(Minghui.org) Fifteen Falun Gong practitioners' deaths due to the persecution by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) were reported in July 2023.

Ten of the deaths happened prior to 2023, including one in 2013, one in 2014 and one in 2018, two in 2019 and two in 2020, and three in 2022. Due to the communist regime's strict information censorship, the real death toll from the persecution, including victims who were killed as a result of forced organ harvesting, is expected to be much higher.

The 15 deceased practitioners, including nine women, were from ten provinces. Heilongjiang had the most cases - three, followed by two cases in Hebei, Jilin and Liaoning each. The other six regions, including Gansu, Guangdong, Hubei, Inner Mongolia, Shandong, and Yunnan, each had one case. The ages of 12 practitioners were between 44 and 77, including two in their 40s, three in their 50s, three in their late 60s and four in their 70s.

The practitioners came from all walks of life, including a chief physician, a small business association president, the chief of a local government bureau, and workers from a boiler factory, a steel company, a pulp mill and a cigarette factory.

Two practitioners, including a 51-year-old man and a 65-year-old woman, died shortly after finishing their prison terms for practicing Falun Gong. Some succumbed to the long term mental pressure and previous torture in custody, and a few others passed away after leaving home to avoid the police.

Below are select death cases. The full list of the 15 deceased practitioners can be downloaded here (PDF).

Deaths After Serving Prison Terms

51-Year-Old Man Dies Four Months After Serving 4.5 Years

Mr. Zhao Changfu, a 51-year-old resident in Lingyuan City, Liaoning Province, died on July 18, 2023, four months after he finished serving 4.5 years for his faith in Falun Gong.

Mr. Zhao’s prison sentence stemmed from his arrest on August 22, 2018. The Lingyuan City Procuratorate twice returned his case to the police citing insufficient evidence. But the police fabricated more evidence and persuaded the procuratorate to indict him on May 9, 2019. The Lingyuan City Court held a hearing of his case on June 5, 2019, without informing his family, and weeks later sentenced him to 4.5 years and fined him 2,000-yuan. Mr. Zhao’s appeal was soon rejected by the Chaoyang City Intermediate Court.

Mr. Zhao was subjected to brutal torture since the day of his arrest, and his health quickly declined. Throughout his incarceration, he was hospitalized multiple times. Yet the authorities never approved his family’s request to have him released on medical parole to seek better treatment.

Mr. Zhao’s condition worsened in late 2021 while he was incarcerated in the Kangjiashan Prison. He became blind in one eye, and the other eye had blurred vision. He could only see things within three feet with the one eye. His legs were severely swollen, his calves oozed fluid. Two other hospitals in Shenyang were better equipped to treat his condition, yet the authorities only allowed him to use the Shenyang City No. 4 Hospital, which was overcrowded at the time. While Mr. Zhao waited for a bed, his eye condition got even worse. He was then allowed to have eye surgery at the He Eye Hospital at his own expense.

After a bed became available at the Shenyang City No. 4 Hospital around April 2021, Mr. Zhao was admitted, but as soon as he got a bit better, the authorities moved him to the Xinkang Prison Hospital, where he served the remainder of his prison term.

Everywhere he was taken, be it various detention facilities or hospitals, Mr. Zhao was always given a large amount of injections or pills, which had severe side effects and caused damage to his body. Once, an inmate saw a nurse give him a large amount of pills and he took a look at them after the nurse left. He told Mr. Zhao to not take a particular pill because he had seen it before and knew it would harm Mr. Zhao. This inmate used to be a prosecutor and had inside knowledge of how the regime administered drugs to harm and persecute people.

After Mr. Zhao was released on February 21, 2023, he never recovered and was also traumatized by the fear that his wife, also a Falun Gong practitioner, would be arrested again. She was arrested with him on August 22, 2018 but was released much sooner, on January 30, 2019. Prior to that, she was arrested multiple times over the years, for practicing Falun Gong. His own physical suffering and the anxiety about his wife’s wellbeing eventually took a toll on Mr. Zhao, and he died on July 18, 2023.

Prior to his latest sentencing, Mr. Zhao also served two labor camp terms, in 2000 and 2010, for a total of 4.5 years.

65-Year-Old Woman Paralyzed After 4 Years of Imprisonment, Dies 16 Months Later

Ms. Huang Qiuzhen, a 65-year-old resident of Xianning City, Hubei Province, died on July 12, 2023, sixteen months after she finished serving four years for her faith.

Ms. Huang Qiuzhen retired from the Xianning City Cigarette Factory in Hubei Province. She began practicing Falun Gong in 1996 and soon recovered from her diseases, including high blood pressure, sciatica, hepatitis B, and stomach problems. By following Falun Gong’s principles of “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance,” she improved her character and was recognized as a kind person in her community.

After the persecution of Falun Gong began in July 1999, Ms. Huang was repeatedly arrested, detained, and forced to attend brainwashing sessions for upholding her faith.

Ms. Huang’s last arrest happened on the afternoon of March 4, 2018, when she was distributing Falun Gong informational materials at a Walmart. While she escaped from the police custody that day, she was seized at her home ten days later and taken to the Xian’an District Detention Center. She was sentenced to four years by the Xian’an District Court in August 2019. After her appeal was denied, she was transferred to the Hubei Province Women’s Prison on October 23, 2019.

Ms. Huang’s son was shocked to see she was paralyzed when he went to the prison to pick her up in March 2022 after her term expired. She was healthy before she imprisoned, and he wondered what torture she suffered that resulted in her paralysis.

Unable to care for her on his own, Ms. Huang’s son, an only child, sent her to a nursing home. Despite her condition, the police still went there to harass her. She died on July 12, 2023.

46-Year-Old Woman Dies Four Years After Being Jailed for Almost Seven Years for Her Faith in Falun Gong

Ms. Peng Xueping, 46 and of Kunming City, Yunnan Province, died on July 11, 2023, about four years after she served almost seven years.

Ms. Peng Xueping

Ms. Peng began to practice Falun Gong in 2003 and soon became pregnant, after struggling with infertility for years. She also learned to be a good person by following Falun Gong’s principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. She once commented that she felt so fortunate to find Falun Gong in a chaotic society with rapidly declining morality. She worked hard to tell people about the persecution and how good Falun Gong is.

Ms. Peng was arrested on December 20, 2012 and later sentenced to eight years in the Yunnan Province Second Women’s Prison, where she was brutally tortured and forced to do hard labor without pay.

Ms. Peng was released ahead of time, in August 2019. After she returned home, she faced constant harassment and intimidation from authorities. The mounting pressure took a toll on her health. She became gravely ill and died four years later.

Deaths Due to Long Term Persecution

Forced to Live Away from Home to Avoid Prison Sentence, 77-year-old Woman Dies in Displacement

Ms. Zhao Xiuhua, a Zhangjiakou City, Hebei Province resident, passed away on January 26, 2023, after she left home to avoid being sentenced for practicing Falun Gong. She was 77.

Ms. Zhao was arrested on May 23, 2022 three days after she was reported for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong. Through surveillance camera footage, the police confirmed her identity and located her address. As she developed some health conditions at the police station, the police released her in the evening and put her on bail next day.

After being indicted by the Qiaodong District Procuratorate in late July 2022, Ms. Zhao was forced to live away from home to avoid being sentenced. Due to the mental pressure and hardship of living in displacement, she passed away less than six months later.

Prior to her latest arrest, Ms. Zhao was subjected to two decades of harassment, after she was put on the police’s blacklist following an arrest on October 26, 2000 for appealing for Falun Gong in Beijing. She was savagely beaten by the police and most of her hair was pulled out. The police extorted 8,000 yuan from her family before releasing her.

Belated News: Retired Factory Worker Dies at 75 after Decades of Persecution

Ms. Cai Guiqin, a 75-year-old resident of Jiamusi City, Heilongjiang Province, passed away on August 9, 2022, after being persecuted for years.

Ms. Cai Guiqin

Ms. Cai, who retired from the Jiamusi City No. 1 Plastic Factory, had a precancerous stomach condition. She became emaciated and felt tired all the time. Her stomach problems disappeared and she was able to eat again after she began practicing Falun Gong.

After the nationwide persecution began in July 1999, Ms. Cai became a target because she refused to give up her faith. Police raided her home numerous times. Terrified, her family covered their windows with blankets and avoided turning on the lights after dark for fear of attracting police attention. They also didn’t dare to open the door whenever they heard a knock.

Ms. Cai and several other practitioners went to a nearby town to distribute Falun Gong informational materials on January 18, 2008. They were reported to the police and arrested. Ms. Cai was given one year of forced labor, but her family used connections to get her released 18 days after she was taken to the Xigemu Forced Labor Camp.

On July 19, 2008, Ms. Cai and five other practitioners (including her two sisters) were arrested at a local farm for hanging up “Falun Dafa Is Good” banners. All six of them were sentenced to prison on December 4, 2008. Ms. Cai was given four years and served time in Heilongjiang Province Women’s Prison, where her two sisters were also held and brutally tortured.

Belated News: Heilongjiang Woman Tortured to Paralysis in Labor Camp, Dies 16 Years Later

Ms. Gao Yujie

Ms. Gao Yujie, a resident of Jiamusi City, Heilongjiang Province, was tortured to the point of becoming paralyzed while being held at a labor camp for her faith in Falun Gong. She never recovered after she was released. The local police still harassed her at home from time to time, trying to force her to renounce Falun Gong. She died on March 6, 2018, at the age of 67.

Ms. Gao was a loader at the Jiamusi Boiler Factory. Prior to practicing Falun Gong, she suffered from severe rheumatoid heart disease, vertigo, stomach problems, hemorrhoids, rectal prolapse and many other diseases. All her symptoms disappeared just months after she took up Falun Gong in 1995. She said that she no longer felt tired while loading and unloading heavy objects at work. She was finally able to enjoy an illness-free life.

Ms. Gao was arrested on July 27, 2000 when she read Falun Gong books with other local practitioners. She was held at the Jiamusi City Detention Center for one month and was extorted 1,700 yuan.

While visiting a friend on July 31, 2001, Ms. Gao was followed by police and seized at her friend’s home. She was taken to the Jiamusi City Detention Center, where she was forced to sleep on the cold cement floor. Her rheumatoid heart disease relapsed as a result, and she had trouble walking.

Seventeen days later, Ms. Gao was given one year of forced labor and transferred to the Jiamusi Forced Labor Camp. The police handcuffed and shackled her on the way there despite her condition.

The labor camp guards forced Ms. Gao to work without pay, including gluing paper boxes and sorting soybeans. They also limited how often and how long she could use the restroom.

One day she had great difficulty moving her legs, but three guards still dragged her to walk around. She became disabled after that. The guards still dragged her from her cell to the workshop to do forced labor every day. They also ordered her to write statements to renounce Falun Gong. She refused, and the guards punished her by limiting her water intake and restroom use.

Ms. Gao remained paralyzed after she was released. Even so, the police often harassed her at home, attempting to make her renounce Falun Gong. Her condition worsened and she died on March 6, 2018.

Belated News: Former Petrochemical Plant Worker Has a Stroke due to Mental Pressure from Persecution, Dies a Year Later

Mr. Zhang Shiming, a former petrochemical plant worker in Jiamusi City, Heilongjiang Province, suffered declining health after enduring one year of torture at a labor camp. He had a stroke in 2018 and passed away a year later. He was 57.

Mr. Zhang took up Falun Gong in 2005. His severe headaches that tormented him for six years soon disappeared. Upon finding out that he practiced Falun Gong, the police broke into his home by scaling his neighbor’s fence in October 2006 and arrested him. After one night at the police station, he was taken to the Jiamusi City Detention Center.

Two weeks later, the police interrogated Mr. Zhang and questioned him whether he still practiced Falun Gong. As he remained firm in his faith, the police gave him one year at the Suihua Forced Labor Camp without notifying his family. It took his family six months to find out that he was sent to the labor camp.

Guard Jin Qingfu ordered Mr. Zhang to renounce Falun Gong. When he refused to comply, Jin slapped him in the face and hung him up by the wrists, with his toes barely touching the ground. Mr. Zhang was in enormous pain and sweated profusely. Instigated by the guards, the inmates also constantly beat and verbally abused him, as well as forcing him to sit on a small stool for long hours without moving.

Torture illustration: being hung up by the wrists

In addition to the physical torture, Mr. Zhang was also forced to work for more than ten hours every day without pay, including weaving mats, making toothpicks and making clothes. Sometimes he had to continue working in his cell at night in order to finish the daily quota.

Belated News: Shandong Woman Dies After Two Decades of Displacement

Ms. Li Guimei, a former employee of the Laiwu Steel Group in Laixi City, Shandong Province, passed away in the fall of 2020, after living away from home for over two decades. She was 71.

Ms. Li went with 40 other practitioners to Beijing to appeal for the right to practice Falun Gong in May 2000, only to be arrested and taken back to Laixi City. The police repeatedly struck her face with their shoes. Her face was severely swollen and bruised. The police also hit her legs and buttocks with a wooden stick.

Jiang Kaiwen, the former Party secretary and president of the steel company, personally hosted a brainwashing session, starting on July 6, 2000. Nine practitioners working for the company, including Ms. Li, were taken there and subjected to force feeding and involuntary drug administration aimed to force them to renounce Falun Gong. The practitioners held a hunger strike to protest and were released after 35 days. The steel company fired Ms. Li around the same time.

Due to continued harassment and intimidation, Ms. Li was forced to live away from home. In retaliation, the police frequently harassed her family members and searched their homes.

Living in constant fear and struggling with poverty, Ms. Li endured unimaginable hardship after she left home. She was 71 when she died.

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Persecution Deaths of 120 Falun Gong Practitioners Reported in the First Half of 2023

20 Falun Gong Practitioner Deaths Due to Persecution Reported in May 2023

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25 Falun Gong Practitioner Deaths Due to Persecution Reported in March 2023

19 Falun Gong Practitioner Deaths Due to Persecution Reported in February 2023

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