China’s Qingming Festival (Tomb-Sweeping Day) marks the day when Chinese people visit the gravesites of their ancestors and loved ones.
To commemorate this special occasion, which fell on April 4 this year, my son and I drove more than 60 miles to visit the grave of his mother, who died after being brutally persecuted 11 years ago by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for her spiritual belief.
On this occasion, once again, I couldn’t help but think of those Falun Gong practitioners who have lost their lives as a result of the decades-long violent persecution campaign by the CCP. How many tears have been shed for the victims?
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is an ancient Chinese spiritual practice consisting of simple, slow-moving meditation exercises and moral teachings that incorporate the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance in everyday life. It grew in popularity during the 1990s, with 70 million to 100 million adherents in China by the end of the decade, according to official estimates at the time.
Feeling threatened by its popularity, the CCP launched a systematic elimination campaign in July 1999. Since then, millions have been detained inside prisons, labor camps, and other facilities, with hundreds of thousands tortured while incarcerated, according to the Falun Dafa Information Center.
I’ll mention a few Falun Gong practitioners who were persecuted to death.
On the eve of the Qingming Festival in 2003, Chen Hongping, a resident of Hebei Province, died. She had been detained at the Gaoyang Forced Labor Camp, where she was beaten by prison guards. Chen’s family members were also Falun Gong practitioners who had suffered—four were persecuted to death and one sustained permanent injuries while in police custody. The plight of the family gained the attention of the United Nations in 2004, according to a report by Minghui.org, a U.S.-based website that documents the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners by the CCP.
Gao Rongrong, an accountant at the Luxun Academy of Fine Arts in Shenyang city, went to Beijing to petition for the right to practice Falun Gong. In June 2003, she was sent to the Longshan Forced Labor Camp for three years. In 2004, prison guards tortured Gao with high-voltage electric batons for seven hours, which left her severely disfigured. On June 16, 2005, she died in the emergency room at a local hospital at the age of 37. When her case was revealed to the international community, the brutality of the persecution shocked the world.
On March 5, 2002, a group of Falun Gong practitioners tapped into eight local channels of the cable TV network in Changchun, simultaneously broadcasting programs that reported the facts about the persecution campaign against Falun Gong, including “Falun Dafa Spreads Worldwide” and “Self-immolation or Hoax?” The programs were aired for 40 to 50 minutes.
One of the Falun Gong practitioners behind the heroic act, Liu Chengjun, was tortured and sentenced to 19 years in prison in Jilin, where he died as a result of torture in 2003. He was 32.
Sun Min, an outstanding teacher from Anshan city, Liaoning Province, had been imprisoned multiple times since 1999 and spent more than two years in detention and forced labor. In 2016, she was abducted from her home and illegally sentenced to seven years in prison. She was persecuted to death on March 8, 2018, at the age of 50 in the Liaoning Provincial Women’s Prison. Sun’s father was only allowed to visit her once, after she was imprisoned in 2016. He didn’t expect that visit to be the last time he would see her.
In late June 2020, Wang Shukun, a 66-year-old doctor from Hailin city, Heilongjiang Province, was beaten by local police for several hours after she refused to forsake her beliefs. She suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died on July 2.
Two days later, Wang was cremated at a local funeral home. Her husband, Yu Xiaopeng, said: “My wife died unjustly, my wife died unjustly! I will not let them get away with it!” according to Minghui.org.
In the past and present, there have been many injustices and grievances in China. The world has been shocked by the ongoing brutal persecution of Falun Gong adherents.
During the Qingming Festival, may the international community pay attention to the plight of Falun Gong practitioners, help the Chinese people stop the persecution, and disintegrate the CCP.
Mi Zhen is a freelance writer and has contributed to numerous Chinese media outlets for years. He has witnessed firsthand the human rights abuses under the Chinese communist regime.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.