In a tragic milestone, last month, the total number of Falun Gong believers documented to have died due to persecution surpassed 5,000. The first practitioner killed was 17-year-old Ms. Chen Ying, a model student in Heilongjiang, documented in August 1999. Nearly 24 years later, retired professor An Fuzi died in Jilin Province Women’s Prison on May 22, 2023, following two years of detention. The death of Mrs. An, an ethnic Korean living in China, marks one of the most recently documented cases that brought the total over 5,000. The actual number of deaths from persecution since 1999—including due to organ harvesting—is believed to be much larger. Furthermore, in January and June 2023, there were 3,133 documented cases of arrests and harassment, a 15.7 percent jump from the same period in 2022. Killed by the CCP for 24 Years In 2023, a network of citizen journalists in China verified the deaths of at least 115 Falun Gong practitioners as a result of the persecution, an average of 19 deaths per month. As of July 13, 2023, the total known death count of Falun Gong practitioners killed by the CCP since July 1999 has reached 5,009. Untold numbers of practitioners have been killed—the most extreme atrocity committed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)—via physical assault, financial extortion and blackmail, social isolation, and torture in custody for upholding their faith. But due to strict information censorship in China, deaths cannot be reported in a timely manner, nor is all the information readily available. The ongoing CCP persecution of Falun Gong practitioners is a crime against humanity. Over 5,000 deaths have been independently documented and verified, including the deaths of young radio host Pang Xun, 17-year-old Chen Ying, professor An Fuzi, and more. Pictured: Pang Xun after two years of torture at his deathbed (L); Pang Xun in 2020 before the CCP arrested him for practicing Falun Gong (R). Mr. Pang Xun, a 30-year-old radio host at Sichuan People’s Radio, was beaten to death in prison on December 2, 2022. His death went unreported until his college friend posted it on Twitter in February 2023 and it went viral, garnering over half a million views. In 1999, Ms. Chen Ying was arrested on July 22, 1999, after appealing for the right to practice her faith at the State Council Appeal Office. In less than one month, Chen Ying was hospitalized at Fengrun District Hospital on August 16, 2023, where a political commissar from the police department removed her oxygen after three hours, and cremated her that same evening. 24 years later, the persecution has not ceased, and Mrs. An Fuzi was one of the CCP’s most recent murders. An was sentenced twice for the same “crime”: studying Falun Gong books at a private home in March 2016 with others. The 82-year-old died in custody on May 22, 2023, and her body was cremated without her family members present. Pang, Chen, and An’s lives were forcibly cut short, and the 117,104 documented CCP perpetrators involved in the persecution of Falun Gong must be held responsible. Arrests and Harassment Reported in the First Half of 2023 Between January and June 2023, 3,133 harassment and arrest cases of Falun Gong practitioners was documented (including 1,381 harassment incidents and 1,752 arrests). This represents a 15.7 percent increase compared to the 2,707 cases verified during the same period last year. Among the total reports collected by the Minghui website, 2,836 incidents occurred in 2023 and the remaining 297 took placed in 2022 and 2021. Shandong (510), Jilin (484) and Sichuan (270) reported the most combined cases, indicating a higher concentration and priority of authorities in those regions. A total of 1,041 practitioners had their homes ransacked. In particular, two practitioners had 80,000 yuan and 100,000 yuan in cash, respectively, taken from them during their arrests in March 2023. Reports indicated that 535 practitioners, including 331 arrested and 204 harassed, were senior citizens over 60 years old. Eleven practitioners targeted by authorities were in their 90s. In Wuhan City, Hubei Province, a 64-year-old woman died six days after she was arrested. The police strictly censored information about her death and also closely monitored her wake at home. Another practitioner’s wife, who had been bedridden for six years, was so terrified to see the police ransack her home that she died ten days later. The family of an 83-year-old wheelchair-bound woman reported that the police pried open their door and took their loved one away in an ambulance, without telling them where they were taking her to. Both March and May saw intensified persecution cases, likely due to the regime’s annual political meetings in March and the annual “World Falun Dafa Day” on May 13 (the anniversary when Falun Gong was introduced to the public). During the “sensitive days” such as major political meetings or anniversaries related to Falun Gong, the authorities often ordered local police and the residential committee to harass practitioners on a large scale to prevent them from going public to expose the persecution. Following most arrests, the police also forced the practitioners to go through suspicious physical examinations and submit to blood draws against their will. On a few occasions, the police altered the practitioners’ exam results in order to get them admitted to detention centers. The 3,133 targeted practitioners came from all walks of life, including 37 college professors and 34 professionals in other industries, such as doctors, judges, engineers, journalists, and accountants. Harassment Leading Up to "Two Sessions" Both of China’s legislative bodies, the National People’s Congress (NPC) and its top political advisory body, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), hold their annual meetings (known as “two sessions”) around the same time every year (though separately). This year’s CPPCC meeting began on March 4, and the NPC meeting started the following day. Falun Gong practitioners across China were harassed prior to the “two sessions.” Beginning in late February, reports indicate that police in Luzhou City, Sichuan Province ordered local Falun Gong practitioners to stay at home and stop sharing information about Falun Gong during the “two sessions.” In Hefei City, Anhui Province, at least two practitioners had their homes ransacked on February 24, 2023 as an intimidation tactic prior to the NPC meeting. In Daqing City, Heilongjiang Province, the police harassed local practitioners by coming to their homes in person or calling them prior to the event. On March 2, 2023, five police officers trespassed into the home of an 84-year-old practitioner in Jiujiang City, Jiangxi Province, and took photos of his belongings. Other harassment cases surrounding the Two Sessions were also reported in Rizhao City, Shandong Province; Wuhan City, Hubei Province; Changchun City, Jilin Province. Harassed During April 25 Appeal Anniversary Mr. Qin Wei, an artist in Beijing, was harassed at home three times in April before the anniversary of “April 25 Appeal.” The police took his photos and sometimes called him late at night. Another Beijing resident, Mr. He Xingguo, was monitored by the authorities around the clock during both the “two sessions” in March and three days between April 24 and 26. In Shanghai, a plainclothes officer approached local resident Ms. Pei Shanzhen and demanded to confirm her identity when she went to pay respects to her ancestors during the Tomb Sweeping Festival on April 9, 2023. The residential committee staff members knocked on her door several times on April 22. They said that they were going to monitor her daily life for the next four days, until the April 25 appeal anniversary passed. Other harassment cases around the “April 25 Appeal” anniversary were also reported in Fuyang City, Anhui Province, and Dezhou City, Shandong Province. Featured Case: Australian Senator and Residents Call for Engineer's Release Ms. Liu Chunxia, a former engineer in Xi’an City, Shaanxi Province, was seized at work on May 6, 2023, thirteen days before the inaugural China-Central Asia Summit was to be held in Xi’an. Communist Party leader Xi Jinping was scheduled to attend. According to the arresting officers, the local authorities were carrying out an operation dubbed “net-tightening” ahead of the summit. Usually before such major events or political meetings, the authorities in the host city often ramp up the arrests and harassment of Falun Gong practitioners to prevent them from raising awareness of the persecution and “causing trouble” for the regime. After the local detention center refused to keep Ms. Liu due to her extremely high blood pressure, the police moved her to Ankang Hospital, where mentally healthy practitioners are subjected to the involuntary administration of psychiatric drugs. Hon. Simon Birmingham, Australian senator and Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Following Ms. Liu’s arrest, her nephew, who currently lives in Australia, contacted his senator to seek help. Senator Simon Birmingham of Australia, the Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, wrote back expressing his concern for Ms. Liu’s safety and well-being on June 30, 2023. Based on an original Minghui.org report.