prompted a series of physical examinations prior to her latest sentencing, as the court intended to make sure that she is imprisoned this time.

Ms. Zhao went to Beijing in November 2000 to appeal for the right to practice Falun Gong and was almost beaten to death by the police. Undeterred, she returned a month later to continue her appeal, only to be taken to a prison in the suburb of Beijing. She and another practitioner were forced to sit with their backs against each other on the concrete ground, blown by the freezing wind. The armed police stood on guard outside.

After she was taken back to Luzhou, she was fined 20,000 yuan and held at various detention facilities. Although she was forced to pay 20 yuan for the food every day, she was only given stinky pickles. As she remained firm in Falun Gong, the authorities extended her detention for another month and starved her.

Ms. Zhao was given two years at the Nanmusi Women’s Forced Labor Camp on May 18, 2001. She was forced to watch propaganda videos smearing Falun Gong and ordered to write statements to renounce Falun Gong every day. The enormous mental distress took a toll on her health and she developed high blood pressure. Yet the guards still forced her to stand for 2.5 hours facing the wall, every day for three months.

During her term, the local government officials and police forced the school she retired from to take 20,800 yuan from her pension fund to pay for the fine. Her daughter was also extorted 20,000 yuan as the “future” fine if Ms. Zhao went to Beijing to appeal again.

When Ms. Zhao was released, the school didn’t issue her pension payment for seven years and she only received a 200 yuan minimum subsidy every month.

Ms. Zhao was arrested again on September 28, 2004. She was detained for three weeks after the police found seven stickers printed with “Falun Dafa is good” in her bag. Her Falun Gong books and photo of Falun Gong’s founder were also confiscated. The police threatened that if she didn’t renounce Falun Gong this time, they were determined to detain her until she died.

During her detention, the education bureau arranged two people to brainwash her every day. Her two months of income, totaling 400 yuan, was used to buy new blankets and sheets for the people who brainwashed her.

Ms. Zhao and another practitioner, Ms. Gu Yuanjie, traveled to Pingtang County, Guizhou Province on August 16, 2005, to see the stone naturally inscribed with the words “Chinese Communist Party Being Eliminated.” Both of them were arrested for talking to other tourists about Falun Gong.

When Ms. Zhao refused to be body searched, the police beat her, slapped her in the face, stomped on her feet, and burnt her face with boiling water.

Days later, the authorities in Guizhou gave Ms. Zhao, then 66, a three-year labor camp term and Ms. Gu, then 60, a two-year labor camp term. Both women were taken to the Guizhou Province Women’s Forced Labor Camp on September 15. But because they were found to have high blood pressure and a heart condition, the labor camp refused to accept them and they were then released.

In 2006, most of Ms. Zhao’s former colleagues got a huge raise in their pension payments, with more than 2,000 yuan per month. But Ms. Zhao was excluded from the raise. When she finally started to receive pension payments again in January 2010, she only had around 1,000 yuan per month.

Ms. Zhao was arrested one more time on November 19, 2015. As she failed the physical requirement for detention, she was released on the same day and put on house arrest.

Several residential committee officials called Ms. Zhao on the evening of March 30, 2016. They claimed that they were interested in learning Falun Gong and asked Ms. Zhao to teach them. She went to their office, only to be arrested and held there overnight. The next day, the police took her to the Naxi Detention Center, claiming for her to answer some questions. She went there, only to find the court was holding a hearing of her at the detention center.

Two police officers showed up at Ms. Zhao’s home on September 20, 2016, and took her to the Jiangyang District Court. They deceived her that she was allowed to attend the hearing of another practitioner Ms. Luo Shuizhen. It turned out again the hearing was about Ms. Zhao. Similar to the last hearing, the second one also ended in ten minutes.

Qiao Jianhua, the head of Jiangyang District Domestic Security Office, delivered Ms. Zhao’s verdict to her home on November 25, 2016. The then 77-year-old woman was sentenced to 2.5 years and fined 3,000 yuan. As she failed the physical examination again, she was allowed to serve from time to time.

In the past few years, the authorities in Luzhou have sentenced several elderly practitioners to prison, simply for their faith. Two cases, for example, were 76-year-old Ms. Gao Xianying who was sentenced to seven years, and 77-year-old Ms. Zhao Wenxiu who was given seven and a half years in 2019. Prior to the latest sentencing, both women have been sentenced two more times and subjected to brutal torture in custody.

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