Multiple practitioners of Falun Gong lost their lives while in police custody in China since May, according to reports from Minghui.org, a U.S.-based leading website that documents the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) persecution of Falun Gong.
The practitioners were prisoners of conscience, as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been carrying out systematic persecution against believers of Falun Gong since July 20, 1999.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is an ancient Chinese spiritual practice consisting of slow-moving meditation exercises and moral teachings that promote truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance in everyday life. Its popularity peaked in the late 1990s in China, with 70 million to 100 million adherents, according to official estimates.
On multiple occasions, the U.S. government has passed resolutions condemning the CCP’s actions and has been calling for an end to the persecution.
Death in Detention
Guo Zhenfang, a resident of Chifeng city, Inner Mongolia Province, died in police custody before arriving at a local hospital on June 9. He was held at the Songshan District Detention Center before being transferred to the hospital.
Police informed Guo’s family of his transfer. Upon arrival at the hospital, the family found that Guo’s body had a bloody nose, bruises on his buttocks, and a wound on one of his inner knees.
Multiple plainclothes police officers arrived at the hospital soon after the family got there. The officers would not allow the family to view Guo’s body any longer and ordered that his remains be transferred to a local funeral house—without the family’s consent.
Another practitioner died in police custody in Dongrulai village, Shandong Province. Police arrested Sun Peijin while he was working on his farmland on June 17.
The following day, police contacted his family and reported that Sun had passed away. His family found his skull caved in and one of his eyes missing.
Authorities claimed Sun jumped to his death from Mengyin County People’s Hospital of Shandong Province after refusing a nucleic acid test.
On June 26, police had Sun’s body cremated after coercing the family.
Wei Mingxia, 70, died after two weeks in police custody. Police arrested Wei on July 19, and imprisoned her in Huludao Detention Center.
Before being arrested, Wei was in good health, but she perished on Aug. 2. Her remains are frozen and being held in a local funeral parlor.
Police arrested another practitioner named Li Xianxi at a train station in Anyang city, Henan Province, on May 11. He was discussing the persecution of Falun Gong with travelers. Police then searched Li’s properties without warrants.
The following day, Li was placed under criminal detention at Anyang Detention Center. On June 13, police informed the family that Li had died the previous day. Family members said Li’s body was emaciated, with a swollen head and scars on his waist, back, and knees.
‘Immediately Cease’ the Persecution
State Department spokesman Ned Price called on the Chinese communist regime to “immediately cease” its long-running persecution of Falun Gong and release all adherents who have been jailed for their beliefs at a regular press briefing on July 19, a day before the 22nd anniversary of the start of Beijing’s eradication campaign against the faith group.
On May 12, one day before World Falun Dafa Day, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced sanctions against a CCP high-ranking official, Yu Hui, for persecuting Falun Gong in the city of Chengdu, Sichuan Province. Both Yu and his immediate family are banned from entering the United States.
On July 20, 2020, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused the CCP of suppressing practitioners. “Extensive evidence shows the PRC [People’s Republic of China] government continues to repress and abuse this community to this day, including reported torture of Falun Gong practitioners and detention of thousands.”