February 2023 Reports: 110 Sentenced and 19 Deaths

(Pictured: The home of Mr. Wang Peng after the police raided it in search of his mother, during which they confiscated his computers, cellphone and Falun Gong books. Wang was sentenced in February 2023.)

(Pictured: The home of Mr. Wang Peng after the police raided it in search of his mother, during which they confiscated his computers, cellphone and Falun Gong books. Wang was sentenced in February 2023.)

Every month, for nearly 24 years, Falun Gong practitioners outside of China have received reports detailing the abuses, rule of law violations, and deaths of the adherents under Chinese Communist Party suppression. Although many are belated reports and by no means exhaustive, the following statistics shed light on the larger, ongoing persecution and the consequences that Falun Gong practitioners are facing for practicing their faith and raising awareness about the human rights abuses they face in China today.

110 Practitioners Sentenced in 15 Regions

A total of 110 cases of Falun Gong practitioners sentenced for their faith were reported in February 2023. Among the newly reported cases, 15 took place between 2014 and 2021, 66 in 2022, 4 in January 2023 and 24 in February 2023. The details of one case is unknown.

Mr. Wang Peng is one of the twenty-four practitioners who was sentenced for their faith in February. After his home was raided by police in July 2022, authorities placed Wang in detention at the Weizigou Detention Center. His family hired two lawyers, but both were refused visitation rights by the detention center officers. When Wang’s family called the mayor’s hotline to file a complaint against the police, the staff relayed that the Changchun City Political and Legal Affairs Committee has a policy: Falun Gong practitioners do not have rights to lawyer representation. As a result, it is suspected that Wang was sentenced to 1.5 years for possessing Falun Gong books.

Overall, the prison terms ranged from two months to eight years. Among the 45 practitioners whose ages were known, they were between 25 and 88 at the age of sentencing, including 8 in their 70s and 5 in their 80s. Among the sentenced was a deputy principal of an elementary school, a college professor, a retired engineer and a former secretary of the archive department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Authorities in 12 provinces and 3 centrally controlled municipalities (Beijing, Chongqing, and Tianjin) sentenced the practitioners to varying lengths of imprisonment for disseminating leaflets, sharing information about Falun Gong, exposing the persecution, and continuing their faith. Shandong registered the most cases of 37. Heilongjiang ranked second with 19 cases. The remaining regions had cases between 1 and 9. 

The full list of sentenced practitioners can be downloaded here (PDF).

19 Death Reports from 12 Provinces

The deaths of 19 Falun Gong practitioners as a result of the persecution by the Chinese communist regime were reported in February 2023.

Five deaths took place in 2023, seven in 2022, and four between 2018 and 2021. The exact time of the remaining three practitioners’ deaths remains unknown. Due to strict information censorship in China, the deaths can’t always be reported in a timely manner, nor is all information readily available.

The deceased practitioners were from 12 different provinces. Shandong and Jiangxi each reported four cases. Heilongjiang reported two cases. The remaining nine provinces, including Yunnan, Sichuan, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Jiangsu, Jilin, Guangdong, Gansu, and Inner Mongolia, each had one case.

Two of the practitioners died in custody, including a 30-year-old former radio host who was beaten to death in prison and an 86-year-old senior engineer who died days before he was set to finish a four-year term. Most others died after succumbing to the physical and mental persecution over the years.

The full list of the 19 practitioners can be downloaded here (PDF).

Based on the following original Minghui articles: Reported in February 2023: 110 Falun Gong Practitioners Sentenced for Their Faith; 19 Falun Gong Practitioner Deaths Due to Persecution Reported in February 2023.