Shandong Woman Dies from Cancer Developed in Prison for Speaking Out for Her Persecuted Faith

A Qingdao City, Shandong Province, resident was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2014, two weeks after she was transferred to Jinan Women's Prison to serve time for not renouncing her faith in Falun Gong, a mind-body discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

The authorities didn't release Ms. Liu Xiuzhen on medical parole until nine months after the diagnosis, when the cancer had already spread to her uterus.

The police continued to harass Ms. Liu after she returned home. Her health continued to deteriorate and she passed away on January 4, 2019.

Ms. Liu's son, Mr. Yang Naijian, 38, was still serving time in Shandong Province Prison for his faith in Falun Gong when she passed away. He wasn't allowed to attend her funeral.

Ms. Liu was predeceased by her parents, who lived in fear because their daughter and grandson were being persecuted for their faith. Her father died in 2006 when she was first sentenced to three years in prison for her faith. Her second prison sentence in 2014 dealt another blow to her mother, who died in early 2018.

Sentenced for Reenacting Methods of Torture Used on Falun Gong Practitioners
Ms. Liu learned Falun Gong in 2005. She credited the practice for enabling her to find inner peace while running her restaurant and hair salon.

One year later, she was arrested after being reported for hanging up a Falun Gong banner. She was sentenced to three years in Jinan Women's Prison. Her father died from the mental distress shortly after her imprisonment.

Ms. Liu was arrested again on May 2, 2013. Fifteen others, including her family members and local Falun Gong practitioners who were visiting her at the time, were also seized. The police initially said they had targeted Ms. Liu for hosting an “illegal gathering,” but they later said it was because they found pictures showing her and other practitioners re-enacting methods of torture used on imprisoned practitioners.

After 14 months of detention and mistreatment, Ms. Liu was sentenced to three years and her son, Mr. Yang, to six years on July 17, 2014.

Ms. Liu was transferred to Jinan Women's Prison on October 22, 2014. When her family went to the prison on November 6, 2014, they were told that she had been taken to the Jinan Police Hospital after a test found shadows on her lung.

Her family applied to see her in the hospital on June 30, 2015. This time, they were informed that her cancer diagnosis had been confirmed and that she would soon be released on medical parole.

She was emaciated and very weak when her family saw her. She told them that the doctor said the cancer had already spread to her uterus, but they were only treating the lung cancer.

When Ms. Liu returned home on July 29, 2015, a prison guard said the doctor estimated that she only had three months left.

She resumed practising Falun Gong at home and her health began to improve.

Before the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit was held in Qingdao City in June 2018, several people were stationed outside her home and followed her wherever she went. The mental pressure of this harassment led to a quick and sudden decline. She passed away three months later.

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