81-year-old Ailing Man Imprisoned for His Faith, Dies Two Months After Release

An 81-year-old man died two months after being released from serving time for his faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Mr. Zhu Zhihe, a Chongqing resident, was arrested in early February 2018 after being reported for distributing Falun Gong informational materials. The police accused him of “causing obvious damage to society” for having Falun Gong related materials at home, and submitted his case to the Jiangbei District Procuratorate.

After both the Jiangbei District Procuratorate and the Changshou District Procuratorate twice returned Mr. Zhu’s case for insufficient evidence, the police pressured the prosecutor at the Jiangbei District Procuratorate to indict him.

Mr. Zhu was tried by the Jiangbei District Court on October 10, 2019. Upon returning home, he fell sick and was bedridden for several days. His hearing drastically declined and his speech became slurred.

The police returned to his home on December 7, 2019 and attempted to bring him to the Jiangbei District Court for another hearing. Mr. Zhu and his family refused to comply. Police officer Che Yao threatened him, “If you object to the [persecution], you can go ahead and sue me.”

Three days later, Che returned with three other officers, and arrested Mr. Zhu.

Mr. Zhu returned home at around 10:00 p.m. that day. He told his family that he had been sentenced to 1.5 years in prison and fined 3,000 yuan. The judge allowed him to serve time outside the prison.

Mr. Zhu suffered a serious medical condition in early March 2020 and was hospitalized for two weeks, including spending one week at the intensive care unit.

Before he had completely recovered, officer Che brought Mr. Zhu to the Jiangbei District Court on May 7, 2020. Mr. Zhu’s family learned the next day that the judge reversed his decision and ordered Mr. Zhu to serve time at Yongchuan Prison.

When Mr. Zhu was released on September 6, 2020, he had severe memory loss. He kept doing the same thing and his speech was even more slurred, and not organized.

Meanwhile, the authorities suspended his pension, citing a policy that Falun Gong practitioners imprisoned for their faith aren’t entitled to any retirement benefits.

For the next two months, the police and residential committee staff kept coming back to harass Mr. Zhu. The mental pressure caused his health to further deteriorate. He passed away on November 11, 2020, at age 81.

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