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Elderly Falun Gong Practitioners Are Being Persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party

Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.
Published: August 1, 2022
The CCP is persecuting elderly Falun Gong practitioners
Falun Gong practitioners of Thailand hold a candlelight vigil solemnly commemorating the 23rd Anniversary of Jiang Zemin and the CCP’s persecution of the practice in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, on July 17. (Image: via Minghui.org)

A trend of persecuting the elderly has been identified in the Chinese Communist Party’s 23-year-long persecution of Falun Gong meditation.

Because the prisoners of conscience refuse to renounce their faith amid the Party’s pressure, coercion, and violence, they are detained, surveilled, beaten, and handed long prison sentences.

A series of such incidents targeting elderly practitioners has been reported in recent days by Falun Gong informational website Minghui, which collects information and evidence of the CCP’s campaign of suppression directly from mainland China.

In one case, Liang Shuzhi, an 85-year-old resident of Shenyang in Liaoning Province was arrested by local police in June of 2021.

Her crime? The police alleged a surveillance camera recorded her placing flyers that expose the Party’s persecution of the practice on cars in March.

Additionally, the CCP’s enforcers said that other practitioners had used her home to print materials.

During the arrest, Liang’s computer, a printer, and her Falun Gong books were seized by police.

MORE ON THE PERSECUTION OF FALUN GONG

Although Liang was released the same day after her family pressured police, harassment has continued. On May 9, an unidentified police officer called Liang’s family threatening to send the case to Liaoning District Court.

Liang’s family told Minghui that the prosecutor returned the case to police on June 6 because of insufficient evidence. Nonetheless, the officials decided to submit the case again on July 17. 

Liang has now been indicted with a criminal offense and is awaiting trial.

In 2002, Liang was sentenced to three years in prison by the Communist Party for continuing with her practice.

In another case occurring in Yunnan Province, 82-year-old Ms. Gao Qiongxian and 60-year-old Ms. Wang Jin were arrested in October of 2020 by Party officials from the Anning City Domestic Security Office.

Gao, fortunately, was released the same day on 1,000 yuan bail, albeit due to her poor health. Wang, however, has remained in prison ever since.

Wang’s 89-year-old mother endured enormous stress after the raid, suffering a stroke one evening and collapsing, the report states.

Although the woman was resuscitated, she was immobilized and died a few months later in April of 2021.

After her passing, Wang and Gao were formally indicted by the Xishan District Procuratorate.

In August of 2021, Gao fell at home, breaking both legs, which postponed her trial. The court attempted to force Gao to install a webcam to attend the proceedings remotely, but when the family refused, the court was forced to adjourn until December.

The case prosecutor, Zhang Li, renewed the charges against Gao on Dec. 20, 2021.

For Wang, her computer, printer, cellphone and Falun Gong books were seized by the Party. Additionally, she was saddled with a 5,000 yuan fine and three years in prison. 

Minghui states the presiding judge in the case was Zhang Linmin. Additionally, judges Hua Liqiong and Zhu Yueyuan participated in the efforts. All are components of Xishan District Court.

In November of 2021, Ms. Zhao Zhaoquan, an 83-year-old resident of Luzhou City in Sichuan Province was kidnapped by Communist Party members composing the Jiangyang District Court on Nov. 10, 2021 to undergo a “physical examination.”

Her family was unaware of where she was taken. According to Minghui, they only found out when they later received a letter where Zhao said she was immediately taken to the Hejiang Detention Center and sentenced to two years in prison.

An additional letter stated that the Party members who kidnapped Zhao were surnamed Li and Fang. During the kidnapping, they convinced Zhao to go with them after telling her that if the results of the examination looked good, they would leave her alone in the future.

According to the article, Zhao has suffered from an unknown medical condition while in custody, a fact they were not notified of. Instead, they found out after receiving a tip from a prison insider.

However, because Zhao is a Falun Gong practitioner, the Party refuses to release her.

One official was brazen enough to directly tell the family that they can just pick up her ashes after she dies.

The details surrounding the long term persecution of Zhao are curious. Earlier, in June of 2021, Jingyang District Court Party members took Zhao away for physical examination.

The family states that when she returned home, it was with “all sorts of tubes on her body, including one that monitored her heartbeat.”

Zhao is being held in the Luzhou City Detention Center. She has practiced Falun Gong since 1996 and faced an extensive array of persecution from the Party since the campaign began.

In July of 2019, Zeng Jiageng, an 80-year-old resident of Guangzhou City, was detained, and has remained in custody since late 2021.

Zeng was arrested after CCP enforcers accused the man of setting up a phone to serve as a wireless hotspot to enable others to bypass the Party’s notorious “Great Firewall” internet blockade in order to access truthful information about Falun Gong and the persecution.

In August and September of 2021, Zeng was sentenced to five years in prison and a 5,000 yuan fine.

During his pretrial detention, Zeng developed life threatening high blood pressure and a heart condition, but officials refused his release.

During the extended period of detention, Zeng additionally developed hearing and vision loss, vertigo, and insomnia.

After Zeng’s appeals were fully rejected, he was sent to Sihui Prison, which Minghui notes is, “Notorious for its use of force and violence in its attempt to force Falun Gong practitioners to renounce their faith.”

Minghui elaborated, “Those who held fast to their faith were tortured beyond the limits of human endurance. They were deprived of sleep for long periods of time, denied access to the restroom, prohibited from talking, forced to sit on a small stool, and beaten.”

About Falun Gong

Falun Gong (法輪功), also known as Falun Dafa (法輪大法), is a qigong meditation practice with four simple standing and moving exercises and a classical-style sitting meditation.

Taught in China in 1992 by Mr. Li Hongzhi at a time when qigong and traditional culture were experiencing renewed popularity in China, the practice also emphasizes moral cultivation according to the universal principles of truthfulness, benevolence, and forbearance.

Falun Gong is completely free to learn and study, with all instructional videos and books translated into dozens of languages and free to download from the website.

Because Falun Dafa focuses on emphasizing virtue and traditional moral values during everyday life, in addition to its very effective exercise regimen, the practice met with exceeding popularity, attracting 100,000,000 students as estimated by the Chinese authorities in 1999. 

That year, because CCP leader Jiang Zemin became both fearful and jealous of Falun Gong’s popularity, Jiang used his position to launch a national Cultural Revolution-level total campaign of suppression against Falun Gong, which has persisted to this day.

The campaign against Falun Gong continues to this day; however, millions of Falun Gong practitioners remain active in China, raising awareness about the persecution and encouraging Chinese to renounce their oaths to communism.

And while the repression of Falun Gong remains on the books as a matter of ideological necessity for the CCP, many officials associated with Jiang Zemin’s political faction — often the individuals responsible for and with a personal stake in perpetuating the anti-Falun Gong campaign — have been purged as a result of political infighting with sitting Chinese leader Xi Jinping.