Hebei Woman Dies in Custody Two Months After Being Arrested for Her Faith

A Qinhuangdao City resident suddenly died at the local detention centre, where two other detainees lost their lives under suspicious circumstances only one month earlier.

Ms. Ma Guilan, 64, was arrested by Zhujiangdao Police Station on July 4, 2018 for talking to people about Falun Gong, a mind-body practice persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999. She was initially given 15 days of administrative detention, which was escalated to criminal detention on July 18.

News broke on September 17 that Ms. Ma died at Qinghuangdao Detention Centre. In the month leading up to her death, two other detainees also passed away under suspicious circumstances. It is suspected that they were also Falun Gong practitioners, but it has not been confirmed.

Other Practitioners' Lives in Danger

At least 22 other Falun Gong practitioners are still being held at the same detention centre where Ms. Ma died. Many of them have been detained beyond legally permissible terms.

Some practitioners are in very poor health and have had to be hospitalized. Among them are Ms. Xu Xiujuan and Ms. Ma Aihua, both about 50, and 67-year-old Su Ruiqin. When Ms. Xu was tried on September 26, she was severely ill and emaciated and her family members could hardly recognize her.

The detained practitioners' families have pleaded for the detention centre to release their loved ones, to no avail. With Ms. Ma's untimely death, they became even more worried about these practitioners' safety.

Previous Arrests and Detentions

Ms. Ma had been arrested several times previously. When she told someone about Falun Gong in September 2008, police arrested her and took her to a police station in Haigang District. Lu Ping, head of the 610 Office, beat her severely, causing her to suffer headaches and dizziness. During the beating, Lu had pulled out handful of Ms. Ma's hair.

When Ms. Ma talked about Falun Gong to a pedestrian on May 5, 2009, officers from the same police station arrested her again. She was sent to the Kaiping Labour Camp for an 18-month term. At the labour camp, she was deprived of sleep and shocked with electric batons.

Ms. Ma was subsequently arrested twice, in March 2013 and on June 4, 2014, respectively. She was not released until after she protested with a hunger strike.

Key Parties Responsible:
Sun Jian: Director of Qinghuangdao Detention Centre, +86-335-8527593, +86-335-7827593, +86-13933609877Yang Zhijun: head of Zhujiangdao Police Station, +86-335-8361866, +86-13903330965

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