(Minghui.org) The deaths of thirteen Falun Gong practitioners as a result of being persecuted for practicing their faith were reported in March 2024.

The newly confirmed deaths included two cases in 2021, one case in 2022, two cases in 2023, and eight cases in 2024. Due to the communist regime’s strict information censorship, the persecution can’t always be reported in a timely manner and the real death toll is likely much higher.

Eleven practitioners were brutally tortured while serving time in prisons or labor camps over the past two-plus decades. Some became incapacitated as a result and some developed mental disorders. Several practitioners died months after they were arrested or harassed again. Two practitioners, including an 88-year-old woman, died while living away from home to avoid the persecution.

The deceased practitioners, nine of them women, were from seven provinces. Shandong reported the most cases, four, followed by three cases in Liaoning, two cases in Sichuan and one case each in Tianjin, Hebei, Henan and Ningxia. The practitioners were aged between 62 and 88, including 6 in their 60s, 5 in their 70s, and 2 in their 80s.

Below are all thirteen death cases reported in March 2024. The list of the practitioners can be downloaded here (PDF).

Deaths Before 2024

88-Year-Old Retired Teacher Harassed for Her Faith, Dies in Displacement Five Months Later

Ms. Zhang Guiqing, an 88-year-old retired teacher from Nanbu County, Sichuan Province, died on October 29, 2021, five months after she was forced to live away from home to avoid harassment.

Ms. Zhang was harassed twice by agents from the local street committee and other government agencies on May 19, 2021. The nanny who was cooking dinner for her was terrified and took off without finishing her work that night. Ms. Zhang could no longer cope with the harassment and left home. She died five months later.

This wasn’t the first time Ms. Zhang was targeted for her faith. Because she filed a complaint against Jiang Zemin, the former Chinese dictator, for ordering the persecution, her home was raided and her Falun Gong books were confiscated.

Ms. Zhang was having breakfast with some relatives on October 3, 2019 when seven people broke in. They demanded to know where her daughter (who also practices Falun Gong) was. They photographed Ms. Zhang, her relatives, and her home.

The police harassed Ms. Zhang again in mid-December 2019 and searched the phones of her relatives, who happened to be visiting.

Incapacitated for a Decade Due to Torture, Liaoning Woman Dies Months after Her Pension Is Suspended

Ms. Huo Xiuqin, of Fuxin City, Liaoning Province, survived brutal torture while she was incarcerated for practicing Falun Gong. She remained bedridden for the next 12 years and relied on her husband and mother to care for her. The destitute family was dealt a hard blow when the authorities suddenly suspended Ms. Huo’s pension in late 2022. The 63-year-old woman’s health deteriorated and she passed away months later.

Ms. Huo was arrested on September 2, 2008 for talking to people about Falun Gong and she was sentenced to three years. In the Liaoning Province Women’s Prison, she was beaten, verbally abused, exposed to freezing temperatures, and denied restroom use. Despite her dangerously high blood pressure that caused her to be unable to walk, the prison refused to release her for medical treatment. When her family demanded to see her, the guards ordered them to slander Falun Gong before they approved the request. It’s not clear whether her family was allowed to visit her.

In the winter of 2009, because Ms. Huo refused to do the forced labor, the guards carried her to the hallway and opened the window to let the freezing cold wind blow on her. Her feet became severely frostbitten, and large blisters formed. The low temperature also made her chest feel tight and she had difficulty breathing. The guards refused to allow her to use the restroom and she wet her pants as a result. Her commissary account was also frozen by the guards, and she was unable to buy daily necessities. She couldn’t even buy a bag of instant noodles during the 2010 Chinese New Year. Anyone who shared their food with her was reprimanded.

Ms. Huo was taken to the hospital on November 1, 2010, because she could no longer move her legs and arms. In addition to her persistent and dangerously high blood pressure, she was also found to have had a stroke and a severe heart condition. The prison authorities refused to release her, but ordered her family to pay for her medical treatment. After her family gave them 500 yuan, she was admitted to the hospital the next day.

The prison arranged four guards to watch Ms. Huo and her family, who stayed in the hospital to care for her. Her family was not allowed to ask her about the torture she was subjected to in prison. No one else was allowed to come near her.

The prison finally released Ms. Huo on medical parole in May 2011 when she was completely incapacitated. This was four months before her three-year sentence was set to expire.

Ms. Huo’s husband quit his job to care for her. With his and her elderly mother’s meticulous care, she survived. The family lived on Ms. Huo’s 2,300-yuan monthly pension and barely made ends meet. It dealt the family a hard blow when the local social security bureau suddenly suspended Ms. Huo’s pension in October 2022, with the excuse that she wasn’t qualified for the payment because of her prison sentence ten years before.

Afterwards, Ms. Huo’s condition declined quickly. She passed away months later on February 3, 2023.

Married Couple Die Less Than 100 Days Apart After Years of Persecution

A married couple in Jinan City, Shandong Province died less than 100 days apart after suffering years of persecution for upholding their faith, Falun Gong.

Ms. Ma Qingxian, 60, died in December 2021. Her husband, Mr. Qi Qingxin, died in early February 2022. He was also 60. The couple was married for about 40 years, yet they lived apart for the last 20 years because Ms. Ma was forced to go into hiding in 2002 to avoid being arrested for her faith.

Ms. Ma went to Beijing twice to appeal for Falun Gong before 2002 and was arrested both times. After her second detention, the guards held a big kettle of boiled corn paste and poured the paste into her mouth and nostrils. She had corn paste all over her face, neck, chest, back, and hair. She almost suffocated.

The couple was arrested in 2002 and Mr. Qi was fired by his employer, the Panxi Coal Mine. The police threatened to give the couple forced labor, but they managed to escape from the government compound and went into hiding. Mr. Qi was arrested again shortly afterwards while distributing Falun Gong informational materials. He was then given two years of forced labor. He faced constant harassment after being released in 2004.

Ms. Ma spent the next 20 years on the run to avoid the persecution and lived a very difficult displaced life. The shelters she stayed in, in different places had no heat in the winter and she had to keep drinking hot water to keep warm. As a result, she developed the symptoms of frequent urination. To avoid being arrested, she also had to stay alert 24/7. More than once she decided to leave her temporary residence late at night because she felt the police were coming for her. The police indeed arrived hours after she left.

Mr. Qi worried about Ms. Ma and his health also declined. In his last two years of life, his entire body became swollen (edema) and he had blood in his urine. His wife’s passing in December 2021 dealt yet another blow and he died less than 100 days later.

62-Year-Old Tianjin Man Dies After Years of Displaced Living to Avoid Arrest

Mr. Wei Guanghua, a 62-year-old Tianjin man died days after he had a stroke in December 2023. His passing capped his decades of suffering.

After the persecution of Falun Gong began in July 1999, Mr. Wei worked with other practitioners to debunk the hate propaganda targeting the practice. He was arrested on May 31, 2003 and sentenced to nine years in prison. His wife divorced him while he was serving time. She was given all their marital assets and full custody of their son and daughter.

Mr. Wei was brutally tortured in prison and became seriously ill and emaciated. Standing at 5’11” he weighed less than 90 pounds. He was released on medical parole on April 29, 2009. By doing the Falun Gong exercises, he got better but was still unable to walk normally.

The authorities kept Mr. Wei under close surveillance. About six months after he was released, they took him to a hospital for a physical examination to see if he was well enough to be sent back to prison. The hospital suddenly had a power outage right before Mr. Wei’s physical examination and he was thus taken back home. The police threatened to return the next day.

Mr. Wei decided to go into hiding that night. In the years that followed, he moved frequently to avoid being arrested. As a result, he never recovered from the damage to his health while he was imprisoned, and he developed more symptoms. More than once he suddenly lost consciousness while working or walking.

Mr. Wei fainted again around 2018 while riding his motorcycle. A passerby called the police for help upon seeing that he was badly injured and having a seizure. The police arrested him instead after discovering Falun Gong materials in his bag. They also confiscated the more than 10,000 yuan in banknotes printed with Falun Gong messages he had with him. (Since all legal channels to appeal have been blocked for Falun Gong practitioners, they use creative means to raise awareness of the persecution, including printing messages on banknotes.)

The police took Mr. Wei to a detention center and determined his identity from their database of targeted Falun Gong practitioners. After he came to, they turned him over to the police department in his household registration location in Tianjin. Since the police department couldn’t find a prison to admit him to finish his 9-year term, they declared that he completed his prison sentence.

To avoid being targeted again, Mr. Wei went into hiding a second time. After he reached retirement age a few years later, he was given a meager pension (even though he was entitled to a higher amount due to his previous high-paying job). The displaced life plus financial hardship took a toll on his health. He had a stroke in December 2023 and fell into a coma. Hospital treatments did not help much. His family had to take him home because they could no longer afford to pay the medical bills. He died days later.

Deaths in 2024

71-Year-Old Woman Dies of Heart Attack

Ms. Liu Shuyuan from Tieling City, Liaoning Province, suddenly dropped dead while riding a bicycle on January 7, 2024. She was 71.

In the last few months of her life, Ms. Liu often woke up in the middle of the night, screaming in fear. Her fear resulted from an arrest in the fall of 2023, when she visited another Falun Gong practitioner. She did not know the police were raiding that practitioner’s home. The police searched Ms. Liu and threatened her. Although she was released hours later, she suffered from panic attacks due to the fear of being persecuted again.

In the past 25 years, Ms. Liu, a former manager of the Northeast Petroleum Transportation Bureau, was repeatedly targeted for practicing Falun Gong.

She was arrested in September 1999 when she went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong. After she was released from a 15-day detention, she returned to Beijing in October to appeal again, only to be arrested and given two years of forced labor. She was forced to do hard labor without pay, and was sometimes not allowed to sleep until 3 a.m. if she couldn’t finish the daily quota. The police continued to harass her after she was released.

Ms. Liu was arrested again around August 10, 2001 and interrogated for six straight days. She was deprived of sleep for the first three days. Starting on the fourth day, the police held her in cages of different sizes. Some cages were so small that she couldn’t stand, sit or squat. She held a hunger strike to protest, but was force fed.

Ms. Liu was later sentenced to five years at the Liaoning Province Women’s Prison. She was forced to squat from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on some days. The inmates constantly beat her, pulled her hair, poured filthy water over her and deprived her of restroom use. She quickly lost over 30 lbs and felt dizzy, weak and short of breath.

Ms. Liu was almost arrested again on September 10, 2007 while visiting another practitioner. Although she escaped, she was forced to live away from home to hide from the police for the next eight years.

Her second to the last arrest was on October 9, 2016 after being reported for distributing Falun Gong materials. She was held at a police station for six hours and then released.

76-Year-Old Sichuan Man Dies in the Persecution of Falun Gong

Mr. Li Houpei, of Leshan City, Sichuan Province, died on January 30, 2024. He was 76.

Mr. Li was arrested in June 2007 and sentenced to 11 years in December that year. He was arrested again on February 18, 2022 while distributing Falun Gong materials. The police raided his home and released him in the evening. His last arrest was in May 2023 at another practitioner’s home. Although the police released him hours later, they kept coming back to harass him and threatened him not to travel out of town. They also submitted his case to the local procuratorate, in an attempt to get him sentenced. Crushed by the mental pressure, he passed away eight months later.

81-Year-Old Henan Woman Dies in the Persecution of Falun Gong

Ms. Chen Yuqin, a retired employee of the China Unicom in Zhoukou City, Henan Province, suffered declining health in recent years due to frequent harassment for practicing Falun Gong. She became incapacitated and passed away on February 5, 2024. She was 81.

Ms. Chen’s ordeal stemmed from an arrest on April 17, 2022 by officers of the Huaiyang District Domestic Security Division. Her Falun Gong books, printer and other personal belongings were confiscated. The police also fined her 5,000 yuan and forced the social security bureau to suspend her pension. At the age of 79, she was sentenced to three years and allowed to serve time outside of prison. The police kept harassing her during her term, resulting in her declined health and eventual death.

69-Year-Old Woman Dies Four Months after Sustaining Severe Injuries During Police Chase

While trying to avoid arrest during a police chase in late September 2023, Ms. Ma Lianfeng lost control of her tricycle and fell. She sustained severe leg injuries and her arms and back were badly bruised.

The police caught up with her and confiscated Falun Gong materials from her bag. They targeted her because an elementary school pupil reported her for talking to him about Falun Gong. They didn’t arrest her because she had difficulty standing.

Ms. Ma, of Longkou City, Shandong Province, never recovered from her injuries. She died on January 22, 2024, at the age of 69.

Ms. Ma Lianfeng

In the past 25 years of persecution, Ms. Ma was repeatedly arrested for her faith. Her husband divorced her and she served seven years in prison, suffering all kinds of physical torture and involuntary drug administration. After she reached retirement age in 2010, her employer, the Longkou Supply and Marketing Cooperative, refused to issue her retirement benefits because they claimed she had become “ineligible” during her imprisonment. They demanded a one-time contribution of 50,000 yuan in order for her to qualify for a monthly pension of a little over 700 yuan. She had no money and gave up trying to get retirement benefits.

Liaoning Woman Has A Mental Breakdown After Year-long Detention, Dies Seven Years Later

Ms. Xing Anmei, of Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, had a mental breakdown due to torture and involuntary drug administration while serving time for her faith, Falun Gong. She struggled with failing health for the next seven years and passed away on February 22, 2024. She was 67.

Ms. Xing Anmei and her family

Ms. Xing’s last arrest was on April 14, 2016, when she was having breakfast with her husband and their two children at a local diner. The police revealed that the family was targeted because they filed a criminal complaint against former Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin for launching the persecution of Falun Gong that resulted in their past arrests.

The couple’s son was released a month later. His sister was granted bail and put under house arrest the same day. The young woman said her brother was limping and appeared dazed after they both returned home. He told her that the police beat him. For a period of time, he didn’t dare to leave home.

Ms. Xing was sentenced to one year and fined 5,000 yuan on February 23, 2017. Four days later, her daughter was given one year probation and fined 2,000 yuan. Her husband was sentenced to two and a half years and fined 10,000 yuan.

In the Shenyang City Detention Center, Ms. Xing was held in solitary confinement, tortured, and force-fed toxic drugs on a regular basis. Her teeth were knocked out while she was beaten. As a result, she had trouble swallowing and experienced dizziness, fatigue, heart palpitations, and nausea. Despite her condition, the guards still shackled her and chained her left hand to a ring in the floor. They wouldn’t unchain her even when she needed to use the restroom. Another time, two inmates sat on her legs while two others twisted her arms behind her back, severely injuring her left shoulder and left arm.

By the time Ms. Xing was released on April 14, 2017, she was not herself. She was extremely fearful and couldn’t recognize her family, not even her own children. She ran around day and night, shouted, hit people, and threw things out of an upper window. Occasionally, she would utter, “Falun Gong practitioners were force-fed drugs every day.” After struggling with poor health for seven years, she died on February 22, 2024.

70-Year-Old Shandong Woman Dies in the Persecution of Falun Gong

Ms. Xu Jinrong, of Linqing City, Shandong Province, had a brainstem hemorrhage on February 23, 2024. She fell into a coma and died two days later on February 25.

Because she refused to renounce her faith, Ms. Xu was repeatedly arrested and detained in the past 24 years. She was given three years of forced labor in 2000. Although she survived the brutal torture, the continued harassment over the years left her living in fear. The mental pressure took a toll on her health, which eventually resulted in her death.

In order to force Ms. Xu to renounce Falun Gong, her workplace took her to a hotel on July 19, 1999, the day before the persecution officially started. She was held there for six months and was not released until the Chinese New Year in February 2000. Local police also raided her home and confiscated her Falun Gong books.

Ms. Xu went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong in June 2000. She was arrested and taken back to the local detention center. She held a hunger strike to protest the persecution and was released five days later, after being extorted 2,000 yuan by the police.

Weeks later, in July 2000, Ms. Xu’s husband fell ill and was hospitalized. Her workplace and the local police began to monitor her and followed her to her husband’s hospital room. The aggressive surveillance upset her husband, which slowed down his recovery. The monitoring of Ms. Xu’s daily life continued after her husband was discharged.

In addition to the detention and surveillance, Ms. Xu’s workplace also suspended her salary in July 1999 and did not reinstate it until 2002.

Ms. Xu was given a three-year labor camp term on September 10, 2000. At the Shandong Province Women’s Forced Labor Camp, she was brutally tortured for holding firm to Falun Gong. The guards shocked her with electric batons for an extended period of time, leaving scars on her neck and wrists. She was also held in solitary confinement. In the winter, the guards opened the window to freeze her. Sometimes she wasn’t allowed to sleep. Instead she was forced to stand, with her hands, arms and legs tied up to the bed frame. In another torture, she was hung up by the wrists. She lost feeling in her arms and hands for a long time after that. The guards also forced her to do unpaid labor, sometimes up to 16 hours a day. After being tortured for more than eighteen months, she was released ahead of time.

During the time she was detained, her husband worked hard to seek justice for her, but to no avail. The mental pressure took a toll on his health and he passed away in 2006.

Ms. Xu continued to be harassed after she was released. Two incidents documented in recent years happened between 2017 and 2019.

75-Year-Old Retired Engineer Dies Six Months after Completing Third Prison Term

Mr. Ma Xiongde, a 75-year-old resident in Wuzhong City, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, died on February 25, 2024, six months after he completed a third prison term of 1.5 years for his faith in Falun Gong.

When Mr. Ma was released on August 29, 2022, he had difficulty walking, struggled with incontinence, and was slow to react. He was also devastated to discover that the Wuzhong City Social Security Bureau suspended his pension while he was imprisoned. Despite his appeal to get his pension reinstated, the authorities did not issue him a penny of his benefits before he died.

Mr. Ma, a retired watch factory engineer, and his wife, Ms. Zheng Fengying, 71, were repeatedly targeted for practicing Falun Gong for over two decades. They were each given two years of forced labor in 2001, with Ms. Zheng’s term later extended by two months and Mr. Ma’s term extended by ten months. After she was arrested in 2004, Ms. Zheng was sentenced to three years with three years’ probation and Mr. Ma was given a five-year term. They were also arrested in 2012. Ms. Zheng was later sentenced to seven years and Mr. Ma to seven and a half years. The couple’s latest arrests on February 22, 2021, were followed by a 1.5-year prison sentence for each of them.

Once Jailed for Almost 7 Years, Hebei Man Dies Two Days After Latest Harassment

Mr. Wang Huai, a resident of Zhangjiakou City, Hebei Province, died on March 9, 2024, two days after he was harassed again for practicing Falun Gong.

The passing of Mr. Wang, a former employee of the Zhangjiakou Automobile Trading Company, capped his decades of suffering for upholding his faith. He was sentenced to 7 years following his arrest on January 2, 2001. He was brutally tortured and lost almost all of his teeth. His family was only allowed to see him twice during his lengthy imprisonment.

After he was released a few months early in September 2007, the local police and community workers kept him under close surveillance and harassed him at home from time to time, especially around politically sensitive dates. The authorities also stripped him of his right to his pension benefits when he reached retirement age 15 years ago. His wife’s meager pension (2,000 yuan per month) was their sole source of income.

At around 3:30 p.m. on March 7, 2024, a police officer and two community workers showed up at Ms. Wang’s home. When the male community worker videotaped the home Mr. Wang’s wife stopped him. The female community worker yelled, “We came here today because someone reported you guys for distributing Falun Gong informational materials.” But she refused to reveal the identity of the alleged tipster. Mr. Wang urged them to stop persecuting law-abiding citizens like him. The two community workers and the police officer then left.

The latest harassment was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Mr. Wang, who never recovered from the injuries and the damage to his health sustained during his imprisonment, died two days later.

Related Reports:

Reported in February 2024: 10 Falun Gong Practitioners Die as a Result of Persecution

Reported in January 2024: 13 Falun Gong Practitioners Die in the Persecution