Sept. 14, 2021 | By a Minghui Correspondent
Thirty-one teachers in China were persecuted to death between January 2018 and August 2021 for practicing Falun Gong, according to the available information collected by the Minghui.org website.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a meditation practice that improves mental and physical fitness and has been persecuted in China since 1999. A total of 4,687 deaths of Falun Gong practitioners, including the 31 teachers, have been documented by Minghui.org as of September 10, 2021. But due to the strict censorship of information in China, the actual number is likely to be much higher.
Among the 31 deceased teachers, 18 of whom were females, 9 died in 2018, 9 in 2019, 10 in 2020, and 3 in 2021. The practitioners hailed from 13 provinces and municipalities, with Heilongjiang registering the most cases (5), followed by Hebei, Jiangsu, and Liaoning (each with 4 cases).
Three cases took place in Gansu, two cases in Jilin, Shanxi, and Sichuan each, as well as one case in Chongqing, Fujian, Hunan, Inner Mongolia, and Ningxia each.
The practitioners, aged from 41 to 85, represented teachers from all education levels, from kindergarten teachers to college professors. Two of them were in their 40s, 13 in their 50s, 2 in their 60s, 6 in their 70s, and 4 in their 80s. Another 4 practitioners’ ages were unknown.
Below are snapshots of some of the death cases. The full list of 31 practitioners can be downloaded here (PDF).
Deaths in 2018
Ms. Sun Min, an award-winning middle school teacher in Anshan City, Liaoning Province, lost her job after the persecution began. She was incarcerated four times, for a total of two years and four months, between 2000 and 2012. When she was last arrested on June 28, 2016, she was sentenced to 7 years in Liaoning Province Women’s Prison, where she was subjected to various forms of abuse and torture.
Her father wasn’t allowed to visit her in prison until February 7, 2018. He noted that his daughter, a once healthy woman, was carried out to the visitation room on someone’s back. She had lost her ability to walk as a result of torture. One month later on March 8, her father was notified by the prison that his daughter has been transferred to Liaoning Province Prison Management Bureau General Hospital. He arrived at the hospital at 12:50 p.m. that day, only to see his daughter’s dead body.
Ms. Cheng Haiyan was a professor at China Pharmaceutical University in Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province. She never wavered in her faith when the persecution of Falun Gong began in 1999. She was arrested three times and had her home ransacked five times. She was sentenced to ten years in prison, detained at a mental hospital for two and a half months, and held in a local brainwashing center many times. Her husband in the military was forced to divorce her. She died on March 28, 2018. She was 63 years old.
College Professor Died After Repeated Persecution
Ms. Zhang Luyuan, 76, a college professor from Chongqing, passed away in May 2018. Because she refused to renounce her faith, she was subjected to one year of forced labor, three months of brainwashing, as well as constant harassment and home-ransacking. The fear and pressure took a toll on her health and eventually claimed her life.
Her husband, Mr. Yang Yanhai, also died as a result of the persecution on January 4, 2004. He was 62.
Mr. Ye Guohua, a teacher from the Dongyou Middle School in Jianye City, Fujian Province, was arrested on January 16, 2018, while doing the Falun Gong exercises at another practitioner’s home. He was detained at the Jianye Detention Centre.
Eight months later, he was taken to the hospital, and passed away three days later on September 11, 2018. He was in his 50s. His body was severely swollen and the doctor revealed that all of his vital organs had failed. His family suspects that he was brutally tortured by the guards for his faith in Falun Gong.
Ms. Ye was repeatedly arrested and sentenced for his faith. He served five years in Minxi Prison in Longyang City between 2001 and 2006. Only two years after he was released, he was arrested again on July 28, 2008 and sentenced to 5.5 years in June 2009.
Dr. Zou Xiangyang, a teacher at Changchun Institute of Technology in Jilin Province, died on November 29, 2018 after nearly two decades of being persecuted for his faith in Falun Gong.
Heartbroken by the death of their beloved teacher, Dr. Zou’s students wrote an account to honor his good deeds as a caring and excellent teacher and to expose this tragic loss due to the persecution.
Dr. Zou was persecuted so severely that he had reached the brink of death several times. He was arrested five times and incarcerated twice in forced labor camps. The arrests had happened at his home, on his way to work, and even in the classroom. While he was detained, he was tortured and threatened numerous times.
On March 4, 2002, Dr. Zou was arrested in the classroom by several officers from Changchun Police Department. He was tied to a metal chair, beaten, slapped in the face, and shocked with electric batons. The torture lasted the afternoon and continued into the evening.
The next day he was taken to Tebei Detention Centre, where he was held for one month before being transferred to the Chaoyanggou Forced Labor Camp to serve a three-year term.
In the labor camp, Dr. Zou was subjected to all kinds of insults and torture. He was forced to sit on a small chair for long hours to the point that his buttocks bled. He developed scabies, and his body was covered in blisters and pus. Yet he was still forced to do unpaid work—including growing vegetables, doing construction work, and making packaging materials.
The mental torture used on Dr. Zou was extremely cruel. He was often forced to watch videos that slandered Falun Gong, and read defamatory materials. He was forced to write monthly “thought reports.” He was deprived of sleep and forced to sit on the cold cement floor if his thought reports did not conform to the prison’s requirements.
Deaths in 2019
Ms. Song Zhaoheng, a 76-year-old retired teacher in Yushu City, Jilin Province, died on January 14, 2019, while awaiting the verdict of her trial.
Ms. Song credited Falun Gong with improving her health and character. She seized every opportunity to tell people that Falun Gong was nothing like what was depicted by the hate propaganda perpetuated by the Chinese Communist Party.
Ms. Song was arrested on August 27, 2018, while talking to people about Falun Gong. She defended her right to practice and share information about Falun Gong during her trial on November 16, 2018. It was reported that the authorities planned to sentence her to nine years in prison, but she died suddenly in the detention center on January 14, three weeks before the 2019 Chinese New Year (which fell on February 5).
School Teacher and Former Principal Dies After Repeated Persecution
Ms. Yang Guizhi was an award-winning teacher from the Yuanbaoshan District Ethnic Middle School of Chifeng City, Inner Mongolia. She used to be the principal of another middle school in Chifeng. She was repeatedly persecuted for refusing to give up her belief.
She was sentenced to four years in the Inner Mongolia Women’s Prison, and died on February 27, 2019. She was 61.
Mr. She Chengbang, a senior-year high school language teacher at Hanyin County Middle School in Ankang City, Shaanxi Province, was well-respected for his work. His dedication, stellar job performance, and favorable reviews from students earned him the title of “Teacher of the Year.” Besides teaching, he also served as the main volunteer coordinator of Falun Gong exercise sites in Hanyin County prior to the persecution.
Mr. She was given three years in a forced labor camp for going to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong in 2000. The labor camp guards tortured him in an attempt to force him to forsake his belief. They once kicked him hard in the chest and punched him in the kidney.
Another time, they cuffed his hands behind his back and hung him up to heating pipes by the handcuffs, with his toes barely touching the ground. The torture lasted 27 days. Mr. She suffered severe injuries and mental trauma as a result.
Mr. She was arrested again in 2009 and sentenced to seven years in Weinan Prison during a secret trial on December 24, 2009. Similar to what he suffered in the labor camp, he continued to be physically abused in prison. His health deteriorated when he was released in April 2016.
He fell out of his bed one night in 2017 and could not move. He became bedridden since and was unable to eat in his final years. He passed away in March 2019. He was 53.
Ms. Huang Guiying was a teacher at Baiyun Elementary School in Dalian City, Liaoning Province. She was given one year of forced labor in 2010 and was sentenced to a four-year prison term in 2014.
During her detention, Ms. Huang was subjected to various forms of abuse and humiliation. She was once forbidden from brushing her teeth or taking a shower for 55 consecutive days in the summer.
She was ordered to sleep on a wood plank in the bitter winter and cold water was poured on her body. She was given a meager amount of food and was so hungry that she even dug in the trash can to find food to eat. She was also forced to stand for 16 hours a day. The guards didn’t allow her to purchase toilet paper or borrow from other inmates.
Ms. Huang was released in September 2017, only to find that she had been fired from her job. Her husband was also laid off. Her request to have her job reinstated was repeatedly rejected.
Ms. Huang became mentally disoriented in April 2018. She lost her appetite and became emaciated. Her belly and legs were extremely swollen. Her conditions worsened in May 2019. She had slurred speech and was in and out of a coma. She died on May 5, 2019, when her daughter was four months pregnant.
Ms. Mu Zhihong, a retired teacher from the Shizuishan City, Ningxia region, was arrested eleven times since the persecution started. During this time, she served one year of forced labor and three years in prison.
Ms. Mu was subjected to both mental and physical torture as a way to force her to give up her faith. In addition to intensive brainwashing, she was beaten, forced to do unpaid labor, locked in solitary confinement, forced to sit on a small stool for long hours, and deprived of basic human needs, such as sleeping, drinking, and eating.
She passed away on June 18, 2019. She was 76.
Retired Middle School Teacher Persecuted to Death
Mr. Yu Zhengxiang, a retired teacher from the No. 2 Middle School in Changzhi City, Shanxi Province, died at around 7 a.m. on July 16, 2019. He was 79.
Mr. Yu started to practice Falun Gong in 1995. He was detained many times after the persecution of Falun Gong started. He was placed under administrative detention twice, one month each, in 2000. Between 2002 and 2004 he served two years in a forced labor camp. In 2015 he was sentenced to one year in prison. The school suspended his pension and medical insurance.
Ms. Zhang Xiaojie was a college lecturer in Qinhuangdao City, Shandong Province. She was sentenced to five years in Hubei Women’s Prison.
The police confiscated one million yuan from her home. The cash included banknotes printed with information about Falun Gong. As all formal channels to appeal for Falun Gong have been blocked by the regime, Falun Gong practitioners use creative means to expose the persecution, including printing messages on banknotes.
Ms. Zhang was tortured while being held in the local detention centre and later in prison. As a result of the long-term, intensive mental and physical torture, Ms. Zhang’s health declined quickly. She was found to have an ovarian tumor in early 2018, yet the prison refused to provide her with any treatment. She passed away on August 24, 2019, 14 months after her release. She was 51.
Deaths in 2020
Ms. Li Guirong died in Liaoning Province Women’s Prison in mid-January 2020 at age 78, only weeks before the end of her five-year term for refusing to give up her faith in Falun Gong.
Ms. Li was a retired elementary school principal in Shenyang City, Liaoning Province. She was arrested on October 17, 2006, for talking to people about Falun Gong, and sentenced to a seven-year term seven months later.
She was sentenced to another fiver years after being arrested on February 7, 2015 for distributing Falun Gong informational materials.
While Ms. Li was in Liaoning Province Women’s Prison, the guards ordered inmates to beat and kick her, and stomp on her hands. Her face bled, her hands were swollen, and she was covered in dark bruises. Much of her hair was pulled out.
The guards sometimes forced Ms. Li to squat on the concrete floor for days on end, not allowing her to eat, use the restroom, or sleep. To make the torture worse, they forced her to take off her shoes and poured cold water on her feet while she squatted. Her legs hurt unbearably. She was unable to stand or sit afterward, and had to crawl to get anywhere.
Mr. Wang Fengcheng, a geography teacher in Daqing City, Heilongjiang Province, was arrested on January 18, 2017, along with his wife, Ms. Leng Xiuxia. Both were later sentenced to four years in Hulan Prison and fined 30,000 yuan.
On May 31, 2020, Hulan Prison informed Mr. Wang’s family that he had a serious lung infection. After seeing that Mr. Wang’s condition didn’t improve after receiving treatments at the prison hospital, his family demanded to send him to an outside hospital for a comprehensive checkup and better treatment.
The prison authorities forced them to sign a liability waiver on June 26, claiming that the prison wouldn’t be held accountable if Mr. Wang died in prison and that he must be returned to the prison after the checkup.
Mr. Wang became critically ill and his family applied for medical parole for him on July 2, but their appeal was rejected by the prison authorities. Mr. Wang passed away a month later on August 9.
Death in 2021
Mr. Lu Songming was a history teacher at a middle school in Xiangtan City, Hunan Province. Because he refused to give up his faith, he was fired by the middle school and sentenced three times, for a total of 14 years.
While serving time, he was subjected to various tortures, including being hung up by his handcuffed wrists, beaten, shocked with electric batons, and forced to do long hours of intensive labor. The torture and abuse completely destroyed his health. He developed a severe heart condition and was on the verge of death a dozen times.
Mr. Lu returned home in 2018 after serving a third prison term for practicing Falun Gong. He had almost died several times due to torture while in custody. Having lost the ability to work due to a severe heart condition, he relied on picking leftover vegetables in the farmers’ market to get by.
He was easily exhausted after carrying heavy items and had to lie down frequently to rest. After struggling with poor health for three years, the 53-year-old man passed away on the evening of March 28, 2021.
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