82-Year-Old Woman Dies Hours After Being Arrested for Distributing Falun Gong Informational Materials

An 82-year-old woman in Zhaoyuan City, Shandong Province, died hours after she was arrested for passing out informational materials about Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Ms. Guo Zhenxiang was seized by officers from Mengzhi Police Station at a bus station on the early morning of January 11, 2019. At around 10 a.m., her family was summoned to the police station, where they were told that their loved one had died.

The police claimed that Ms. Guo became ill after being taken to the police station and died in a local hospital despite resuscitation attempts. Her body was then taken to Zhaoyuan City Funeral Home without her family's consent.

Ms. Guo had been very healthy in the past few years and did not exhibit any symptoms when she left home in the morning. Her family suspects that her death was related to mistreatment in police custody, as Falun Gong practitioners are routinely tortured in detention.

The police initially refused to allow Ms. Guo's family to see her body, but they later relented upon the family's continued demands.

On the way to the funeral home, the police repeatedly questioned her family where she had obtained the materials about Falun Gong and what people she had contact with. Officers also pressured her family to sign an interrogation record and threatened them not to publicize her death.

Ms. Guo's body remains at the funeral home as her family seeks justice for her. The police have been monitoring the family since her death.

Prior to her latest arrest that led to her death, Ms. Guo was arrested on June 10 and December 16, 2016 and in September 2018 for talking to people about Falun Gong.

She was released due to her advanced age all three times. However, police ransacked her home and confiscated her Falun Gong books and related items on December 21, 2016, five days after her second arrest.

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