Wife and Husband Die One Year Apart in Persecution
Ms. Guan Fengxia and her husband, Mr. Dai Zhidong, died less than one year apart for their shared faith in Falun Gong.
Ms. Guan, of Daqing City, Heilongjiang Province, took up Falun Gong in 1995. After witnessing how she improved as a person, her husband, Mr. Dai, began to practice a year later.
Their peaceful life of practicing Falun Gong together came to a halt in July 1999, when Jiang Zemin, the former head of the Chinese Communist Party, ordered the eradication of Falun Gong in China. Since then, authorities constantly subjected the couple to harassment, arrest, and detainment, which eventually claimed both of their lives.
Persecution of Ms. Guan
Ms. Guan was arrested twice and held in brainwashing centers between September 1999 and 2000 for refusing to give up her faith in Falun Gong. At the brainwashing centers, guards monitored her around the clock and forced her to watch propaganda videos slandering the practice.
After her release, authorities did not allow her to return home and forced her to live out of a train station and clean for five months. At the same time, police had also detained her husband, leaving their 12-year-old son to fend for himself.
When they were released, the couple went to Beijing with their son on June 18, 2000, to appeal for the right to practice Falun Gong, only to be arrested on the train near Beijing. The authorities took them back to Daqing on June 21 and detained Ms. Guan for 45 days.
Again, authorities did not allow Ms. Guan to go home. They forced her to live out of a train station again between August and December 2000. Her family later paid the authorities 2,000 yuan (~$314 USD) to allow her to go home.
Days later, on December 28, she set off for Beijing one more time and police arrested her again. This time, she received a two-year term at the Shuanghe Women’s Forced Labor Camp in Qiqihar.
Once she arrived at the labor camp, guards regularly ordered her to renounce Falun Gong, beat her, and humiliated her. They deprived her of sleep and forced her to watch videos that demonized Falun Gong. The guards also held her in solitary confinement and drugged her.
In addition to the physical and psychological torture, she was forced to package pesticide without pay. Not provided proper protection, she often breathed in the toxic powder, which caused profuse coughing.
When she returned home two years later, she was devastated to learn that her husband had been sentenced to seven years in Daqing Prison. She struggled to care for their son by herself.
Although police did not arrest Ms. Guan again, they constantly harassed her and ordered her to renounce Falun Gong. The ongoing persecution took a toll on her health. She developed uterine fibroids that caused excessive bleeding. She was unable to eat and became emaciated. Ms. Guan passed away on March 5, 2021, at the age of 60.
Persecution of Mr. Dai
The persecution Mr. Dai endured before his death was a repetitive series of arrests, detainment, torture, and financial extortion.
In 1999, his supervisor at a submersible pump company found out that he planned to go to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong. His supervisor extorted him out of 3,000 yuan (~$471 USD) and closely monitored him.
In April 2000 Mr. Dai was tricked into going to the police station where he was arrested and detained the first time. Over the next two years Mr. Dai was arrested and released multiple times. Authorities held him for 15 to 75 days at a time and he spent a total 138 days in detainment during this period. They also forced him to pay 800 yuan (~$125 USD) for the food he ate while detained, and another 6,000 yuan (~$943 USD) to the police and 6-10 Office, an extralegal agency created specifically to persecute Falun Gong.
Mr. Dai was arrested again at a practitioner’s home on April 22, 2002. The police held him at the Daqing City Detention Center where he held a hunger strike to protest the persecution for 64 days. Police made a nurse force feed Mr. Dai. The force-feeding ruptured his esophagus and caused him to vomit blood. It also severely bruised his nose caused his face to swell.
The Ranghulu District Procuratorate indicted Mr. Dai on July 4, 2002. A few months later the Ranghulu District Court sentenced him to seven years in Daqing Prison.
Because he refused to renounce Falun Gong, wear the inmate uniform, or do the unpaid labor, the guards and inmates constantly beat Mr. Dai and subjected him to various forms of torture. They monitored him around the clock and only allowed him to sleep for two hours at night.
On one occasion guards held him to the floor and stripped his clothes, poured cold water on him with a window open during winter, and deprived him of sleep for three days. He was unable to get up after the torture.
After surviving seven hellish years of torture and abuses, Mr. Dai was released on April 21, 2009, only to be harassed on a regular basis. Without a job, he contacted his former workplace and requested to resume working there. His supervisor demanded he sign a statement promising not to practice Falun Gong. Refusing to compromise, Mr. Dai had to do odd jobs to make ends meet.
The harassment intensified in the past two years in the “Zero-out” campaign, as the authorities targeted every practitioner on their list and attempted to force them to renounce Falun Gong.
Mr. Dai’s last arrest was 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 (~$1,572 USD) bond, before releasing him on bail.
Mr. Dai was under tremendous financial pressure with the newest round of financial persecution, as he was still struggling to pay off Ms. Guan’s medical bill. With the police confiscating his only 5,000 yuan (~$786 USD) cash in savings, and his son paying the bond for him, he worried when he would be able to pay off all the debts. The mental pressure took a toll on his health, and he passed away on February 11, 2022. He was 60 years old.