Henan Woman Dies in Custody Four Days After Being Arrested for Practicing Falun Gong

A woman in her 60s died four days after she was arrested for practising Falun Gong, a meditation and spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party since 1999.

Ms. Zhang Zhiwen, of Yuzhou City, Henan Province, was arrested at home on May 13, 2020. Officers confiscated her Falun Gong books and related materials.

The police didn’t tell Ms. Zhang’s husband where they were taking her. He managed to find out the next day that she had been held on a 15-day criminal detention at Xuchang City Women’s Detention Centre and that she was arrested because she was reported for distributing Falun Gong materials last August.

Ms. Zhang’s husband went to deliver clothes and insulin for her on May 15, but the detention center guards refused to accept the items and said they would provide medication for Ms. Zhang’s diabetes.

On the afternoon of May 16, Wang Xiaowei from the Yuzhou City Domestic Security Division, who participated in Ms. Zhang’s arrest, told her husband that her condition didn’t look good.

The next morning, Ms. Zhang’s husband called Wang and asked about her situation, only to be told that Ms. Zhang had already passed away. Wang said they had sent Ms. Zhang’s body to the Xuchang City Funeral Home without providing further information.

More details in Ms. Zhang’s case remain to be investigated.

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