A Wuhan City, Hubei Province, woman in her 50s passed away on November 12, 2020, after years of torture and harassment for her faith in Falun Gong, a mind-body practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Over the past 21 years, Ms. Qin Hanmei was arrested and had her home ransacked three times. While serving five years for her faith, she was tortured until she almost died. After she was released on medical parole, the authorities continued to harass her, which eventually led to her tragic death.
Below are the details of her latest persecution.
Sixteen Months of Hospital Detention
As soon as Ms. Qin left home to go to work at around 10 a.m. on July 22, 2014, she was arrested by officers waiting outside of her apartment building. They searched her purse and took her house keys. They ransacked her residence and confiscated her Falun Gong books and materials, computer, printer, and 90,000 yuan in banknotes that had messages about Falun Gong printed on them (as a creative way to raise awareness about the persecution due to strict information censorship in China).
Accusing her of printing the messages on the notes at home, the police took Ms. Qin to Wuhan City No.1 Detention Center. Due to her health, she was then transferred to Ankang Hospital and held there for a year and four months, before being admitted to prison. After she did the Falun Gong exercises in the hospital, Zhang Chi, a detention center guard, handcuffed her.
Relentless Abuse in Prison
On July 9, 2015, nearly a year after her arrest, Ms. Qin was tried in the Jiang’an District Court. Her lawyer entered a not guilty plea on her behalf. She was sentenced to five years in Hubei Province Women’s Prison on September 17, 2015.
Ms. Qin was denied family visits the first three months after she was transferred to the prison. During that time, she was resuscitated twice and had her tailbone fractured as a result of the torture.
In the eighth ward, two inmates monitored her every day and attempted to force her to renounce Falun Gong by beating her, verbally abusing her, and depriving her of sleep. She was forced to watch videos and listen to audios that slandered Falun Gong. Unable to endure the physical and mental abuse, Ms. Qin was forced to write statements to renounce Falun Gong against her will. But that wasn’t the end of it, as the inmates then made her copy statements pleading “guilty” for practicing Falun Gong every day.
Ms. Qin was later transferred to the third ward and forced to work more than ten hours a day making clothes. The intensive labor made her dizzy and she had to be helped up and downstairs. She also lost her eyesight, yet the guards still forced her to make clothes. Unable to see, she cut holes in the clothes and burned her feet filling her thermos with hot water.
She later had two eye laser surgeries and stayed in the prison hospital for nine months.
Harassment Following Release on Medical Parole
Not wanting her to be tortured, her husband paid 60,000 yuan in exchange for her medical parole. Yet the local justice bureau continued to harass her and forced her to report to them every Tuesday and sign the thought reports they had prepared each time.
She was also forced to wear an electronic bracelet that tracked her location. Her cellphone was also monitored. Her husband wasn’t spared harassment either and was forced to live away from home to avoid the persecution.
On October 30, 2019, five police officers and two community workers ransacked Ms. Qin’s home again. Without showing any warrant, they searched everywhere in her home and flipped over the beds to see if there were Falun Gong books or materials underneath. Six boxes of Falun Gong books and a photo of Falun Gong’s founder were confiscated.
The police also called Ms. Qin’s son, who was living with her, and ordered him to tell them his computer password so that they could check it. Ms. Qin was taken to the police station and interrogated until the evening.
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