15 Falun Gong Deaths Due to Persecution Reported in January 2023
Fifteen deaths of Falun Gong practitioners were reported in January 2023, bringing the total confirmed deaths as of January 31, 2023, to 4,905 since the start of the persecution in July 1999.
Ten of the newly reported deaths happened between July and December 2022, while the remaining cases occurred in January 2023. Due to strict information censorship, persecution cases can’t always be reported in a timely manner, nor is the information readily available.
The 15 practitioners, including six women, were from ten provinces and municipalities. Hebei recorded three cases, followed by Heilongjiang, Jilin, and Shandong with two each. Liaoning, Anhui, Hubei, Hunan, Beijing, and Shanghai each had one death case.
Except for one practitioner whose age wasn’t known, the deceased practitioners were between 31 and 81 years old. Four died in custody, including a 31-year-old man serving an 8.5-year term. A woman in Hubei died six days after she was released from six-month brainwashing center detention and a man in Anhui Province passed away due to toxic injection, ten months after he was released.
Among the deceased was a 51-year-old mother, who was shocked to find herself pregnant after a five-month-long hunger strike following her arrest in 2017. She succumbed to the mental and physical distress and passed away in July 2022, five months before her daughter’s fifth birthday.
Below are the details from a few of the cases. The list of the practitioners can be downloaded here:(PDF).
31-year-old Man Dies on Second Day of Chinese New Year
Mr. Jiang Yong’s parents were informed of his death on January 23, 2023, the second day of the Chinese New Year. He was 31.
Mr. Jiang, a Changchun City, Jilin Province resident, was arrested on June 28, 2021 and sentenced to 8.5 years in Gongzhuling Prison for the trumped-up charge of “subverting state power.” Despite his being in critical condition from staging a prolonged hunger strike to protest the persecution, the authorities refused to release him on medical parole, citing that he refused to renounce his faith.
The Jilin Provincial Tuberculosis Hospital issued a critical condition notice for him on October 11, 2022. He was later transferred to the Changchun City Police Hospital, where he eventually passed away.
Mr. Jiang’s family frequently went to the Jilin Province Prison Administration Bureau and the prison to demand his release on medical parole, only to be ignored.
Husband Dies Two Months Before Prison Release
Mr. Lai Zhiqiang’s wife waited seven years, eager to reunite with him, only to learn on January 3, 2023, that he had died two months before his scheduled release while serving a wrongful term for his faith in Falun Gong.
Mr. Lai’s wife rushed to Jidong No. 2 Prison in Hebei Province after learning of his death, only to be told that she had to pay 1,000 yuan to see his body. While it’s not clear whether or not she paid the 1,000 yuan, she wasn’t allowed to see his body until the next day.
According to Mr. Lai’s wife, his body was curled up and his face had been injured. Five guards held her back from getting close to or touching him. They refused to return his body to the family and deceived his daughter into signing a consent form to have his body cremated.
After Losing His Wife Due to the Stress of the Persecution, Liaoning Man Dies While Serving a Seven-year Term
Mr. Di Yongchi’s daughter got a call from the Shenyang No. 1 Prison in Liaoning Province on December 17, 2022, telling her that her father had died after the hospital failed to resuscitate him.
Mr. Di, a 69-year-old retired power plant engineer in Huludao City, Liaoning Province, was serving a seven-year term for practicing Falun Gong. His death came only a year and a half before his term ended.
Mr. Di’s daughter saw his body in the hospital mortuary. She has hired a lawyer to seek justice for her father. Due to the Chinese regime’s strict information censorship, it’s not clear if Mr. Di was subjected to any torture that could have caused his death, as he was in previous detentions for his faith.
Hubei Woman Dies Days After Being Released from Brainwashing Center
Ms. Zong Ming, a resident of Wuhan City, Hubei Province, was emaciated and had difficulty talking when she was released after eight months of brainwashing center detention for her faith in Falun Gong. She passed away on January 1, 2023, six days after she was taken back home by her family.
Ms. Zong was arrested on April 18, 2022, and taken to the Etouwan Brainwashing Center the next day. When the brainwashing center staff members ordered her family to pick her up on December 26, 2022, she was already on the verge of death. She was merely skin and bones. Her hair had turned gray, and she had difficulty talking. Her family took her to the hospital on the first day of 2023, but the doctor refused to treat her. She died in the hospital hours later.
Since the Chinese communist regime started to persecute Falun Gong in 1999, the 610 Office, an extralegal agency created specifically to oversee the persecution, has set up brainwashing centers across the country to target Falun Gong practitioners. Under the guise of a “Legal Education Center” or “Care Center,” the brainwashing centers function as black jails, where Falun Gong practitioners could be held without term limits and are subjected to all kinds of physical torture, mental manipulation, and involuntary drug administration.
In Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei, the authorities have set up ten new brainwashing centers since 2021 as a part of the “Zero-out” campaign, which targets all practitioners on the government’s blacklist in order to force them to renounce Falun Gong.
Shanghai Woman Dies While Serving Four Years
A resident of Shanghai died in a detention center on December 24, 2022, while serving a four-year term for her faith in Falun Gong. Ms. Jiang Linying was nearly 70.
Ms. Jiang’s husband received a call from the Baoshan District Detention Center on the afternoon of December 24 and was told that she was in critical condition and had been taken to the hospital. When he asked what condition she had and which hospital she was taken to, the caller said the information was confidential and denied his request to visit her.
Later that night, the same guard called from the same cellphone number and told the family that Ms. Jiang had passed away. It’s not clear whether the family had been allowed to see her after her passing.
During her previous incarcerations for her faith, Ms. Jiang was subjected to torture, including being injected with drugs, brutally beaten, forced to stand for prolonged periods of time, forced to sit on a small stool in one position for extended periods, denied restroom use, deprived of food, or forced to overeat.
Based on an original article by Minghui.org