Name: Zhang WeiminChinese Name: 张卫敏Gender: FemaleAge: 67City: N/AProvince: TianjinOccupation: N/ADate of Death: September 25, 2021Date of Most Recent Arrest: August 27, 2015Most Recent Place of Detention: Tianjin Women’s Prison

A 70-year-old woman in Tianjin faced constant harassment and pension suspension after serving a five-year prison term for her faith in Falun Gong. Succumbing to the mental distress and financial devastation, she passed away on September 25, 2021. She was 67.

Ms. Zhang Weimin took up Falun Gong in December 2007. Her heart condition and other ailments soon disappeared. In August 2015, she filed a criminal complaint against Jiang Zemin, the former head of the Chinese communist regime who ordered the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999. Officers of the Nankai District Domestic Security Division intercepted the complaint and arrested her at home on August 28, 2015. Her arrest was approved on October 1, 2015, and she was transferred from the Nankai District Lockup to the Nankai District Detention Center. 

Although the judge of the Nankai District Court returned Ms. Zhang’s case to the Nankai District Procuratorate three times citing insufficient evidence, he eventually accepted it and held a hearing on June 16, 2016. 

The prosecutor accused Ms. Zhang of being an organizer of local Falun Gong activities because of the many copies of Falun Gong-related materials confiscated from her. He suggested a prison sentence between three to four years. The judge sentenced her to five years two weeks later, with the excuse that Ms. Zhang refused to plead guilty or sign her case documents.

While serving time at the Tianjin Women’s Prison, Ms. Zhang was deprived of sleep, watched by the inmates, and forced to do hard labor without pay.

After she was released in August 2020, officers of the Xiangyang Road Police Station constantly came to harass her and ordered her to sign statements to renounce Falun Gong. Meanwhile, she also faced financial persecution, as the local Social Security bureau not only suspended her pension but ordered her to pay back the funds she received during her prison term. Their reason was that according to a new policy, no retirees were entitled to any retirement benefits while serving time in prison, although no Chinese labor law has such a stipulation.

Due to the ongoing harassment and financial devastation, Ms. Zhang passed away a year later on September 25, 2021.