(Minghui.org) The Double Ninth Festival is a traditional Chinese holiday that honors and celebrates seniors. This year the festival fell on October 4 and was another sad reminder that the persecution of Falun Gong continues to this day and that the many elderly who practice Falun Gong are still unable to enjoy this festival honoring the aged.

Since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) started the persecution of Falun Gong in July 1999, countless practitioners have been harassed, arrested, jailed, tortured, or even had their organs harvested for upholding their faith. The elderly are not spared from the persecution. Instead of being respected and well treated, many of them were detained and tortured for their belief in Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Some even lost their lives as described below.


No Food, No Access to Toilet, No Sleep

Ms. Li Guirong, Principal of Hezuo Elementary School in Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, was once recognised as one of the best principals in the region. Because she practiced Falun Gong, however, she was arrested in October 2006 and later sentenced to seven years in prison.

After being arrested again in February 2015, Ms. Li was sentenced to five years by Hunnan Court and sent to Liaoning Women’s Prison. In Ward 5, designated to detain the elderly and infirm, the guards and inmates beat her savagely and hit her hands with their shoes. Ms. Li was left with bruises all over.

An inmate once grabbed Ms. Li by the hair and dragged her around the room. Lots of her hair came out that day. Guards and inmates also forced her to squat unmoving, once for 36 hours and another time for more than 60 hours. To force her to give up her belief in Falun Gong, they deprived her of food and sleep and denied her restroom use during that time. IMs. Li died in January 2020 at the age of 78.


Inmates: “Make Your Life a Living Hell”

Mr. Gong Piqi was the former Deputy Chief of Staff of the Reserve Antiaircraft Artillery Division in Shandong Province. Under instructions from Qingdao Political and Legal Affairs Committee (PLAC), 610 Office, and Shibei Domestic Security Bureau, Shibei Procuratorate and Shibei Court sentenced Mr. Gong to seven and a half years on July 20, 2018. He was ordered to serve time in Shandong Prison in Jinan.

He died in prison on April 12, 2021. He was 66. His family saw wounds on his head, which was also wet and swollen. There was blood dripping out of his ears.

Shandong Prison is notorious for torturing Falun Gong practitioners. Many practitioners were killed, disabled, and injured there. Instigated by the guards to torture practitioners, some inmates said, “We were told not to kill you, but to make your life a living hell – so you would rather die than live.”


No Release Unless Beliefs Renounced

Ms. Su Yunxia was a practitioner in Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province. She was sentenced to five years and died two days before she was scheduled to be released on September 6, 2021. She was 67.

It was said that for Falun Gong practitioners detained at Heilongjiang Women’s Prison to receive the release notice, they must sign documents to renounce their belief; otherwise, they would be “disciplined” by guards and inmates. Some detainees said they heard Ms. Su being beaten in Ward 8 on September 4, 2021, the day she died.

Like many other practitioners, Ms. Su had been detained numerous times for practicing Falun Gong. After being admitted to Wanjia Labor Camp in 2001, she was handcuffed behind her back to the upper level of a bunk bed. Her feet could barely touch the ground and her mouth was sealed with tape.


Countless Torture Methods

Mr. Chu Liwen, 65, was a volunteer assistant at the local Falun Gong exercise site in Changyi City, Shandong Province, before the persecution began in July 1999. Later on, he was framed and jailed several times for a total of 11 years. After being arrested again on September 22, 2019, he was sentenced to eight years two days before the 2021 Chinese New Year. After being released due to a critical medical condition, he died on July 1, 2021.

During his incarceration at detention centres, labor camps, and prisons, Mr. Chu suffered tremendously for upholding his belief. He was handcuffed behind his back to a tree in freezing winter, forced to hold up a bench for a long time, handcuffed with his feet chained, force-fed, forced to do unpaid labor, frozen, stabbed with needles, forced to stand still facing a wall, tied up, stretched apart by all four limbs, beaten with rubber hoses, shocked with electric batons, choked around his neck, and placed in solitary confinement. In addition, guards and inmates stomped on his calves and tied him up in a mosquito-infested area until he was beyond recognition.

Guards and inmates shocked Mr. Chu with electric batons in December 2003. As a result, his face was disfigured and his entire body was covered in ulcers. After being taken to a brainwashing centre in Weifang City in August 2008, Mr. Chu was handcuffed to a heating pipe and a metal chair. With his head covered, he was beaten up by many inmates. Guards and inmates also tied up Mr. Chu with thin ropes which caused him excruciating pain.


Additional Cases

Mr. Liu Xiyong, 80, a resident of Shihe Village in Dalian City, Liaoning Province, was scheduled to be released on April 9, 2021, after serving three years for his belief. Jinzhou police took him to Sanli Detention Centre on that day instead. Officials from the local procuratorate and court framed him again and sentenced him to four more years. Mr. Liu was in a life-threatening condition in the Dalian Third Prison, but officials refused to release him. “He will stay here as long as he is alive,” one official said. In the end, Mr. Liu died in the prison on December 29, 2021.

Ms. Wang Liuzhen, a retired engineer in her 80s, died on January 1, 2022. The Chongqing resident was twice given forced labor and thrice held at a mental hospital, where she was forcibly injected with nerve-damaging drugs and force-fed other unknown drugs. These severely damaged her internal organs. In addition, the police closely monitored her 24 hours a day for over 10 years. They built a hut near her home to monitor her and staff members dispatched to watch her often beat her and scolded her. They once hit her with a wooden bench, injuring her nose and legs.

Ms. Ji Yunzhi, a practitioner from Bairin Left Banner of Inner Mongolia, was arrested on the 2022 Chinese New Year (February 1). Less than three months later, she died at 66 in Bairin Left Banner Hospital on March 21, 2022. Information obtained by Minghui showed that guards and inmates had beaten Ms. Ji badly in the detention centre, leaving her on the verge of death.


Many More Tragedies

Above are just a few examples of how tens of millions of Falun Gong practitioners have been persecuted for their belief. Although no law in China has ever criminalised Falun Gong, former CCP leader Jiang Zemin announced a ban on Falun Gong in July 1999 and ordered the entire state apparatus to carry out the persecution in attempts to wipe it out.

However, the persecution has now lasted 23 years. In the first six months of 2022 alone, 92 practitioners lost their lives and 366 were sentenced to prison. Among them, 107 were 60 or older, with the oldest one being 85.

Very often these practitioners were left in the dark when the police, procuratorate, and the court framed them.

Ms. Dong Shuxian, 73, is from Chaoyang City, Liaoning Province. When six officials from Shuangta Court and local police department visited her on July 14, 2020, Ms. Dong greeted them, only to be presented with a verdict of 7-year imprisonment. “What is this?” Ms. Dong asked, “I just stayed at home and did not do anything.” But no one answered.


A Lost Era

The Double Ninth Festival falls on September 9 in the Chinese lunar calendar every year. It is designed to show respect to seniors. The elderly were always well respected in ancient times.

The Emperor Kangxi in the Qing Dynasty held large festivities at least twice, meeting and celebrating seniors who were 65 or older. They included officials and scholars from Mongols, Manchus, and Han ethnic groups. While young members of the royal family served wine, the Emperor and high officials wrote poems in celebration.

Things changed after the CCP took power in 1949. It has harmed countless Chinese citizens during its numerous political campaigns. After nearly wiping out traditional Chinese culture during the Great Cultural Revolution, the CCP targeted innocent Falun Gong practitioners simply for being good citizens following the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.

The Double Ninth Festival helps us remember who we are and where we came from. If we do not cherish the traditional values of respecting the elders and following our conscience, the CCP will take Chinese society down into a future of uncertainty. By rejecting the CCP and embracing the common good, we can be responsible to ourselves and help others, both old and young.