After two arrests and frequent harassment since December 2016 for practicing Falun Gong, a Tianjin man passed away in late 2018. His wife was still serving time for their shared faith in Falun Gong when Mr. Liu Derong died.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Mr. Liu Derong and his wife Ms. Yu Guirong were arrested on December 7, 2016 with 25 other practitioners in Tianjin. Except for 85-year-old Mr. Tian who was released the same day, the other practitioners were kept in custody.
Mr. Liu was later released on bail after he was found to have a blood disorder. Ms. Yu, however, was sentenced to three years in Tianjin Women’s Prison.
Another practitioner targeted in the police sweep, Mr. Yang Yuyong, died from severe torture on July 11, 2017. His wife, Ms. Meng Xianzhen, was repeatedly harassed later on. Another nine practitioners were also sentenced from two to five years in prison.
Mr. Liu was seized again in another group arrest of 37 practitioners on December 28, 2017. Another five practitioners were harassed. All 42 of them had their homes ransacked. At least ten have been sentenced to prison at the time of writing, with the longest term of 11 years given to dentist Mr. Li Yongquan.
Although Mr. Liu was later released on bail again due to his physical condition, the police kept coming back to harass him. After struggling with poor health for months, he passed away in destitution in late 2018.
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