Reported in First Half of 2023: 702 Falun Gong Practitioners Sentenced for Their Faith

( A total of 702 sentencing cases of Falun Gong practitioners were reported in the first half of 2023.

Among the 702 newly reported cases, 104 (14.8%) cases took place between 2014 and 2020, 52 (7.4%) cases happened in 2021, 192 (27.4%) in 2022, 350 (49.9%) in 2023 and 4 (0.6%) cases with unknown timing. The 350 cases in 2023 further broke down to 42 in January, 44 in February, 73 in March, 58 in April, 71 in May, 29 in June, and another 33 cases with unknown months. Due to strict information censorship in China, the incidents can’t always be reported in a timely manner, nor is all the information readily available.

The sentenced practitioners hailed from 23 provinces and 4 municipalities. Shandong reported the most cases 111, followed by Liaoning (85), Heilongjiang (77), and Jilin (54). Twelve other regions had cases between 10 and 54. The remaining eleven areas had single-digit cases. The full list of sentenced practitioners can be downloaded here (PDF).


Violation of Legal Procedure

Sentenced Without Legal Basis

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s persecution apparatus consists of three major components:

The Political and Legal Affairs Committee (PLAC)
The 610 Office
The law enforcement and judiciary system

Both the PLAC and 610 Office are extrajudicial agencies given the power to override the Constitution and laws of China.

The actual implementer includes the entire law enforcement and judicial system – Public Security (the police), the Procuratorate (public prosecutors), the courts, and the Justice Bureaus – as well as other agencies such as the CCP’s Propaganda Department, State Security Department, Foreign Affairs Department, military, armed police, and so on.

Most of the practitioners were sentenced for violating Article 300 of the Criminal Law, which states that anyone using a cult organisation to undermine law enforcement must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. China’s law-making body, the People’s Congress, has never enacted any law criminalising Falun Gong or labeling it a cult.

When sentencing Ms. Chen Qiuju, a 54-year-old resident of Pengxi County, Sichuan Province, to three years on June 29, 2023, both the prosecutor and the presiding judge in charge of her case admitted that the local 610 Office and PLAC had ordered them to give her a heavy sentence if she refused to sign a statement to renounce Falun Gong.

Another judge in Zhoukou City, Henan Province, cited the “China Anti-cult Website” and the government’s persecution policy as the legal basis, instead of any enacted law, when he delivered a 2.5-year sentence to Ms. Xia Dongmei.

According to World Organisation to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong, the directors and key members of China Anti-Cult Association, the organisation behind the “China Anti-cult Website,” are members of the Chinese Communist Party and have been actively participating in the persecution. The website has also been used to spread hate propaganda to smear Falun Gong and justify the persecution.

During the hearing of the case against Ms. Sun Baifeng, a Tangshan City, Hebei Province, resident, on February 9, 2023, the prosecutor accused her and other Falun Gong practitioners of “attacking the Chinese Communist Party and the government” by exposing the Tiananmen self-immolation hoax (in which several people who set themselves on fire on Tiananmen Square were labeled as Falun Gong practitioners, when in fact none of them had ever practiced Falun Gong).

The prosecutor also said, “The Constitution started by saying that the country is governed by the Chinese Communist Party. If you are against the Party, you are violating the Constitution.” He continued to say that due to Falun Gong’s influence in society (prior to the persecution), the government specifically came up with the charge of “undermining law enforcement” to criminalise the practitioners. When presented with the fact that Falun Gong wasn’t included in the cult list identified by the communist regime in 2000, he stated, “Not having it on the list doesn’t mean we can’t crack down on it.”

Denial Legal Representation

As more and more lawyers and practitioners’ family members stepped up to defend them, the authorities also used all kinds of tactics to block their legal defense.

Shortly after Mr. Luo Banglin, a 40-year-old veteran in Miyi County, Sichuan Province, was arrested on March 15, 2022, his wife, Ms. Hong Chuyan, went to the procuratorate and filed an application to be his non-lawyer defender. Hu Shouhua, the prosecutor in charge of the case, demanded that she sign paperwork promising not to hire a lawyer for her husband. She refused to make such a promise.

Ms. Hong submitted her defense statement on August 12 and received a call from Hu three days later. Hu said that she wasn’t allowed to represent her husband as a non-lawyer defender or visit him at the detention centre. Without allowing Mr. Luo any legal counsel, the Miyi County Court sentenced Mr. Luo to three years on December 23, 2022.

When Ms. Zhang Suqin, of Xinxiang City, Henan Province, stood trial on February 17, 2023, for talking to people about Falun Gong, the judge frequently interrupted her lawyer, Mr. Xie Yanyi, as he entered a not-guilty plea for her, before removing him from the courtroom.

Mr. Miao Zhongjun’s lawyer went to the Lianhu District Procuratorate in Xi’an City, Shaanxi Province to review his case document around July 2022, after his arrest was approved. Yet prosecutor Zhao questioned him on whether he signed a representation agreement with Mr. Miao’s family, whether he provided a receipt of their payment to him, and whether he notified his local justice bureau of his representation of a Falun Gong practitioner with the local justice bureau.

Zhao added that Mr. Miao’s case involved state secrets and she had to ask for permission from her supervisor before she could allow the lawyer to review his case documents. She refused to provide her phone number to the lawyer, saying that she would contact him if she had any updates. She also asked for personal information about Mr. Miao’s family member who hired the lawyer. The lawyer refused to answer her question and said it was illegal for her to ask for private information on his client.

After leaving Zhao’s office, the lawyer filed a complaint against her, but to no avail. Zhao indicted Mr. Miao and moved his case to the Lianhu District Court the next day, without allowing the lawyer to review his case documents.

Mr. Miao, 66, stood trial at the Lianhu District Court on March 23, 2023, and is now awaiting a verdict.

In Lanzhou City, Gansu Province, a judge appointed two lawyers to represent Mr. Jiang Minghui and ordered them to enter a guilty plea for him, despite the fact that his wife had hired a lawyer for him. Ms. Jiang stood trial on April 7, 2023, and is also awaiting a verdict.

When Ms. Li Dongju’s lawyer contacted the intermediate court on April 13, 2023, to inquire about the status of her appeal against a 5.5-year sentence for practicing Falun Gong, he was shocked to learn that the judge had ruled to uphold her original verdict and closed the case.

The lawyer also found out that the court had appointed two lawyers to represent Ms. Li, even though he had already started to work on her case. With the excuse that only two lawyers could represent Ms. Li, the appeals court judge rejected her lawyer’s request to review her case document and didn’t inform him of the hearing of Ms. Li’s appeal case.

Ms. Li, a Daqing City, Heilongjiang Province, resident in her 60s, was arrested on July 12, 2022, and sentenced to 5.5 years on December 4, 2022.

Fabricated Evidence

In addition to the lack of legal basis and denying the practitioners of legal representation, the authorities also fabricated evidence against the practitioners in order to jail them.

During Mr. Wang Lin’s hearing by the Linghai City Court on June 5, 2023, the Jinzhou City, Liaoning Province resident exposed the police for fabricating evidence against him and also accused the Linghai City Procuratorate of failing to investigate the police-supplied evidence, as required by law.

According to Mr. Wang, the police supplied video footage showing a man driving a car near a residential complex. The police claimed that the video was proof that Mr. Wang had distributed Falun Gong materials there because the make and model of the car were the same as his and the man in the video looked very much like him. Mr. Wang said that the video footage failed to prove that the man in the video was indeed him. Additionally, the video didn’t even show the man passing out any materials.

The second piece of police-supplied evidence was a home surveillance video submitted to them by resident Hao in the same residential complex. The footage showed a man holding a bag outside Hao’s home. The police alleged that the video was proof that Mr. Wang had hung Falun Gong materials on the doorknob of Hao’s home. Mr. Wang pointed out that the video didn’t show the man taking things out of his bag or putting things in the bag. Moreover, the video was not clear enough to show what the man looked like.

The third piece of police-supplied evidence was a photo of Mr. Wang standing by the doorknob of a house in the residential complex. He said that one day after his arrest, the police brought him to that house and hung a bag on the doorknob before taking a picture of him. He pointed out that the house was not Hao’s home and he didn’t know what was in the bag.

The fourth piece of police-supplied evidence was an interrogation record submitted to the Linghai City Procuratorate but never shown to Mr. Wang. He said that the police did show him some documents and that he acknowledged this upon noting it was indeed about what he said during the interrogation. But according to his lawyer, the interrogation record submitted to the Linghai City Procuratorate by the police contained incriminating information against him. He suspected that the police submitted a totally different version without allowing him to read it.

When prosecutor Li Feng went to the local detention centre to question Mr. Wang, he requested that the Procuratorate investigate the evidence as required by law before making an indictment decision. Li ignored him and left after only a few minutes, without listening to him explain how the police had fabricated evidence against him. Mr. Wang also said that Li was very rude to him.

Judge Huang Yanchun sentenced Mr. Wang to four years in prison with an 8,000-yuan fine on June 25.

In Ms. Xu Ping’s case, the police forced her to sign a piece of blank paper, and he and other officers then copied her signature to fabricate evidence against her. They also fabricated two witness accounts against her. She applied to the court to examine the faked evidence, but the judge never responded to her. The prosecutor remained silent as she talked about the faked evidence during her hearing on February 9, 2023.

When Mr. Shi Zongxi, a resident of Baoding City, Hebei Province, appeared in court on February 17, 2023, for practicing Falun Gong, his lawyers were shocked to see that the prosecutor listed a villager who had died five years prior as a witness against him.


Heavy Terms and Fines

The prison terms of the newly reported 702 cases ranged from two months to fourteen years, with 89 practitioners receiving five years or longer. A total of 206 practitioners were fined a total of 2,484,000 yuan. Four practitioners were fined 100,000 yuan (including two practitioners who were both sentenced to eight years), five were fined between 50,000 and 70,000 yuan, 84 received fines between 10,000 and 40,000 yuan, and another 113 practitioners were fined between 1,000 and 8,000 yuan.

Mr. Hou Lijun, of Taiyuan City, Shanxi Province, was sentenced to ten years less than three weeks after his arrest on April 25, 2023. No hearing was held before his sentencing, nor were any witness accounts or valid evidence listed on the verdict.

Mr. Hou’s arrest came after he’d already spent over 20 years in displacement to avoid being persecuted. It has been nearly three months since he started a hunger strike to protest the arrest and sentencing. According to his family who saw him in the hospital after he was rushed there due to his serious condition, his hair had turned gray and he only weighed about 50 kg (110 lbs). He was unable to walk on his own and relied on the help of two inmates. Despite his condition, a guard once ordered him to stand for 30 minutes.

Mr. Hou Lijun (top left), his mother Ms. Kang Shuqin (lower left), father (lower right), and sister (top right)

In Deyang City, Sichuan Province, Ms. Zhao Jie was sentenced to eight years with a 100,000-yuan fine, following a hearing by the Jingyang District Court on February 17, 2023. Her father recently took a fall and became bedridden. Both he and his wife are longing for Ms. Zhao’s return.

A Beijing resident named Ms. Han Chunbo, in her 60s, also received eight years. Her appeal has been rejected by the Beijing Second Intermediate Court. Prior to her latest prison term, Ms. Han was given two years of forced labor in 2008 and sentenced to three and a half years in prison in 2015. The local court approved her husband’s divorce request during her prison term, which stated that she was divorced because she broke the law and that her ex-husband was given all their marital assets.

In Beijing Women’s Prison, Ms. Han was constantly beaten, denied restroom use, and starved. The guards forced her to work overtime and cut her sleep time. They forced her to relieve herself in the basin she used to wash her face. During the winter they stripped her naked and then poured cold water over her head. They also scratched and injured her back with sharp objects.

Targeted in a group arrest in Dongying City, Shandong Province on April 23, 2021, nine practitioners and a family member were later sentenced to prison, for mailing letters to the public exposing the persecution. Their prison terms ranged from 1.5 years with 2 years probation to 8 years. Mr. Zhou Deyong, a senior geological engineer and father of a U.S. resident, was given the heaviest term, also with a 100,000-yuan fine.

During a briefing on “Religious Persecution of Falun Gong by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party)” held by the U.S. Congressional International Religious Freedom Caucus on May 23, 2023, Mr. Zhou’s son, Mr. Zhou You, recounted his father’s ordeal.

“My father is 62 years old. He has lost all of his teeth and is unable to eat meat, vegetables, or even rice. His diet is limited to soup every day,” said Mr. Zhou You. He added, “Please help my father and all Falun Gong practitioners who are being persecuted in China.”

Congressional briefing on “Religious Persecution of Falun Gong by the CCP” on May 23, 2023
Mr. Zhou You, a software engineer from Florida, talked about his father’s recent eight-year prison sentence by the CCP at a briefing on May 13, 2023.


Elderly, Young, and Professionals Sentenced

Insert Age Distribution of 284 Practitioners with Known Ages at the Time of Sentencing

Among the 284 (40.4%) practitioners whose ages at the time of sentencing were known, they were between 22 and 88, including 82 practitioners in their 70s and 22 in their 80s.

Ms. Liang Shuzhi, an 86-year-old Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, resident, was sentenced to three years on March 27, 2023. She was arrested at home on June 8, 2021. The police claimed that she committed a serious crime by placing Falun Gong materials on cars near a police station in March 2021 and having other practitioners print Falun Gong materials at her home.

A retired railroad engineer of Changzhou City, Jiangsu Province, Mr. Chen Renlin, also 86, was sentenced to seven years around January 2022 and admitted to the Suzhou Prison around May 2023, according to information collected by in late June 2023.

In addition to the elderly practitioners, there have been more and more younger practitioners targeted for their faith. Many of these practitioners, in their 20s and 30s, were drawn to Falun Gong’s spiritual refinement and health benefits and they took up the practice despite the ongoing persecution. Because of their courageous efforts in raising awareness about the persecution, they are also targeted and some have their rising careers in jeopardy.

Mr. Qu Xing, a 34-year-old resident of Chengdu City, Sichuan Province, was sentenced to eight years in prison and fined 30,000 yuan on February 15, 2023. Mr. Qu had been interested in spiritual cultivation since his teens. He studied Buddhism and also went to Tibet to learn Tantrism. He later went to Nepal and tried to study under a famous monk. The monk didn’t specify whether he would take Mr. Qu as a disciple but kept him in the monastery for over a year. Mr. Qu lived in a bamboo tent and led a very simple life.

In 2018, he came across Falun Gong on the Internet. He was very excited after reading Zhuan Falun, the main text of Falun Gong. He said Falun Gong was exactly what he had been looking for. He told the monk that he had decided to practice Falun Gong. The monk was very happy for him.

Mr. Qu thus moved back to China. After a brief stop in Chengdu, he liked the city and decided to stay there, only to be arrested on June 8, 2021, after being reported for putting up Falun Gong posters while delivering food.

During Mr. Qu’s trial on February 15, 2023, the court was heavily guarded by the bailiffs. His family, including his mother, weren’t allowed to attend the trial. His lawyer entered a not-guilty plea for him. The judge sentenced him to eight years that afternoon.

In Chengdu, Mr. Qu befriended “Sunshine,” another young Falun Gong practitioner. They often went out together to distribute Falun Gong materials and clarify the facts about the persecution. Due to safety issues, “Sunshine” didn’t share with Mr. Qu his real name or address. Mr. Qu only knew that “Sunshine” was a native of Hunan Province.

When the news broke that 30-year-old Mr. Pang Xun had been beaten to death at Jiazhou Prison on December 2, 2022, while serving a five-year term for spreading information about the persecution, Mr. Qu’s mother, Ms. Xu Yanping, recognized that he was “Sunshine.”

Mr. Pang Xun

Mr. Zhao Yubo, of Anshan City, Liaoning Province, began to practice Falun Gong in July 1997 when he was 14. He said that its profound teachings and universal principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance deeply moved him. He went from being an introverted, passive, and rebellious person to one who was outgoing, warm, and ready to help. His academic performance also improved quickly and he was well-regarded by his classmates.

Just as people around him were impressed with his amazing changes, the persecution started in 1999. With a simple wish to speak up for Falun Gong, Mr. Zhao went to the local government in 2000 to appeal, only to be arrested and forced to write a letter, promising not to go to Beijing to seek justice for Falun Gong.

After that, the 17-year-old faced constant harassment at home and at school. His teacher and school leaders threatened to expel him if he didn’t renounce Falun Gong. With no other choice, he quit school and studied on his own. Yet the police still regularly harassed him.

Despite the hardship and pressure due to the persecution, Mr. Zhao grew into a resilient and strong person, who also has a big heart and is positive and optimistic. He eventually became an interior designer by teaching himself, and his designs were widely acclaimed.

Mr. Zhao was working on a new design at home on September 21, 2022, when the police suddenly broke in and arrested him. They held him at the police station for two days, without giving him any food or water, before transferring him to the Xiuyan Detention Centre. He appeared in the Lishan District Court on March 28, 2023, and was later sentenced to three years.

Mr. Zhao Yubo

Mr. Li Desheng, 22, of Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province, was arrested on June 24, 2023, after he was reported by a shop owner for using bills that had information about Falun Gong printed on them. (Due to strict information censorship in China, many Falun Gong practitioners printed messages on paper currency to raise awareness about the persecution.)

The shop owner, Zhu, later received a 6,000-yuan reward from the local “Anti-cult Association,” sponsored by the Political and Legal Affairs Committee, an extra-judiciary agency tasked with overseeing the persecution.

Mr. Li was later sentenced to four years by the Haizhu District Detention Centre. He was taken to Beijing Prison on January 11, 2023, two months before the court hearing of his father, 55-year-old Mr. Li Aimin, also for his faith in Falun Gong.

Ms. Yang Chunrong, a 38-year-old Chongqing resident, suffered all kinds of ailments from head to toe in her 20s. She tried all kinds of treatments, but none had any effect. In August 2012, she learned about the persecution of Falun Gong and realised that she had been deceived by the communist regime into harboring hatred toward this ancient mind/body practice. She read Falun Gong books and was drawn to the profound teachings. She took up Falun Gong and was surprised to see her health quickly improve.

Ms. Yang and three other practitioners were arrested on April 22, 2021, while they were studying Falun Gong teachings together. During her hearing at the Jiulongpo District Court on October 24, 2022, the prosecutor cited evidence fabricated by the police, accusing her of possessing over 10,000 copies of Falun Gong materials. The police-provided evidence and also included audio recordings of her young child being forced to read slanderous lies about her. She was sentenced to six years and nine months around early April 2023.

While the sentenced practitioners are diverse in their ages, they also have different backgrounds, coming from all walks of life, including librarians, doctors, teachers, accountants, bus drivers, healthcare workers and artists.

Ms. Dong Yu is a Changchun City, Jilin Province, resident in her 50s. She was the chief physician in the Ophthalmology Department of the First Hospital of Jilin University and a professor at the university. She specialised in treating complex and difficult eye diseases and was well respected by her patients. She was arrested on March 4, 2022, after being reported for distributing Falun Gong informational materials and has been secretly sentenced.

Ms. Chen Ping, a teacher of West China Normal University in Nanchong City, Sichuan Province, was arrested on July 26, 2020, after being reported by two middle school students for talking to them about Falun Gong. More than ten officers interrogated her during the 38-hour-long detention. She was starved and also forced to wear a straitjacket.

Ms. Chen appeared in Shunqing District Court on April 21, 2022. Most of the evidence submitted by the police was fabricated, including forged witness signatures. Although the court claimed that it was having an “open trial,” Ms. Chen’s sister, brother, and sister-in-law were all prohibited from attending it. Only her husband and parents were allowed into the courtroom. The gallery was filled with police officers, residential committee staff members, and security officers from Ms. Chen’s college. The heavy police force was stationed outside of the courthouse, claiming to prevent local practitioners from rallying there.

A residential committee staff member called Ms. Chen on March 17, 2023, and asked her to go to their office. She went there, only to see court officials who announced her two-year sentence. She has been in custody ever since.

Ms. Wang Jian, an assistant communications engineer for the Harbin Railway Bureau in Heilongjiang Province, was arrested on July 11, 2022, on her way to work. Her laptop, printer, Falun Gong books, and cell phone were confiscated. The police revealed that they had been monitoring her for a long time before the arrest.

Ms. Wang, a 35-year-old resident of Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province was detained at the Harbin City No. 2 Detention Centre. The judge held a hearing of her case on March 6, 2023, and sentenced her to two years with a 100,000-yuan fine three days later. The higher court rejected her family’s request to have an open hearing for her appeal and ruled to uphold her original verdict.


Targeted for Speaking Out

In addition to talking to people face to face about Falun Gong, as well as printing and distributing informational materials to raise awareness about the persecution, Falun Gong practitioners also developed software that could help the general public to overcome the Chinese Communist Party’s internet blockade and access free information from overseas websites.

Because of their involvement in developing and maintaining the firewall circumvention software oGate, a software engineer and his fiancée in Shanghai were sentenced to prison on June 12, 2023, to six and five years, respectively.

Mr. He Binggang, 46, was arrested at home on October 9, 2021, after the police broke in when he opened the door for a delivery worker. His tablet and cell phone were confiscated. At the same time, another group broke into his fiancée Ms. Zhang Yibo’s home. The 46-year-old former business manager locked the door from inside, but the police pried open the lock and broke in. Her computer, tablet, and cellphone were also confiscated.

The police barred Mr. He’s lawyer from visiting him at the Changning District Detention Centre, with the excuse that his case endangered national security. Not until March 10, 2022, about one month after the police submitted their cases to the procuratorate on February 15, was his lawyer finally allowed to talk to him on the phone at the detention center, without seeing him in person.

The prosecutor indicted both practitioners on March 15, 2022, and the Fengxian District Court, one of the courts in Shanghai designated to sentence Falun Gong practitioners, accepted their cases on June 10, 2022, and sentenced them to prison a year later.

Mr. He suffers from declining health since his arrest. His neck issue and partial paralysis, which resulted from torture during a previous detention, worsened. He has now completely lost the ability to walk and has become bedridden. He has trouble falling asleep at night and suffers from constant dizziness, headaches, and incontinence. Ms. Zhang also has an abnormal lump growing on her chest due to the abuse and mental pressure from her detention.

Mr. He Binggang
Ms. Zhang Yibo

When Mr. Gong Yubo, 45, returned home from working out of town on January 21, 2022, to spend the upcoming Chinese New Year holiday with his family, plainclothes police and village officials descended in a car with the license plate covered by a surgical mask and arrested him.

The Liaozhong District Procuratorate in Huludao City, Liaoning Province indicted Mr. Gong on December 6, 2022. The prosecutor accused him of publishing 208 articles on the PureInsight website (a site for Falun Gong practitioners to share their cultivation experiences) and 3 articles on the Minghui website, between 2002 and 2022, with various pen names including “Xiao Lian,” “Shi Fangxing,” “Lan Xin” and “Yu Bo.” He was charged with “undermining law enforcement with a cult organisation,” a standard pretext used to criminalise Falun Gong.

The Liaozhong District Court announced on May 18, 2023, that Mr. Gong had been sentenced to four years with a 20,000 yuan fine. With him being the sole breadwinner, his wife struggles to provide for their college-age daughter and one-year-old son. Her bedridden father, who lives with them, also relies on her for care.


Sentenced Despite Life-threatening Conditions

Like Ms. Zhang Yibo who had an abnormal lump growing on her chest, many other practitioners also developed serious symptoms due to the physical abuse and mental pressure while in custody. Even when their lives were in danger, the authorities still refused to release them but sentenced them to prison and didn’t allow their family members to visit them.

Ms. Yu Hongying, a 60-year-old resident of Xichang City, Sichuan Province, was arrested on July 15, 2022, for writing to the local police chiefs, urging them not to persecute Falun Gong. The police spent five months tracking her down. They deemed her letter “anti-CCP” propaganda, because “Falun Gong” was mentioned in it. She developed extremely high blood pressure in January 2023 and was taken to the hospital. When she was discharged, her blood pressure remained very high. She also suffered lacunar cerebral infarction and type II diabetes.

Despite Ms. Yu’s condition, she was made to stand trial on June 1, 2023. The judge denied her lawyer’s request to halt the hearing even when she looked very ill. She was sentenced to 3.5 years eleven days later.

Ms. Han Liping, a 73-year-old Chengde City, Hebei Province, resident, was arrested at home on July 22, 2022. The detention center never informed her family of her deteriorating health, nor did the court notify them of her trial or five-year prison sentence handed down on January 19, 2023.

Before Ms. Han was admitted to Hebei Province Women’s Prison on April 18, she had coughing fits and elevated blood pressure. She lost consciousness one night and was hospitalised for one week. One month after her prison admission, she was diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer, yet the authorities barred her family from visiting her and refused to grant her medical parole.

In the case of Ms. Zhu Yanhua, a Mudanjiang City, Heilongjiang Province, resident, although the judge gave her six months of house arrest due to her high blood pressure, after sentencing her to 4.5 years on April 25, 2023, he ordered her to be admitted to a local hospital against her will after just one month. He had instructed the bailiffs to transfer her to the prison as soon as her blood pressure returned to a normal level.


Repeatedly Persecuted for Their Faith

Ms. Yang Xiaoming, a 54-year-old Kunming City, Yunnan Province, resident, suffered from eye disease, constant fever, and rheumatoid arthritis when she was little. She stopped going to school after finishing elementary school. After taking up Falun Dafa in 1995, by reading the books and doing the exercises, she had her full eyesight back and could even read the small annotations in a dictionary.

Because of her holding onto her faith after the persecution started, she was forced to have an abortion, and her husband divorced her out of fear of the communist regime’s retaliation. She was given two forced labor camp terms between 2001 and 2008 for a total of 5 years. Her eyes were injured from the beatings, and she went completely blind in 2012.

Ms. Yang Xiaoming

Ms. Yang was arrested again on May 28, 2022. The police attempted to deceive her into opening the door by claiming to be from property management to check whether her pipes were leaking. When Ms. Yang refused to open the door, the police broke in and handcuffed her.

While forcing her to take a physical examination in the hospital, a doctor opened her shirt and pants to examine her. He glided a scanning device over her body up and down as the male police watched. She felt extremely humiliated.

Although Ms. Yang was denied admission due to her poor health and released on bail, the police still submitted her case to the procuratorate. She was taken to the court for a hearing on February 1, 2023. A judge went to her home on March 14, 2023, to deliver the verdict of a seven-year sentence with a 20,000 yuan fine.

Similar to Ms. Yang, many practitioners have endured non-stop persecution in the past 24 years, simply for upholding their faith. Some became disabled, some lost their jobs, and some served decades behind bars before being sentenced again.

After Mr. Gao Hong graduated from the China University of Petroleum with a major in automation in 1991, the Zibo City, Shandong Province, resident, landed a job at the Qilu Petrochemical Research Institute. In 1997, after witnessing the positive changes in his parents from practicing Falun Gong, he followed in their footsteps and became a practitioner, too. The practice gave him wisdom and he won several awards for technological innovation at work.

For upholding his faith and speaking up about the persecution, he was repeatedly arrested and given two years of forced labor on August 26, 2008, after being forced to live away from home for nearly a decade. He was fired by his workplace during his displacement.

In the Shandong Province No.2 Forced Labor Camp, Mr. Gao was deprived of sleep for seven days, beaten, and handcuffed behind his back. He protested by going on a hunger strike and refusing to do forced labor. In retaliation, the guards forced him to stand for three days and sit on a small stool from 5:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day for 81 days. He was merely skin and bones and released on medical parole on October 3, 2009.

Mr. Gao Hong was reduced to skin and bones from being tortured in the labor camp.

The police arrested Mr. Gao again on August 29, 2022, despite the fact that he was the sole caregiver of his 85-year-old mother. The Zichuan District Court sentenced the 55-year-old man to three years on December 5, 2022, leaving his mother, who struggled with high blood pressure and a severe heart condition, to fend for herself.

Having been incarcerated for a total of 15 years, including 2 years in a forced labor camp and 13 years in prison, Ms. Liu Mei, a Dongguan City, Liaoning Province, resident, was arrested again on November 7, 2021, while on her way back from shopping. By promising to release her in two hours if she cooperated, the police deceived her into signing certain documents and admitting that the five informational cards about Falun Gong confiscated from another practitioner were hers.

Ms. Liu appeared in court on December 13, 2022. She demanded the prosecutor examine the interrogation video at the police station, yet the prosecutor claimed that the police station had a power outage that day and nothing was recorded. The judge sentenced her to two years with a 3,000-yuan fine on December 29, 2022.

Another practitioner, Mr. Wu Haibo, a 58-year-old Zhanjiang City, Guangdong Province, resident, was arrested on March 5, 2022, and sentenced to five years in prison on March 24, 2023. Prior to his latest sentencing, Mr. Wu, a former pharmaceutical company technician, served one labor camp term and two prison terms for a total of 11 years.

Mr. Wu Haibo


Families’ Plight

Having lost his father to the persecution of Falun Gong, Steven Wang, a principal dancer with Shen Yun, was dealt a heavy blow when his mother was recently given a third prison sentence, also for practicing Falun Gong.

This is the eleventh time that Ms. Liu Aihua, a 69-year-old Shaoyang City, Hunan Province resident, has been arrested for her faith.

Ms. Liu’s latest arrest on July 7, 2022, came only two years after she finished serving a previous three-year term. The Liuyang City Court, which has been designated to handle all Falun Gong cases in the region, sentenced her to four years on March 10, 2023.

When Steven got married in 2017, he invited his mother to the U.S. to attend his wedding, only to be told that she was arrested before she could leave China. That arrest led to a three-year prison sentence.

Due to previous incarceration and torture, Ms. Liu is suffering many ailments including high blood pressure and diabetes. Steven and Lydia said they are very worried about their mother. They are calling on the international community to rescue her. Now a father himself, Steven looks forward to the day when he can reunite with his mother and have a place he can call a complete home.

Similar to Steven and Lydia, Ms. Jin Xin, a 39-year-old woman in Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province, suffered a similar tragedy. Her father, Mr. Jin Chengshan, a former police officer, was persecuted to death a few years ago, and her mother, Ms. Jiao Xiaohua, 61, was sentenced to two years on July 12, 2022, for spreading information about Falun Gong.

To seek justice for her mother, Ms. Jin wrote a letter to the police officer in charge of her case. The officer, a former colleague of Mr. Jin, used the letter against Ms. Jiao, resulting in the judge adding two more years to her term. Devastated by her mother’s extended prison term, Ms. Jin passed away shortly after. She was survived by her husband and a six-year-old son.

When a group of plainclothes officers in Tangshan City, Hebei Province, broke into local resident Ms. Sun Baifeng’s home on May 12, 2021, to arrest her, her husband, who just recovered from severe diabetes and complications, was terrified. As Ms. Sun was held in custody and unable to care for him, his condition quickly deteriorated. He was rushed to the hospital and stayed in the intensive care unit several times in the next few months. He passed away when he was at home by himself on February 1, 2022 (the eve of the 2022 Chinese New Year).

Arrested on the same day with Ms. Sun was another married couple, Mr. Zhang Wei and Ms. Guo Yanju, owners of the Zhuoyu Camera Store in Tangshan City where Ms. Sun worked. Ms. Guo was seized at her aunt’s home while visiting her. The elderly ailing woman was so terrified that she passed away a few days later. The passing of his sister and the arrest of his daughter dealt Ms. Guo’s father a heavy blow. He soon lost his vision and struggled to care for himself. His then-ten-year-old granddaughter was also left in a dire situation when both of her parents were detained.

Although Mr. Zhang was later released, both Ms. Sun and Ms. Guo remained in custody and were each sentenced to two years and three months following a hearing on February 9, 2023.

After Ms. Sun Jing’s husband, Mr. Hu Guojian, died on May 15, 2018, after having remained in a coma for nearly two years due to torture in prison for practicing Falun Gong, she felt her entire world was collapsing. With her son still in college, the Fushun City, Liaoning Province, resident struggled to keep working to support his education. When her son finally graduated and found a job to support himself, she began to suffer severe physical and mental problems.

For three months in 2020, Ms. Sun, 53, couldn’t fall asleep and her mental state was extremely unstable. Her son had to quit his job and took her to various hospitals to seek treatment. One doctor told him that her sleep problem could be permanent.

Ms. Sun’s son recalled, “My mother was telling me every day she didn’t want to live anymore. She asked me to knock her out, so she could sleep for a while. I am her only child. But I couldn’t manage to care for her while still doing a full-time job. It was a really difficult time for both of us.”

With no hope left, Ms. Sun decided to practice Falun Gong in 2020. Not long after, she was able to enjoy normal sleep and her son also began to work again.

In her spare time, she worked with other local practitioners in distributing information to expose the persecution. For putting up posters that said “Falun Dafa is good, Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good,” Ms. Sun was arrested on May 29, 2022. Her son frequented the local police station to seek her release, only to be given the run-around. The Shuncheng District Court held a hearing of her cases on November 25, 2022, and sentenced her to 1.5 years on March 21, 2023.

Chinese version available