Woman Suffers Relapse of Tuberculosis During Detention for Her Faith, Dies After Court’s Threat to Confiscate Her House

Ms. Wu Peiwen recovered from tuberculosis by practising Falun Gong, only to see the disease recur after she was arrested for not giving up her faith. Her condition deteriorated while she was held in detention. The authorities continued to harass her and even threatened to confiscate her house after she was released. She passed away on April 4, 2020, at the age of 55.

Ms. Wu, a resident of Shantou City, Guangdong Province, suffered from tuberculosis for 13 years. Her symptoms disappeared shortly after she took up Falun Gong, an ancient spiritual discipline with five sets of meditative exercises, in August 1998.

Due to Falun Gong’s overwhelming popularity in China, the Chinese Communist Party ordered a nationwide persecution campaign against it in 1999, which has continued to this day.

Because of holding firm to her faith, Ms. Wu was arrested and detained five times. Her last arrest was on November 28, 2018, when she was studying Falun Gong’s teachings at home.

Ms. Wu was found to have a lung condition during the required physical examination, and the doctor advised against keeping her in custody. The police, though, sent her to the local detention centre.

The detention centre guards forced Ms. Wu to do strenuous labour every day and kept increasing her work load. When she couldn’t finish the work, they punished her by asking her to clean the restroom. Her health declined as a result of the physical exhaustion and mental distress.

Ms. Wu’s lawyer asked the police to release her on bail several times, but to no avail.

When Ms. Wu appeared in Jinping District Court on May 22, 2019, she kept coughing and coughed up blood.

Ms. Wu's lawyer entered a not guilty plea on her behalf and requested that she be immediately released due to her health. The judge frequently interrupted the lawyer and sentenced Ms. Wu to one year in prison, with a 2,000 yuan fine.

Ms. Wu appealed to Shantou City Intermediate Court. The judge assigned to her case decided to release her two months before the end of her term, upon learning about her health condition.

After Ms. Wu returned home on October 27, 2019, the police installed surveillance cameras at her home to monitor her. Staff members from the local residential committee also constantly harassed her.

On March 25, 2020, a staff member from the Shantou City Intermediate Court called her husband and demanded that he pay a fine of 2,000 yuan. When he refused to comply, the court staff threatened to confiscate their house and put it up for auction.

This incident placed tremendous mental pressure on Ms. Wu. Her condition quickly worsened. She passed away on April 4, ten days after the court’s intimidation.

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