Vegetable Farmer Suddenly Dies While Serving Time for Exposing Persecution of Falun Gong; Family Suspects Foul Play

Mr. Zou Yunzhu from Guang'an City, Sichuan Province suddenly died on May 11th while serving a three-and-half-year term for exposing the persecution of his spiritual belief Falun Gong.

Without conducting an autopsy, Jiazhou Prison claimed that Mr. Zou died of “myocardial infarction.” The vegetable farmer had no history of heart problems, and he still sounded well about 20 days earlier when he talked to his family on the phone.

Three years ago, Falun Gong practitioner Xu Langzhou suddenly died in the same prison. Around the same time of Mr. Zou's death, Professor Li Yanjun, another Falun Gong practitioner jailed there, showed symptoms of poisoning, with darkened teeth.

Given the known facts about the prison's treatment of practitioners, Mr. Zou's family suspect foul play and questioned the prison authorities if there was any particular abuse that resulted in his untimely passing. The family's questions remain unanswered at the time of writing.

Family Unable to See Mr. Zou for Last Time

Once a sufferer of arthritis and liver cancer, Mr. Zou recovered just six months into his practice of Falun Gong in 1999. Having gained a new lease on life, he used every opportunity to tell people that the persecution of Falun Gong is wrong. He was arrested and had his home ransacked as a result on October 31st, 2012.

Without his family's knowledge, the local court sentenced him to three and a half years. When his family hired a lawyer to appeal the verdict, they were threatened by court officials. The local intermediate court upheld the unjust sentencing and ordered him to serve time at Jiazhou Prison.

The day before Mr. Zou's death, his family received a phone call from the prison, notifying them that he had been moved to a hospital about 100 miles away for emergency rescue. As May 10th was a Sunday, they couldn't apply for visitation approval from the local government as dictated by the prison. When they heard from the prison again the next morning, Mr. Zou had passed away.

The family rushed to the hospital in the afternoon on May 11th, only to be told that his body had been moved to a mortuary. Though they later saw the body, they were never shown an autopsy report or given answers to their suspicion about Mr. Zou's unnatural death.


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