Chinese Name: 安福子English Name: An FuziGender: FemaleAge: 82City: YanjiProvince: JilinOccupation: Retired professor at Yanbian Radio and Television UniversityDate of Death: May 22, 2023Date of Most Recent Arrest: August 2021Most Recent Place of Detention: Jilin Province Women’s Prison

An 82-year-old woman in Yanji City, Jilin Province, died on May 22, 2023, while serving three years for her faith in Falun Gong, a mind-body practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party since July 1999. Ms. An Fuzi was last arrested in late August 2021 and admitted to the Jilin Province Women’s Prison weeks later.

A few months before Ms. An’s passing, the prison notified her family that she developed pleural effusion and asked them to cooperate with the authorities in her medical treatment. Her son and daughter, both of whom worked in South Korea at the time, asked to have virtual meetings or phone calls with her but their requests were denied. Citing the pandemic as an excuse, the prison didn’t allow her other family members in China to visit her in person either.

After her passing, the prison asked her family to sign a consent to have her body cremated, but it is unclear whether her loved ones complied. The prison had her body cremated without the presence of any of her family members.

Ms. An, of Korean ethnicity and a retired professor of Yanbian Radio and Television University, was not the only one in her family to lose their life to the persecution of Falun Gong. Her sister, Ms. An Yingji, died at 64 on December 26, 2022, after suffering years of detention and later displacement to avoid further arrests.

Taking Up Falun Gong

Ms. An Fuzi had her entire stomach removed. She also suffered from anemia, double pneumonia, respiratory failure, cerebral thrombosis, and general edema. She fell into critical condition many times over the years. Her symptoms became so grave at one point that an emergency room doctor gave up hope of reviving her. She survived but continued to suffer from her myriad of illnesses.

Her fate changed after she and her sister attended Master Li Hongzhi (founder of Falun Gong)’s lecture series given in Yanji City between August 20 and 27, 1994. She was drawn to Falun Gong’s profound principles and immediately decided to take up the practice. Her symptoms soon disappeared, and she was finally able to enjoy an illness-free life.

Ms. An also became more considerate and forgiving as she lived by Falun Gong’s principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. She went out with her family in February 2013. While exiting the taxi, her coat was caught on the front passenger door. The driver didn’t see it. As he drove off, Ms. An was dragged down and the car rolled over her.

Although her hand was severely injured, she didn’t seek compensation from the driver and let him go. She recovered in less than two weeks by doing Falun Gong exercises.

Staying Firm in Her Faith

Ms. An never wavered in her faith after the communist regime launched the persecution of Falun Gong on July 20, 1999.

She invited local practitioners to her home for regular group study of Falun Gong books and occasional experience-sharing sessions. She also produced Falun Gong informational materials for herself and other practitioners to distribute to the public. In addition, she talked to people face to face about Falun Gong and urged them to quit the CCP.

She also never hesitated to help those in need, especially practitioners in financial difficulties or those who had just been released from detention facilities.

Because of Ms. An’s efforts to raise awareness of the persecution, she became a target and was repeatedly harassed by agents from the Yanji City Domestic Security Office and Henan Police Station.

Prior to her arrest in 2016, Ms. An had also been detained multiple times but was released shortly afterwards each time, thanks to the rescue efforts of her former students who worked in law enforcement and judicial agencies and had understood the illegality of the persecution.

Sentenced to Three Years Following a Group Arrest in 2016

Ms. An was arrested on March 3, 2016, while studying Falun Gong teachings at Mr. Wu Chunyan’s home. Mr. Wu’s Falun Gong books, informational materials, computer, audio recorder, and media player were confiscated. Mr. Wu’s five other guests, including Ms. Zhu Xiyu, were also arrested.

The police took the seven Falun Gong practitioners to a local brainwashing center at around 2 p.m. the next day. Each practitioner’s respective street committee was ordered to send in people to monitor them. On March 15, the practitioners were forced to attend an intensive brainwashing session and ordered to write statements to renounce their faith.

On March 22, officer Zheng Zhezhu and a few other agents came to interrogate the practitioners, taking their pictures and videotaping them. At around 7:30 p.m. that night, all seven practitioners were allowed to go home.

While the other five practitioners were released unconditionally, Ms. An, Ms. Zhu, and Mr. Wu were put under six months of house arrest.

On April 20, agents from the Yanji City Domestic Security Office and Yanji City Procuratorate took Ms. An, Ms. Zhu, and Mr. Wu to the procuratorate, where they were ordered to sign some paperwork. They refused.

On December 27, 2016, the Yanji City Court summoned all three practitioners. Ms. An and Ms. Zhu went, while Mr. Wu didn’t go due to health reasons. The court announced that their cases were dismissed, and they returned home.

Both Ms. An and Ms. Zhu were summoned to the court again on April 7, 2017. They went there, only to be sentenced to three and four years, respectively.

Ms. Zhu was taken to the Jilin Province Women’s Prison that same day. Ms. An was allowed to serve time at home due to her poor health. She appealed the verdict, but the higher court ruled to uphold the original sentence.

Mr. Wu struggled with tremendous mental distress over the constant harassment by police following his arrest in March 2016. He soon became bedridden and passed away in June 2017.

After Ms. Zhu was released in 2020, she was arrested again in March 2021 and taken back to the Jilin Province Women’s Prison to serve an unknown term.

Taken Back into Custody in 2021 to Serve a 3-Year Term

Ms. An was arrested again in late August 2021 and taken to the Yanji City Detention Center. The Yanji City Court soon sentenced her to three years in prison without holding any hearings.

Her family argued that she had already served her previous three-year sentence outside of prison from April 7, 2017, to April 7, 2020, per the court’s order. As such, the allegedly “new” sentence was in fact a re-sentencing for the same act (studying Falun Gong books at a private home in March 2016).

Her loved ones reiterated that since she had never violated any conditions for serving time outside of prison, she should never have been taken back into custody to serve a term she had already served.

The court insisted that it was not a re-sentencing, but a “new sentencing” that commenced on the day of her latest arrest, though it never explained why it didn’t go through the required prosecution steps for new cases (including indictment and trial).

Ms. An was transferred to the Jilin Province Women’s Prison in late September 2021, and she died in the prison hospital on May 22, 2023.

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