Confirmed Between January and March 2022: 44 Falun Gong Practitioners Lost Their Lives to the Persecution
During the first three months of 2022, an additional 44 Falun Gong practitioners were confirmed to have lost their lives to the persecution of their faith. Among these cases, one took place in 2008, two in 2019, twenty in 2021, and ten, eight and three in January, February and March 2022, respectively.
The 44 deceased practitioners, of which 28 are women, came from 16 provinces in China. Liaoning had the most deaths with 11 cases, followed by 6 in Hubei, 4 in Heilongjiang, and 4 Sichuan. The remaining 12 regions had 1 to 3 deaths each.
43 practitioners were between 44 to 89 years old, with 74% above 60 years old. The age of the 44th practitioner is unknown.
Of the total 44, eleven practitioners died while still in custody. Among them, one died in a mental hospital, one died in a police station, three passed away in detention centers and six died from torture in prison.
Below are snapshots of some of the death cases. The complete list of practitioners can be downloaded here (PDF).
Ms. Zhang Siqin, a 69-year-old woman in Dalian City, Liaoning Province, died at the Yaojia Detention Center on January 26, 2022, eight days after she was arrested for practicing Falun Gong.
Ms. Zhang was taken into custody on January 19, 2022, to serve a two-year term at Yaojia Detention Center. She had anxiety attacks and nausea, so the doctor advised against her detention, but the police insisted that she was fine and took her away.
On the first evening at the detention center, Ms. Zhang was unable to walk on her own or fall asleep. The guards refused to provide her with any food. The next morning, she was so weak that she wasn’t able to dress herself and had to rely on her cellmate’s help.
For the next few days, Ms. Zhang was unable to keep any food down and vomited everything she ate. The only food the guards provided was congee and steamed buns. She remained too weak to stand on her own.
When Ms. Zhang was first admitted to the detention center, the guards took away her dentures, which made it even more difficult for her to eat. She asked several times to have them back, but the guards refused to return them.
Despite her medical issues, the guards didn’t take Ms. Zhang to see a doctor and continued to give her unknown drugs, which caused her condition to further deteriorate.
On January 25, the sixth day of her detention, Ms. Zhang began to shake uncontrollably and was unable to sit up on her own. Her roommate reported it to the guards, who insisted on giving her an unknown drug, again with no medical assessment. When Ms. Zhang was unable to take the drug, the guards ordered five inmates to hold her and force-feed her the drug. She became incapacitated and lost the strength to sit up afterwards.
In the middle of the night on January 26, Ms. Zhang again began to shake uncontrollably, yet the guards still ignored her. The next morning they took her out in a wheelchair but brought her back just ten minutes later. The guards continued to forcibly administer the unknown drug.
The following night Ms. Zhang began to run a fever around midnight. Within a few hours she was in critical condition. The guards still refused to take her to a hospital and ordered the other inmates in her room to keep monitoring her.
By morning, Ms. Zhang was unable to sit up even with her roommate’s help. Inmates reported her situation to guards at 7:07 a.m. By the time a doctor arrived at 7:30 a.m., Ms. Zhang had stopped breathing and had no pulse. The doctor tried to resuscitate her, but she didn’t respond. Ms. Zhang was pronounced dead at 7:35 a.m. and removed from the cell.
Mr. Shi Jianwei died at Yunnan Province No. 1 Prison while serving a 6.5-year term for his faith in Falun Gong. While the prison claimed that Mr. Shi died of liver cancer, his family suspects that he was tortured to death, given the bruises on his back and the normal level of tumor marker protein. His body has been cremated against his family’s will.
Mr. Shi, a former English teacher in Binchuan County, Yunnan Province, was arrested at home on September 7, 2015 for filing a criminal complaint against Jiang Zemin, the former leader of the Chinese communist regime who ordered the persecution of Falun Gong. He was tried by the Xiangyun County Court on June 23, 2016 and sentenced to 6.5 years at the Yunnan Province No.1 Prison.
Beginning in 2019, the prison denied Mr. Shi any family visitation. Two years later, on August 25, 2021, his family received a call from the prison that Mr. Shi was suspected of having liver cancer and had been taken to the prison hospital.
The guards said Mr. Shi had lost more than 20 pounds in recent months and was in critical condition, yet they still refused to release him on medical parole, allow his family to visit him, or to review his medical record, citing the pandemic and Mr. Shi’s refusal to renounce Falun Gong.
A month later, on September 26, a prison guard called Mr. Shi’s family saying that he was on the verge of death and was being resuscitated. His family asked to visit him, but they were refused again, citing the pandemic.
Three hours later, the same guard informed the family that Mr. Shi had passed away and demanded they come to the prison to sign his cremation paperwork.
When the family saw Mr. Shi’s body at the funeral home, they noticed that he had bruises on his back and fluid accumulation in his abdomen. Suspecting he was tortured, the family refused to sign the cremation agreement and demanded to see his medical record.
A week later, the prison provided three of Mr. Shi’s blood test results. In all three tests, the levels of alpha-fetoprotein, an important indicator of liver cancer, were normal.
Mr. Shi’s family requested an autopsy, but the prison guards replied that they would have to prepay 100,000 yuan (~$15,000 USD) to cover the cost. They also threatened the family that if they didn’t agree with their assessment of the cause of death, they could file a complaint against the prison with the procuratorate, but it wouldn’t change the result whatsoever.
Mr. Shi’s family demanded to take his medical record and blood test results with them, but the guards refused to release the documents, claiming that the family could only take a look at them. Shortly after, the guards cremated Mr. Shi’s body against his family’s will.
Less than one year after Ms. Guan Fengxia passed away due to years of harassment for practicing Falun Gong, her husband, Mr. Dai Zhidong, also died, one month following his last arrest for their shared faith.
Mr. Dai, a former submersible pump company employee under the Daqing Petroleum Administration in Heilongjiang Province, was arrested on January 8, 2022, after he and another practitioner were reported for giving out a pamphlet with information about Falun Gong at a gas station. The police ransacked his home and charged him a 10,000 yuan bond (~$1,500 USD), before releasing him on bail.
Mr. Dai was under tremendous pressure with the newest round of financial persecution, as he was still struggling to pay off Ms. Guan’s medical bills. With the police confiscating his only 5,000 yuan (~$800 USD) in cash savings, and his son paying the 10,000 yuan bond for him, he worried when he would be able to pay off all the debts. Meanwhile, the police threatened Mr. Dai not to report the persecution to the Minghui.org website. The mental pressure took a toll on his health and he passed away on February 11, 2022. He was 60 years old.
Since the onset of the persecution, Mr. Dai and Ms. Guan were repeatedly arrested for speaking up for Falun Gong. Ms. Guan was given two years of forced labor and Mr. Dai was sentenced to seven years. Both of them were subjected to beatings, sleep deprivation and other torture for not renouncing their faith.
Even after they were released, the authorities kept harassing the couple, leaving them under tremendous mental distress. The ongoing persecution took a toll on Ms. Guan’s health. She developed uterine fibroids and had irregular bleeding. She was unable to eat and became emaciated. Ms. Guan passed away on March 5, 2021, at just 60 years old.