(Minghui.org) The deaths of 19 Falun Gong practitioners as a result of the persecution by the Chinese communist regime were reported in February 2023.

Four of the deaths took place between 2018 and 2021, seven in 2022, and five in 2023. The exact time of the remaining three practitioners’ deaths remains unknown. Due to strict information censorship in China, the deaths can’t always be reported in a timely manner, nor is all information readily available.

The deceased practitioners were from 12 different provinces. Shandong and Jiangxi each reported four cases. Heilongjiang reported two cases. The remaining nine provinces, including Yunnan, Sichuan, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Jiangsu, Jilin, Guangdong, Gansu, and Inner Mongolia, each had one case.

Two of the practitioners died in custody, including a 30-year-old former radio host who was beaten to death in prison and an 86-year-old senior engineer who died days before he was set to finish a four-year term. A practitioner passed away three years after she suffered a mental breakdown following her last arrest. Most others died after succumbing to the physical and mental persecution over the years.

Below are some select death cases. The full list of the 19 practitioners can be downloaded here (PDF).

Deaths in Custody

30-year-old Former Radio Host Beaten to Death in Prison

A 30-year-old former host of the Sichuan People’s Radio Station was beaten to death on December 2, 2022, while serving a five-year term in Jiazhou Prison, Sichuan Province.

Mr. Pang Xun

Mr. Pang Xun’s body was covered with bruises from the beating, as well as marks from electric shocks and being tied up tightly with rope. He had also become incontinent due to the torture.

Mr. Pang Xun was covered with bruises when he died.

The prison denied having tortured Mr. Pang but claimed that he died of hyperthyroidism.

Mr. Pang was arrested on July 27, 2020, for distributing Falun Gong materials and later sentenced to five years in Jiazhou Prison.

86-year-old Man Dies Days Before Finishing Wrongful Prison Term

An 86-year-old Kunming City, Yunnan Province resident died on January 4, 2023, days before he finished serving a four-year term for practicing Falun Gong.

Mr. Li Peigao retired from Yunnan Construction Installation Company as a senior engineer in 1994 and lived alone. After the persecution started in July 1999, Mr. Li was held in a brainwashing center three times, arrested a dozen times, and had his home ransacked seven times. When he wasn’t incarcerated, the police monitored and followed him, tapped his phone, and summoned him for questioning.

Mr. Li’s latest sentencing resulted from his arrest on November 26, 2015. Due to his advanced age, he was soon released on bail. He stood trial at the Xishan District Court on September 8, 2016 and was sentenced to four years on October 8, 2016. He wasn’t taken to the Yunnan Province Prison to serve time until January 2019. The prison never allowed his family to visit him during that time period.

According to inmates who were released before him, Mr. Li had good health in the prison and it was shocking that he suddenly died, just days before he was to be released. The prison claimed that he died of illness, but didn’t provide any further information to his family.

Deaths due to Long-Term Persecution

After Ten Years of Brutal Torture, Shandong Woman Suffers Mental Breakdown Following Latest Arrest and Dies Three Years Later

A Zhaoyuan City, Shandong Province resident passed away on February 1, 2023, three years after she suffered a mental breakdown following her latest arrest for practicing Falun Gong. She was 61.

Ms. Yang Wenjie was arrested on March 8, 2018, for hanging up a banner that said “Falun Dafa is good.” During the first three months she was held at the Fushan Detention Center, the guards denied her family visits. She wasn’t given any daily necessities, including toilet paper. She was wearing a thick jacket when she was arrested. As the weather warmed up, she wasn’t given any thinner clothes to change into.

According to people who were released from the detention center, Ms. Yang was held in solitary confinement there and no one knew what torture she suffered. But people in the nearby cells heard her desperate screams many times.

The police didn’t inform Ms. Yang’s family of her arrest. It took them over ten days to confirm that she had been arrested. When they went to the Domestic Security Office to demand her release, the police said they would release her in two weeks. Two weeks passed, and the police said they would detain her for three months. About 50 days after Ms. Yang’s arrest, the police called her family and said that her arrest had been approved and they had submitted her case to the procuratorate.

Ms. Yang’s family went to the procuratorate to inquire about her case. The receptionist told them that her case was still with the police, who were given one and a half months to collect evidence against her. The family returned to the Domestic Security Office, but security didn’t let them in and the officer in charge refused to answer their call.

A few days later, the police suddenly ordered Ms. Yang’s family to pick her up. Her family was saddened to see that she had become mentally disoriented and was behaving strangely. They suspected that she was given toxic drugs in the detention center. The family took her to a psychiatric hospital for treatment. Her condition didn’t improve much after three years. She passed away three days after her family transferred her to a local hospital on January 29, 2023.

Past Persecution

Prior to her last arrest, Ms. Yang was given two consecutive labor camp terms totaling six years between 2002 and 2008. She was constantly beaten, held in solitary confinement, and deprived of sleep. The guards also handcuffed her in excruciating positions or hung her up by the wrists. She wasn’t allowed to visit her father, in his 80s, after he fell ill, or attend his funeral after he died.

Ms. Yang was arrested again in late July 2010 and sentenced to four years in prison. During the first few months, she was deprived of sleep, not allowed to brush her teeth, and prohibited from buying toilet paper. The guards also force-fed her urine.

Ms. Yang was later taken to a 5-square-meter room and held there for the remaining duration of her term. The room didn’t have any windows, but a small opening on the door for the guards to deliver food and water to her. There wasn’t a bed inside and she slept on the ground all the time, including during the freezing winter. During the hot summer, the room was steaming inside without any ventilation. The toilet didn’t have water to flush. Whenever she finished using it, the inmates gave her a small bowl of water to flush it.

Shanxi Woman Coerced Into Taking Unknown Drug While in Custody, Dies Nine Months Later

Ms. Tian Jin’e, a Datong City, Shanxi Province, resident, was coerced into taking some unknown drug during a ten-day detention for her faith in Falun Gong. Her reactions significantly slowed and her memory declined after her release. Her palms and finger also became dark. She died nine months later. Her family suspects that the drug she was forced to take in custody was toxic.

In the now 24-year-long persecution of Falun Gong by the Chinese communist regime, involuntary administration of toxic drugs has been frequently used in detention centers and prisons across the country in order to destroy the practitioners’ health and willpower.

Ms. Tian was seized by the police in a group arrest on August 30, 2019. While she was held at the Datong City Lockup, the police claimed that she had high blood pressure and ordered her to take some pills. As she refused to comply, the police tied her up in the bed and threatened to force-feed her the medicine. At that point, an officer came over and said to Ms. Tian, “We are just keeping you here for ten days. If you take the medicine on your own, you won’t suffer from force-feeding, which is quite painful.”

Ms. Tian agreed to take the medication. When she was released ten days later, her mental capacity had significantly declined. She often forgot things and had slow reactions. Her appearance also aged dramatically.

Two days before her passing in May 2020, a friend of hers noticed that her palms and fingers were black. She asked her what happened. Ms. Tian replied that they had been like that in recent months.

In addition to her latest arrest, Ms. Tian was previously given one year at Taiyuan Women’s Forced Labor Camp after being arrested on April 19, 2007, for distributing Falun Gong informational materials.

Jiangsu Woman Dies After Years of Incarceration and Harassment for Upholding Her Faith

Having endured two forced labor camp terms, a prison term and repeated harassment and detention for upholding her faith in Falun Gong, a Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province resident passed away on December 25, 2022. She was 61.

Ms. Wang Huilan used to suffer from Sjogren’s Syndrome (an immune system disorder) and had pain in her joints. She lost the ability to work or care for herself. Just as she lost hope in life, she took up Falun Gong and recovered.

Because she went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong after the onset of the persecution, she was blacklisted by the authorities and subjected to long-term harassment and detention since. While serving time in the labor camp and prison, she was constantly beaten and force-fed unknown drugs. Her parents were traumatized by her persecution and passed away one after another. Her husband was also forced to divorce her to avoid being implicated.

Ms. Wang’s last arrest was in mid-March 2020 when she was studying Falun Gong books at another practitioner’s home. She was held at a brainwashing center for nearly ten days and released after she developed a fever.

Ms. Wang was forced to live away from home for a few months after the 610 Office director harassed her on July 10, 2020. She became incapacitated and urinary incontinent in the summer of 2021. By November 2021, she became confused and also had fecal incontinence. Her brother sent her to a senior living center. She gradually lost the ability to talk and passed away on December 25, 2022.

Shandong Woman Dies in the Persecution of Falun Gong

Shortly after Ms. Zhang Jing was arrested in 2018 for her faith in Falun Gong, she developed a severe heart condition and almost died. In less than a year after she was released on bail, the local court sentenced her to 3.5 years and her appeal was also rejected by the higher court.

Due to Ms. Zhang’s health condition, she wasn’t taken back into custody immediately to serve time. Since April 2020, her health further deteriorated and she was resuscitated several times. After struggling for three years, the Juye County, Shandong Province resident passed away on February 2, 2023. She was 66.

Ms. Zhang’s latest ordeal stemmed from an arrest on November 9, 2017, for caring for another local Falun Gong practitioner who struggled with a medical condition. She held a hunger strike and was released three days later, without serving the 15-day detention given by the police.

The police attempted to arrest Ms. Zhang again on October 11, 2018, with the excuse that her detention the year before wasn’t enforced. While Ms. Zhang escaped the arrest as she wasn’t home when the police came, she was forced to live away from home since to hide from the police.

While on the run, she wrote to the police and urged them to stop participating in the persecution. The police located her through the letter and arrested her on November 27, 2018. Her arrest was approved by the Juye County Procuratorate 20 days later.

At the Heze City Detention Center, Ms. Zhang developed severe heart failure and systemic edema. Her family and lawyer repeatedly urged the Juye County Procuratorate to release her, but the prosecutor rejected them and moved her case to the Cao County Procuratorate. Although the Cao County Procuratorate released Ms. Zhang on bail on January 19, 2019, they didn’t dismiss her case and still indicted her.

The Cao County Court sentenced Ms. Zhang to 3.5 years with a 10,000-yuan fine. She appealed with the Heze City Intermediate Court, which ruled to uphold her original verdict. Due to Ms. Zhang’s health condition, the court didn’t order her to be taken to prison immediately.

The police harassed Ms. Zhang and ransacked her home in January 2020, after she was reported for talking to people about Falun Gong. In the next few months, her health quickly deteriorated and she was hospitalized in April 2020. Meanwhile, the police ordered the company she retired from to suspend her pension and medical insurance. Her children had to cover her 150,000 yuan medical cost in the next three years all on their own. Even when she was bedridden, the local authorities continued to harass her and her family.

Gansu Man Dies after Years of Incarceration and Harassment

Mr. Gao Jiyin, of Jinchang City, Gansu Province, died on December 29, 2022, at the age of 50. Even one month after his passing, the police called his family and asked them if he was staying at home or going out to talk to people about Falun Gong.

Since the onset of the persecution in 1999, both Mr. Gao and his wife endured repeated arrests and harassment. During one of the couple’s arrests on October 15, 2004, the police struck and kicked them in front of their five-year-old son. The boy was left at home by himself for days before a relative picked him up. Mr. Gao was later sentenced to five years and Ms. Wang to three years.

In the prison, Mr. Gao was deprived of sleep, forced to watch videos smearing Falun Gong, and beaten by the inmates. The inmates beat him in such a way that he was injured internally and nothing showed externally. Although he was only in his 30s, his hair turned gray and he suffered from insomnia and slow reactions. His fingers turned numb and he had persistent pain in his neck.

The couple continued to face ongoing harassment after he was released. Several young men approached Mr. Gao when he was heading home from the store at 6 a.m. one day in 2017. One person held him in a choke hold, pushed him into a white car nearby, and took him to the police station.

Several officers showed up at Mr. Gao’s home at 8 a.m., one of them with a video camera on his shoulder. They attempted to open the door with the key they’d snatched from Mr. Gao. After his wife locked the door from the inside, the police called a locksmith and attempted to break in.

Having witnessed his parents being arrested several times, the couple’s 17-year-old son ran to the window of their fifth-floor apartment and called his neighbors for help. Only then did the police leave.

Mr. Gao was taking a nap on September 20, 2021, when a noise near the window woke him up. He stood up and saw a hand reaching inside to pull the curtain.

He looked out the window and saw two men standing in a jig lift, one of them taking photos of the inside of their apartment. At the same time, several people knocked on his door, shouting, “Gao Jiyin, we are from the community. Open the door! We know you are at home!”

Due to the long-term persecution, Mr. Gao began to have severe health issues. He became emaciated and passed away on December 29, 2022.

Shaanxi Woman Dies at 53 After a Four-year Prison Term and Frequent Harassment

After the Chinese Communist Party began to persecute Falun Gong in 1999, Ms. Fang Liting and her family were subjected to arrests, incarceration, and torture. The long-term mental distress took a toll on her health. The Xi’an City, Shaanxi Province resident passed away on January 19, 2023. She was 53.

Ms. Fang, a graduate of Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts, took up Falun Gong before the persecution began. Her father-in-law, Mr. Yang Hengqing, the vice president of Xi’an University of Science and Technology, her mother-in-law, Ms. Long Aiqin, a retired university employee, as well as her brother-in-law, Mr. Yang Zhaojun, also practice Falun Gong.

In the fall of 2000, Ms. Fang went to Beijing to appeal for the right to practice Falun Gong. She managed to escape after being arrested. Upon returning to Xi’an, she and other local practitioners established sites to print informational materials about Falun Gong on a large scale, in order to raise awareness about the persecution.

During a police sweep aimed to destroy the material printing sites, Ms. Fang’s parents-in-law were arrested on August 31, 2002, three days before her arrest. Both her home and her mother’s home were ransacked.

The police hung Ms. Fang up by the wrists and interrogated her. She was first held at the Lanjiatan Drug Rehab Center and then transferred to the Xi’an City Brainwashing Center, before being sentenced to four years.

In Shaanxi Province Women’s Prison, Ms. Fang was subjected to intensive forced labor and starved. The inmates tortured her at will and often ordered her to write statements to renounce Falun Gong. Her sentencing dealt a heavy blow to her father and he passed away shortly after. Her three-year-old daughter developed myocarditis while she was imprisoned.

The four years of imprisonment also took a toll on Ms. Fang’s health and she suffered severe damage to her kidneys.

On August 23, 2015, Ms. Fang filed a criminal complaint against Jiang Zemin, the former head of the communist regime who ordered the persecution. In retaliation, the police kept harassing her. The harassment further intensified during the “Zero-out” campaign in 2021 and 2022, when the authorities attempted to force all Falun Gong practitioners to renounce their faith.

The mental distress puy tremendous pressure on Ms. Fang. Her health quickly declined and her kidneys failed. She eventually passed away on January 19, 2023.

Related report:

15 Falun Gong Practitioner Deaths Due to Persecution Reported in January 2023