75-Year-Old Dies in Custody in Heilongjiang Women’s Prison

Ms. Mou Yongxia was 75 years old when she died on July 13, 2023, at the hands of Chinese prison guards and inmates at Heilongjiang Province Women’s Prison who abused and tortured her because she refused to renounce her faith in the spiritual practice Falun Gong.

For over two decades, Falun Gong practitioners have suffered large-scale imprisonment and abuse in custody for their faith or sharing information to combat the persecution of their spiritual practice. Over 5,000 deaths have been documented resulting from abuse in custody, health complications due to mistreatment, or denial of medical care.

In the case of Ms. Mou Yongxia, abuse from guards and prisoners lead to the mental and physical decline that ultimately resulted in her death. According to inmates formerly detained with Ms. Mou, she spent the last few months of her life disoriented and tormented by constant harassment and beatings.

Inmates Instigated to Abuse Falun Gong Practitioners

Heilongjiang Province has long been one of the provinces where the persecution of Falun Gong is most severe. Likewise, prisons under the jurisdiction of the Heilongjiang Prison Administration Bureau, including Heilongjiang Province Women’s Prison where Ms. Mou died, are among the cruelest in their abuse of Falun Gong practitioners.

In addition to the abuse inflicted on Falun Gong practitioners by prison guards themselves, guards in these prisons regularly instigate inmates to participate in the torture and harassment of Falun Gong detainees by rewarding inmates for doing so or punishing all inmates when Falun Gong practitioners refuse to renounce their faith.

According to a report by a Minghui correspondent in Heilongjiang, “When it was about time for everyone to brush their teeth, guards would deny all inmates from doing so, with the excuse that the Falun Gong practitioner in the cell did not renounce her faith. This way, guards stirred up hatred towards practitioners. One practitioner, Wu Xi, was beaten every day for more than two months. Inmates also scratched her face, neck, and hands with their fingernails.”

Several inmates were assigned to monitor Ms. Mou during her sentence. Pang Shoumei, Wang Xin, and Zhao Chao were among several who participated in harassing Ms. Mou and regularly beat the 75-year-old woman.

Two CCP officials, Tan Zunhua and Yi Jianming, who each served as the director of the Heilongjiang Prison Administration Bureau, were among 17 CCP officials listed by Minghui for international governments to sanction in 2023.

Location Withheld from Family

Since her detainment in September 2019, Heilongjiang authorities refused to inform Ms. Mou’s family of the location of her detention until April 2023. Even after her family was informed of her detention at Heilongjiang Women’s Prison, they were prevented from visiting her until she was in hospitalized in June 2023. At that point, she was already unable to recognize people. When her son asked her questions, she could only shake her head feebly. Ms. Mou died on July 13, 2023, at the age of 75.

Reports suggest that the abuse of some individuals in Heilongjiang Women’s Prison was reduced after their family members filed complaints. Though such legal actions pose certain risks themselves, such complaints could possibly prevent further deaths like Ms. Mou’s.