Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual practice based on the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. Since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began to persecute it in July 1999, many Falun Gong practitioners have been arrested, detained, and tortured for refusing to renounce their faith.
This report sheds light on the persecution of elderly Falun Gong practitioners and how they have been physically and mentally abused despite their age.
Some were persecuted to death as a result of torture and tremendous pressure from the authorities.
Below are snapshots of some cases.
Persecuted to Death
To force practitioners to renounce Falun Gong, the perpetrators often employ multiple forms of torture at the same time, including beatings, shocking with electric batons, sleep deprivation, and so on.
Some practitioners were tortured to death, while other died after being released on the brink of death.
After the CCP began to suppress Falun Gong in July 1999, Mr. Wang Hongzhang of Jinan City, Shandong Province, was detained many times in labor camps, prison, or other facilities.
In 2008, Mr. Wang, then 76, was sentenced to five years for his faith. In Shandong Prison he was subjected to various forms of torture, including being beaten on his buttocks with a mop handle.
Mr. Wang was released on medical parole in 2012 after he developed heart palpitations and was in critical condition. Citing his imprisonment, his company suspended his pension from 2014 to 2016 and only gave him a minimum subsistence in the last two years.
Having to take care of his mentally ill adult daughter by himself and struggling to make ends meet, Mr. Wang, a retired engineer from Jinan Steel Group, lived in poverty and despair after his release from prison.
When a friend visited him on January 21, 2019, his home was in a dismal state. The friend left some food and tried to cheer him up. That afternoon, Mr. Wang was found dead. He was 87.
Ms. Hu Yanshun was sentenced to nine years in prison for practicing Falun Gong after authorities altered her age from 76 to 70 in order to justify the heavy sentence.
She was abused in the prison and her health drastically declined. She passed away three years after being released. She was 87.
Ms. Hu, of Daying County, Sichuan Province, was harassed, arrested, and detained multiple times for not renouncing her faith.
She was convicted and given one year of house arrest in 2003 after being reported for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong.
Ms. Hu was last arrested in 2007. The Daying County Court changed her birth year from 1932 to 1938, which was soon followed by an announcement on April 23, 2008, that she had been sentenced to nine years in prison.
In Chengdu Women’s Prison, the inmates verbally abused Ms. Hu and spat on her. Against her will, they pressed her fingerprints on a prepared document that said she’d renounced Falun Gong.
Ms. Hu suffered from swollen legs, sciatic nerve pain, and heart problems. She also experienced memory loss and was unable to take care of herself.
She was released on January 11, 2016, one year and four months early. The police subsequently harassed her and her family, sometimes demanding that she report to them at the police station.
Fearing police retaliation, her family locked her in and didn’t let her contact other practitioners.
The local government suspended her low income subsidy with the excuse that she was a convicted criminal.
Her health rapidly declined, and she passed away on December 30, 2018, in her daughter’s home.
A 76-year-old man died in Duyun Prison less than two months before finishing a two-year term for not renouncing his faith in Falun Gong.
The police showed up at Mr. Zheng Jucheng’s home in early March 2019 and learned from his neighbors that he lived by himself with no family around. So they informed the neighbors of his death but didn’t say exactly when he passed away.
Mr. Zheng was a construction contractor in Anshun City, Guizhou Province. His wife and daughter abandoned him more than 20 years ago after he went bankrupt when his business failed.
After he began practicing Falun Gong in 2002, he gained the confidence to start a new life. He quit many bad habits and became more open-minded and considerate.
Mr. Zheng was arrested on April 30, 2017, for distributing information about Falun Gong.
He was held in the Puding County Detention Centre. When his friends went to visit him, the guards took the money and clothing they brought for him but would not let them see him.
He was secretly sentenced to two years in Duyun Prison a few months later. When his friends went to visit him before the 2018 Chinese New Year, he had already been taken to the prison.
The guards ordered the inmates to torture Mr. Zheng. They poked him in the eyes with their fingers, pinched and stabbed his nose and ears with toothpicks, pinched his nipples, slapped him in the face, punched and kicked him, and hit him in the testicles. He became incontinent and paralysed on one side of his body.
Ms. Xu Huizhu’s family and friends lost contact with her in late July 2016. They went to visit her in August, only to discover her dead body. It appeared that she had been dead for days.
It was later confirmed that the 78-year-old retired teacher in Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province, had been arrested and taken to Huangpu Brainwashing Centre in July.
Ms. Xu was targeted because she had filed a criminal complaint against former Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin for ordering the persecution of Falun Gong that resulted in her repeated detentions in the past.
Ms. Xu was first arrested and taken to the brainwashing centre in 2001. She was arrested again three years later.
Her relatives reported her missing in September 2012 and soon realised that the police had arrested her and ransacked her home. She ended up in the brainwashing centre again, this time for two weeks.
Ms. Xu filed a criminal complaint against Jiang Zemin in July 2015, only to be arrested two months later. Officers pinched her arms so hard that her skin turned blue. They hit her with water bottles and threatened to harvest her organs if she refused to sign their prepared statements.
She wasn’t released until December 25, 2015. The police then had three people shadow her on a daily basis.
Ms. Xu was arrested and taken to the brainwashing centre in February 2016. She was released a month later, but the police took her back to the centre in July.
A Zhaoyuan City, Shandong Province, woman died hours after being arrested for refusing to renounce Falun Gong.
Her son hired two lawyers to investigate her suspicious death, but the lawyers had to drop the case after the local police threatened to revoke their licences.
Ms. Guo Zhenxiang, 82, was arrested by Mengzhi Police Station officers early in the morning on January 11, 2019, for distributing information about Falun Gong. At around 10 a.m., her family was summoned to the police station and told that she had died.
The police claimed that Ms. Guo became ill after being taken to the police station and died in a local hospital despite resuscitation attempts. Her body was then taken to Zhaoyuan City Funeral Home without her family’s consent.
Suspecting that she had been abused in the police station, Ms. Guo’s son hired two lawyers to investigate.
The lawyers asked to see surveillance videos recorded between Ms. Guo’s arrest and her death. The police only agreed to show the footage of her arrest and denied having recordings of her in the police station or in the hospital.
The lawyers examined Ms. Guo’s body in the funeral home. They found bruises on the back of her head. When they asked the police about the bruises, the officers changed their story and said that she died after taking a fall.
As the lawyers were preparing to file complaints against the police over Ms. Guo’s death, the police did everything they could to stop them. They monitored and harassed the lawyers and Ms. Guo’s family.
The lawyers were also threatened with having their licences revoked and were thus forced to drop the case.
The police offered to settle the case by offering Ms. Guo’s family a small sum of money. The family refused to settle. Ms. Guo’s body remains in the funeral home.
86-Year-Old Woman Suffers Stroke after Being Pushed Down by Police, Dies Three Years Later
Ms. Li Xiumiao of Fuyu City, Jilin Province, used to be a healthy person who could cook for her family and do the household chores. However, she died on April 30, 2019, after suffering a stroke that resulted from a fall.
In July 2016, several police officers went to Ms. Li’s house and took away her music player which she used to do the Falun Gong exercises. When Ms. Li tried to take it back, one officer pushed her down, and her head hit the edge of the Kang bed-stove.
When Ms. Li’s older daughter returned home that night, she saw her mother was sitting on the Kang bed, bleeding from the back of her head, and incoherent. The doctors said that Ms. Li had suffered a stroke. She was paralysed and unable to take care of herself thereafter.
In May 2018, Ms. Liu’s daughter was arrested and sentenced to four years in prison. Less than a year later, Ms. Li died at age 86.
90-Year-Old Sichuan Man Dies Six Months after Arrest
Mr. Pan Guangxing, 90, of Wanyuan City, Sichuan Province, was reading Falun Gong books in his home on June 21, 2016, when the police broke in and arrested him.
The arrest attracted the attention of Mr. Pan’s neighbors, who informed his stepson. His stepson hurried home to stop them. The police then ransacked Mr. Pan’s home and confiscated all his Falun Gong books and materials.
Unable to handle the harassment and threats, Mr. Pan developed high blood pressure and diabetes and was admitted to the hospital. Mr. Pan passed away on December 5, six months later.
Ms. Wu Qiu’e lost consciousness shortly after police officers broke into her home to serve a notice threatening to punish her for filing a criminal complaint against former Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin.
The 80-year-old woman from Daxing’anling, Heilongjiang Province, died just days later.
Ms. Wu filed a lawsuit in July 2015, accusing Jiang of initiating the persecution of Falun Gong, a meditation practice that restored her health and happiness.
The police showed up at her home on October 28, 2015. They took her fingerprints against her will and warned her of upcoming punishment. Ms. Wu passed out not long after the officers left.
Her children rushed her to the hospital later that day after finding out what happened. Despite resuscitation efforts, Ms. Wu passed away.
Her family suspects her sudden death was a result of the police threat, as she had been so healthy over the years that she lived alone comfortably in a sixth-floor apartment.
In January 2014, Mr. Yin, then 83, was arrested for telling people about Falun Gong.
When his family went to the local detention centre to ask for his release, the police told them Mr. Yin’s arrest will be approved soon and said, “We’ll detain him even if he’s 95 years old!”
He finished serving his term in March 2017.
Prior to this, Mr. Yin was arrested on January 29, 2005 and sentenced to eight years in prison in June 2006. He had developed mental disorder caused by the physical and mental torture by the time he was released from Yuzhang Prison in Jiangxi Province on July 4, 2011.
- Father Still Imprisoned, Daughter Newly Arrested – All for Practicing Falun Gong
- Jiangxi Province: Liu Qiusheng and Yin Yucai Arrested Again, Families Threatened for Seeking Their Release
- Additional Persecution News from China – June 17, 2014 (6 Reports)
- 83-Year-Old Engineer of Kunming City Taken to Prison
- Chinese version available