Elderly Falun Gong Practitioner Jailed for Handing Out Fliers Dies in Chinese Prison Camp

NEW YORK – A 60-year-old woman died on March 18 in a northeast China prison camp where authorities had sent her after finding her distributing information about the persecution against Falun Gong. This was the fourth time Ms. Shi Yingchun (???) had been wrongfully incarcerated, suffering repeated torture sessions of beatings, electric baton shocks, forced-feedings and sleep deprivation.

“Despite the horrific torture she had already suffered for her faith in Falun Gong, she went out and tried to inform the public of the atrocities being committed against her and her fellow citizens,” says Falun Dafa Information Center spokeswoman Gail Rachlin. “For that act of compassion and courage, she was jailed again, but this time, did not survive the torture. Her case is tragically common and speaks directly to the senselessness of the Chinese Communist Party’s brutal campaign against Falun Gong practitioners and freedom of expression more generally.”

On August 2, 2008, Ms. Shi was detained while handing out fliers in public about the persecution against Falun Gong. This is a common practice among Falun Gong practitioners and supporters in China given that virtually all access to objective news on Falun Gong is highly censored or blocked entirely, including via the media and on the Internet. By informing the public of the reality of what Falun Gong is and what adherents are suffering, the aim is to discourage individuals from participating in the persecution. Anecdotal evidence points to numerous cases in which such aims have indeed been achieved. 

After being taken into custody in 2008, Ms. Shi was held at Suizhong Detention Center for two months. She was then put through a sham trial and sent to the Liaoning Province Women’s Prison for a seven year “sentence.” 

According to sources inside China, Ms. Shi died at Liaoning Province Women’s Prison on March 18, 2010.

Previous Detentions and Torture in Custody

Ms. Shi sold vegetables for a living in a market near her home in Huludao City, Liaoning Province. Ms. Shi had begun practicing Falun Gong in 1995. Her husband and son were also Falun Gong practitioners.

Ms. Shi was first detained by police on July 23, 1999 — three days after the Chinese Communist Party launched the campaign to “eradicate” Falun Gong. She was held for seven days and then released.

Because Ms. Shi would not renounce Falun Gong, she was detained a second time on October 5,1999 by local police. While subsequently being held at the Huludao City Detention Center, Ms. Shi was tortured several times, including having her pants removed and being whipped about the buttocks and legs, suffering beatings to the face and sleep deprivation.

After being held for 20 days at the Huludao City Detention Center, Ms. Shi was sent to the Masanjia Forced Labor Camp for two years. While being held at Masanjia, she was tortured repeatedly with electric shock batons to the feet, body and face. On at least one occasion, other incarcerated Falun Gong practitioners were brought into an adjacent office to hear Ms. Shi’s screams while being tortured in an attempt to scare them.

On October 24, 2001, Ms. Shi was released. However, six days later, she was detained again while practicing the Falun Gong exercises in a park near her home. Ms. Shi was then sent back to Masanjia for three years.

The Liaoning Province Women’s Prison is located in Baixintai Village, Pingluo Town, Yuhong District, Shenyang City, Liaoning Province. Phone numbers for the prison director, Mr. Yang Li, are as follows: 86-24-89296666 (Office), 86-24-86914173 (Home), 86-13390118299 (Mobile).