(Minghui.org) Bitter Winter, an Italy-based magazine for human rights and religious liberty, published an article on January 17, 2024, highlighting the persecution cases of Falun Gong practitioners reported by Minghui.org in 2023.

Titled “Falun Gong Report on 2023: 1,188 Practitioners Sentenced, 209 Killed,” the article highlights the annual persecution reports by Minghui.org, and confirms the credibility of Minghui’s numbers.

“As for the number of practitioners killed, obviously these cannot be confirmed from Chinese governmental sources. However, ‘Bitter Winter’ has reported itself several cases of extra-judicial killings of Falun Gong practitioners, based on accounts by relatives and friends, and what can be said with certitude is that China continues to persecute dissidents to death in various ways.” the Bitter Winter report said.

Bitter Winter summarised that in 2023, a total of 209 death cases of Falun Gong practitioners were reported, including 88 that occurred before 2023, but weren’t known until 2023. The 209 practitioners included 130 female, 77 male, and 2 people whose genders were not known. Among the 175 practitioners whose ages at the time of their passing were known, the youngest was 23 and oldest was 93; 134 were 60 or older.

The Bitter Winter report also noted that Liaoning Province registered the most death cases in 2023. The numbers included practitioners who died in custody, as well as those who passed away at home, after having suffered relentless torture or were denied medical treatment while in detention. The tortures included wearing a straitjacket, being shocked with electric batons, sprinkled with chili peppers, having their feet burned, being force-fed with mustard oil, or being deprived of food and sleep. Some female practitioners were sexually assaulted.

A selection of Falun Gong practitioners whose deaths were reported in 2023

In addition to death cases, the sentencing of 1,188 practitioners was also reported in 2023, including convictions handed down in previous years but not known about until 2023. The average jail time was three years, but 161 practitioners received five years or longer. The youngest practitioner sentenced was 22 and the oldest was 89. Shandong had the most sentencing cases in 2023.

Also reported by Minghui.org in 2023 were the arrests and harassment of 6,514 practitioners. They had their homes ransacked, were forced to attend brainwashing sessions, lost their jobs, and were subjected to other discriminatory measures.

“These figures confirm what is often lamented by CCP bureaucrats, i.e., that notwithstanding periodical proclaims of ‘victory’ in the campaigns aimed at eradicating Falun Gong, the movement remains active in all Chinese provinces. As ‘Bitter Winter’ reported, Falun Gong gained new members during the COVID-19 epidemic by proposing the ‘Nine True Words Meditation’ as a way of boosting the immune system and obtaining some protection from the virus.” concluded the Bitter Winter report.