The Sudden Death of Former Shanghai Mayor and His Persecution of Falun Gong

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Yang Xiong, former mayor and deputy Party secretary of Shanghai, was reported to have suddenly died on April 12 at the age of 68. People who knew him well suspect his premature death could be karmic retribution for his involvement in the persecution of Falun Gong.

Yang was born in November 1953 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. He became the deputy secretary-general of Shanghai in February 2001, before becoming deputy mayor of Shanghai in February 2003. Between December 2012 and February 2017, he was mayor and deputy Party secretary of Shanghai. After that, he was an official of the National People’s Congress and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

After former Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Jiang Zemin launched a nationwide campaign against Falun Gong in 1999, many CCP officials across China have participated in the persecution, including Yang in Shanghai, a stronghold of Jiang’s regime. Yang was active in the persecution even back in the days when he was a deputy secretary-general of the city.

At Least Two Shanghai Practitioners Died When Yang Was Deputy Mayor

A large number of Shanghai practitioners were put in labor camps when Yang was deputy mayor of Shanghai. Guards and inmates who tortured practitioners said they had received a 5% death quota from higher officials. Even if practitioners were beaten to death, the perpetrators would not be held accountable.

Mr. Lu Xingguo from Pudong District was tortured to death at Qingpu Third Labor Camp on October 15, 2003. The 610 Office dispatched over 60 police officers to guard the scene when his body was cremated. One witness who saw the body said Mr. Lu’s face was deformed, with lip skin and teeth missing. There were wrinkles on the skin near his ears, with hair standing up straight and blood on the neck. There were also many electric shock marks on his body.

Another practitioner, Ms. Gu Jianmin, was also from Pudong. Agents from Pudong District 610 Office arrested her on March 1, 2008, and kept her at Pudong New District Detention Center. She was tortured there and died within 12 days at age 53.

Many Practitioners Were Sentenced When Yang Was Mayor

After Yang became mayor and deputy Party secretary of Shanghai at the end of 2012, he continued the persecution policy and many practitioners were arrested with their personal belongings and valuables confiscated. They were kept at detention centers, brainwashing centers, and prisons. After the labor camp system was abolished in 2013, imprisonment became more common in the persecution.

For example, the following practitioners were sentenced in the first half of 2013 alone: Mr. Zhang Yi (4.5 years), Ms. Hu Zhongtian (3.5 years), Ms. Yuan Hongying (3.5 years), Ms. Rong Huijun (4 years), Ms. Li Meizhen (4 years), Ms. Gao Qinmei (4 years), Ms. Tong Xiaodi (term unknown), Mr. Zhou Chenghao (4 years), Ms. Zhou Huijuan (Chenghao’s elder sister, 3.5 years), Ms. Bai Gendi (6.5 years), Ms. Yao Yuhua (6 years), and Ms. Zhou Shumei (4 years).

Illegal Detention and Brainwashing at Brainwashing Center

Shanghai Law Education Center, a brainwashing facility, was launched in January 2001. Located in Qingpu District, it had the structure of a prison, where Falun Gong practitioners were kept round the clock for brainwashing.

Upon arrival, all practitioners were body searched and had their belongings inspected. Each practitioner was detained with two staff members assigned to watch and brainwash him or her. There was no physical freedom as each practitioner was only allowed to stay in the room which was about 15 square meters (or 135 square feet). The bathroom door was also removed, allowing for no personal privacy. Practitioners were not allowed to interact with anyone. No family visit or phone call was allowed.

The brainwashing center aimed to force practitioners to give up their belief. If they refused, the detention would continue – again in the name of “education.” If they still refused to yield after a few months, more brutal measures would follow. Quite a few practitioners were sent to labor camps after their detention at the brainwashing center.

Each brainwashing session cost a lot of money. The funding came from two sources: appropriation funds from the local government and the central government, as well as fees which the employers of the detained practitioners were forced to pay.

According to information from Minghui, about 30 practitioners from Shanghai have lost their lives due to the persecution as of the end of 2020. They are: Bai Gendi, Cao Guoxin, Cao Jinxian, Chen Boying, Chen Jun, Chen Laidi, Ding Youmu, Ge Wenxin, Gu Jianmin, Huang Qiaolan, Li Baifan, Li Jianbin, Li Limao, Li Weihong, Li Yuqin, Lu Airong, Lu Xingguo, Ma Dongquan, Ma Xinxing, Qing Dehui, Weng Ping, Xie Xiantai, Xu Peizhen, Yang Xueqin, Zhang Baoqing, Zhang Zhiyun, Zhao Bin, Zhao Yunkai, Zhou Yuntian, and Zhou Zhaolian.

Following the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, Falun Gong practitioners have become better family members, more responsible employees at work, and better citizens. By persecuting innocent practitioners, officials not only discourage people from being good, but also risk their future when it is time to hold them accountable for their crimes against innocent practitioners.

We sincerely hope all perpetrators will stop participating in the persecution and follow their conscience to secure a better future for themselves and for humanity.

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