(Minghui.org) The Double Ninth Festival is a traditional Chinese holiday that honors and celebrates seniors. This year the festival fell on October 23 and was another sad reminder that the persecution of Falun Gong continues to this day and that the many elderly who practice Falun Gong are still unable to enjoy this festival honoring the aged.

Ever since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) started the persecution of Falun Gong in July 1999, countless practitioners have been harassed, arrested, jailed, tortured, or even had their organs harvested for upholding their faith. The elderly are not spared. Instead of being respected and well treated, many of them were detained and tortured for their belief in Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.

Of the 55 sentencing cases reported in September 2023, 35 of the practitioners were 60 or older at the time of their conviction, including 17 in their 60s, 14 in their 70s, and four in their 80s.

Ms. Liao An’an, 87, of Baiyin City, Gansu Province, was not only sentenced to three years and nine months following her latest arrest but was also ordered to re-serve the last three years of a previous prison sentence, which she had already served outside of prison due to her health. The two sentences could not be served concurrently, so she is now serving a combined 6.5 years.

Ms. Yang Yuzhen, also 87, of Qingdao City, Shandong Province, was sentenced to one year and fined 5,000 yuan on September 16, 2023.

Ms. Wang Ruiling, 71, from Tangshan City, Hebei Province, was arrested on July 6, 2019, and admitted to Shijiazhuang Women’s Prison on April 15, 2021, to serve an eight-year term. She has been denied family visits since her trial in December 2019.

According to insiders, the guards beat Ms. Wang three times a day and the floor of her cell was covered in blood splatters. They slammed her head against the wall and poured cold water over her. When she refused to open her mouth to be force-fed an unknown drug, they pried it open and knocked out some of her teeth.

Despite the brutal torture, Ms. Wang refused to “transform” (to renounce her faith). In retaliation, the prison did not allow her family to visit her. Her family made numerous requests to see her but were always told, “No ‘transformation,’ no visits.”

As a result of the persecution, some of the elderly died in misery.

Having had his family factory seized and losing his wife 11 years ago due to the persecution, Mr. Zhao Xudong of Jilin City, Jilin Province, died on August 10, 2023, ten days after the police harassed him. The couple’s two children were also persecuted for practicing Falun Gong. Their son, Mr. Zhao Guoxing, was incarcerated and tortured for over 13 years; their daughter, Ms. Zhao Guokun, is now facing a prison sentence. She was indicted on July 18, 2023.

Ms. Fei Shuqin from Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province, died in Heilongjiang Province Women’s Prison on February 16, 2023, while serving a 13-year term. She was 77 years old.

According to Ms. Fei’s family, she developed uterine fibroids, high blood pressure, and a heart condition shortly after her imprisonment, yet the prison repeatedly denied their application to have her released on medical parole. The family hadn’t been allowed to see her since 2019.

When Ms. Fei lost her appetite and was plagued with constant drowsiness, she was taken to the prison hospital on January 13, 2023. The doctor found she’d had multiple lacunar infarctions, brain atrophy, and a severe lung condition. Despite her condition, the prison still denied her family’s requests to visit her and also refused to release her.

At 1 p.m. on February 16, the prison informed Ms. Fei’s family that they were transferring her to another hospital. But one hour later, the prison called again and said she had just passed away. Her family suspects that she might have already been dead when the prison called earlier.

The prison initially barred Ms. Fei’s family from seeing her body. But at their insistence, the guards relented after getting approval from their supervisor. Ms. Fei’s family said she appeared to be extremely thin and her head was shaved.

Mencius said, “Respect the elderly in your own family as well as you respect the elderly in other families. Care for your own children as well as you care for others’ children.” In Chinese history, respecting the elderly was one of the foremost traditional virtues. But under the totalitarian rule of the CCP, such traditional virtues have been discarded. Instead, the elderly face brutal persecution and abuse, simply for upholding their faith in Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Only by disintegrating the CCP, can the elderly enjoy happiness and well-being.