2021: 132 Verified Deaths from Persecution of Falun Gong
In 2021, it was verified 132 Falun Gong practitioners died as a result of the persecution of their faith.
The newly recorded deaths include 101 cases in 2021, as well as additional 24 in 2020, 2 in 2019, 3 in 2018, and 2 in 2017.
As of January 6, 2022, a total of 4,726 deaths have been documented by the Minghui.org website. Due to the strict censorship of information in China, the actual number is likely much higher.
The 101 deaths that occurred in 2021 took place throughout the year, with more than half the incidents in the first half of the year.
Among the 112 practitioners whose ages were known, they were between 39 and 85. The youngest practitioner was Mr. Pu Zheng, who was tortured to death at Yunnan Province First Prison in 2017. The oldest practitioners were Ms. Li Jingxia and Ms. Ren Canru, both retired teachers, who passed away after being harassed by the authorities.
For some elderly practitioners, prior to their own tragic deaths, they had endured the pain of losing their children to the persecution. Ms. Ren Canru’s son, Mr. Yuan Jiang, died 20 years ago of torture. Mr. Tan Fengming, an 82-year-old father, never saw his son again after 2004 when he went out to distribute informational materials about Falun Gong. With Mr. Tan now deceased and their daughter still serving a four-year term for practicing Falun Gong, Mr. Tan’s 77-year-old wife struggles to cope with the sorrow and to care for herself.
Twenty-five practitioners died while in custody, including 13 who died in prison and 10 in detention centers. A 45-year-old woman died in a police station and a man died in a hospital, both just one day following their arrests. As for the several practitioners who died in prison, the authorities didn’t allow their families to see their bodies and forced them to have the bodies cremated. Those families who were allowed to see their bodies often reported that their loved ones had been severely injured.
Many of those who died had endured decades of imprisonment and torture before passing away. In other cases, the mental distress of ongoing harassment turned out to be deadly for the practitioners.
Below are select cases.
When Mr. Li Xiyong’s family went to the prison to pick him up on April 9, 2021, they were devastated to learn that the 80-year-old man, who just finished serving three years, had been taken away by the police. He was sentenced to another four years four months later and developed diabetes and fluid accumulation in his chest.
Liu developed another serious medical condition on December 9. He was in a wheelchair that was placed inside a metal cage in the back of the van while he was taken to the hospital. His family was surprised to see that Liu’s face, hands, and feet were all swollen. He appeared to be incapacitated and was unable to talk clearly. When his granddaughter tried to adjust his face mask, the guards intimidated her and didn’t allow the family to get close.
The guards demanded that Liu’s family pay all his medical expenses. They claimed he was in poor health prior to being arrested and said they bore no responsibility for his condition. His family’s repeated requests for medical parole were also denied.
Liu passed away in the hospital on December 29. The prison staff did not allow his son to take his body. They took it to a funeral home themselves, fearing that his family would file a complaint against them. The police guarded his body until it was cremated on January 1.
While Mr. Yao Xinren was still in a coma after suffering a stroke, the authorities took him off life support and transferred him from the hospital intensive care unit to a senior center without the proper medical equipment to care for him. The 51-year-old man passed away a week later, leaving behind his wife and a child.
Mr. Yao of Longkou City, Shandong Province, suffered a stroke at around 9:00 p.m. on April 22, 2020, nearly ten months after his arrest on July 3, 2019. A craniotomy was done on him early on the morning of April 23 at the Longkou City People’s Hospital. The doctor also gave him a tracheotomy two days later and put him on a ventilator.
When Mr. Yao’s wife went to the hospital to inquire about him, the police refused to let the doctor or nurse give her any information about him. They also refused to show surveillance footage of Mr. Yao regarding what had happened to him at the detention center.
Even though Mr. Yao remained in a coma after the operation, the police stayed outside of the intensive care unit to monitor him for the next nine months and prevented people from getting close to him.
On February 4, 2021, the police and hospital staff removed Mr. Yao from the intensive care unit and took him to the Dongjiang Senior Center, which didn’t have the equipment required to care for him properly. He died at around 1:40 a.m. on February 11.
Deaths Under Suspicious Circumstances
Mr. Gong Piqi’s family received a call from a prison guard on the evening of April 12, 2021, and was told that the 66-year-old retired colonel in Qingdao City, Shandong Province, had just been taken to the hospital for resuscitation. Moments later, the guard called again and said Mr. Gong had died of a stroke.
When Gong’s family went to the hospital the next morning, the doctor and prison authorities refused to let them see his body. When the family protested, Gong’s older brother and nephew were finally allowed to see him but not to take photos or videos.
Gong’s head was injured and swollen and there was blood in his ears, according to his brother.
Gong was seized during a group arrest in October 2017. He was later sentenced to 7.5 years with a 20,000-yuan fine on July 20, 2018. Since 2020, citing the pandemic as an excuse, Shandong Province Prison authorities cut off all of Gong’s contact with his family.
It was later learned that since the second half of 2020, the guards had been forcing the inmates to work from 5 a.m. to 7 or 9 p.m. with almost no breaks. Gong was suffering from high blood pressure and constantly felt dizzy. He received no medical attention, even on the evening before his death, according to a surveillance video later provided to Gong’s family.
After enduring multiple arrests, intense forced labor, imprisonment, and torture for her faith in Falun Gong, Ms. Li Guiyue, a Yilan County, Heilongjiang Province resident, passed away on August 6, 2021. She was 52.
Li went to Beijing twice in 2000 to petition for her right to freedom of belief. She was arrested, beaten, and given one year of forced labor.
While serving time in the notorious Wanjia Forced Labor Camp, Li was subjected to intense brainwashing, forced labor, solitary confinement, and beatings. She was also made to perform intense labor making toothpicks and various products for export.
Female Falun Gong practitioners at Wanjia Forced Labor Camp who refused to renounce their belief were also sent to male wards and beaten by male criminal inmates. Li also recalled one incident where the guards attempted to send her to a male ward by herself, which could have subjected her to gang rape, a torture which a number of female Falun Gong practitioners have been subject to.
Li was targeted by the local authorities for talking about Falun Gong from 2010 to 2015. She was arrested, detained, and her home was ransacked. She had to leave her hometown to avoid further persecution.
After witnessing the police ransacking his home in March 2012, Li’s elderly father experienced shortness of breath and was rushed to a hospital the next day. He passed away while Li was away from home.
In May 2015, Li was again arrested for passing out Falun Gong informational fliers and sentenced to five years in prison. At the Heilongjiang Women’s Prison, she was routinely beaten, made to sit on a small stool for long periods of time, insulted, and verbally abused on a daily basis.
Li was emaciated and almost unrecognizable when she was released on May 16, 2020. She suffered from body pain, muscle weakness, drowsiness, and loss of appetite.
For a year after she was released from the prison, she sometimes suddenly woke up in the middle of the night, trembling in fear while mumbling to herself.
Sometimes she refused to eat with her family, instead carrying her bowl to the side, squatting on the ground, and quietly eating with her head lowered. She often said to herself, “They have been beating me every day! They beat me every day!” Scared and nervous, she also looked around constantly. Her family suspects that she was given unknown drugs while in the prison, causing irreparable damage to her physical and mental health.
Li passed away a year later, on August 6, 2021.
Based on an original report from Minghui.org: