Deaths of 67 Falun Gong Practitioners Reported in First Half of 2021

Falun Gong practitioners persecuted to death in the first half of 2021

Falun Gong practitioners persecuted to death in the first half of 2021

Based on an Original Report from

In the first half of 2021, the deaths of 67 Falun Gong practitioners were reported to As of June 30, 2021, a total of 4,660 deaths have been documented. Due to the strict censorship of information in China, however, the actual number is likely to be much higher.

The newly-confirmed deaths in the first half of 2021 include 1 that took place in 2017, 2 in 2018, 2 in 2019, 20 in 2020, and 42 in 2021. The 20 additional confirmed cases for 2020 raise the total number of deaths in 2020 from 83 to 103.


The practitioners were from 22 provinces and municipalities. The four provinces with the most reported deaths were Liaoning (11), Jilin (9), Heilongjiang (8), and Henan (4). These provinces were among the five regions with the highest death tolls in 2020.

Three of the four deceased practitioners in Henan Province died in custody. Another ten practitioners from Shandong (3), Inner Mongolia (1), Jiangsu (1), Liaoning (1), Sichuan (1), Yunnan (1), Zhejiang (1) and Heilongjiang (1), also died in custody.

Of the 67 practitioners, 36 were women. The practitioners were employed in a variety of professions, including a retired military officer, a teacher, an engineer, and an accountant and except for 14 practitioners whose ages were unknown, the ages of the 53 practitioners were between 46 and 85, with an average age of 64.

Below are snapshots of a few cases. 

Deaths in Custody

Shandong Man Slips into Coma at Detention Center, Dies after the Police Remove His Life Support

While Mr. Yao Xinren was still in a coma after suffering a stroke, the authorities took him off life support and transferred him from the hospital intensive care unit to a senior center without proper medical equipment. The 51-year-old man passed away a week later, leaving behind his wife and child.

Mr. Yao after the craniotomy

Yao, a resident of Longkou City, Shandong Province, suffered a stroke at around 9:00 p.m. on April 22, 2020, nearly ten months after his arrest on July 3, 2019. He received a craniotomy early on the morning of April 23 at the Longkou City People’s Hospital. The doctor also gave him a tracheotomy two days later and put him on a ventilator.

When Yao’s wife went to the hospital to inquire about him, the police refused to let the doctor or nurse give her any information about him. They also refused to show surveillance footage of Yao, regarding what had happened to him at the detention center.

Even though Yao remained in a coma after the operation, the police stayed outside of the intensive care unit to monitor him for the next nine months and prevented people from getting close to him.

On February 4, 2021, the police and hospital staff removed Yao from the intensive care unit and took him to the Dongjiang Senior Center, which did not have the proper equipment to care for him.

Retired Colonel Dies in Prison, Family Suspects Foul Play

The family of Mr. Gong Piqi received a call from a prison guard on the evening of April 12, 2021, and were told that the 66-year-old retired colonel from Qingdao City, Shandong Province, had just been taken to the hospital for resuscitation. Moments later, the guard called again and informed the family that Gong had died due to a stroke.

Mr. Gong Piqi

When Gong’s family went to the hospital the next morning, the doctor and prison authorities refused to let them see his body. After the family protested, Gong’s older brother and nephew were allowed to see his body under the condition of not taking photos or videos. Gong’s brother noted that his head was injured and swollen and there was blood in his ears.

Gong was seized during a group arrest in October 2017. He was later sentenced to 7.5 years with a 20,000-yuan fine on July 20, 2018. Since 2020, citing the pandemic as an excuse, Shandong Province Prison authorities broke off contact between Gong and his family. As a result, his family did not know how he was faring in the prison. later confirmed that beginning the second half of 2020, the guards had been forcing inmates to work from 5 a.m. to 7 or 9 p.m. with almost no breaks. When Gong and other practitioners refused to do the unpaid labor, they were held in a room to watch a film slandering Falun Gong. At the time, Gong had already developed high blood pressure and felt constantly dizzy. 

Deaths after Long Term Harassment and Torture

Engineer Dies from Physical and Mental Exhaustion after 12 Years of Imprisonment

An engineer in Qiqihar City, Heilongjiang Province, died on May 20, 2021, a year after he was released from serving a second prison term. His death was so sudden his parents and sisters were not able to see him before he died.

Mr. Li Shunjiang was arrested in March 2017 and later sentenced to three years. After he was taken to the Fengtun Prison in November 2018, he was forced to do hard labor without compensation. When he protested the abuse, he was handcuffed in a twisted position that caused excruciating pain. As a result of the torture, he contracted pleural effusion and was hospitalized.

When Li’s family visited him in September 2019, he was underweight and too weak to walk. A guard carried him out and told the family Li had had fluid removed from his lungs and chest cavity in the prison hospital.

The torture and inhumane treatment took a heavy toll on his health. At a height of 5’10”, Li’s weight dropped from a healthy 170 pounds to less than 90 pounds. He could not walk on his own, had no appetite, and suffered from shortness of breath.

By the time he was released in March 2020, he was emaciated beyond recognition and constantly coughed. But despite his condition, he had to take care of his wife, Ms. Chen Li, and her mother, both of whom were in dire condition after being persecuted for their shared faith. Exhausted physically, mentally, and financially, Li died in May 2021. He was in his early 50s.

Liaoning Man Succumbs to Torture-Induced Health Problems, Dies 3.5 Years after Medical Parole

While being detained for his faith in Falun Gong, Mr. Li Hongwei was subjected to brutal torture, severely damaging his health. After being released on medical parole, Li struggled with health issues for three and a half years before passing away on June 8, 2021. He was 58 years old.

Photos contrast Li before the persecution (left) and Li three days after being released on medical parole (right)

Li, a former Real Estate Bureau employee in Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, took up Falun Gong in 1998 and his severe diabetes and fatty liver were cured through the practice.

For remaining steadfast in his faith after the persecution began in 1999, he was given one year of forced labor after an arrest in 2006 and four and a half years in prison following an arrest in 2016.

While in custody, he was constantly beaten or tortured with electric batons. When his family visited him on September 21, 2017, two people had to carry him out. His right pant leg was rolled up, revealing a large purple and black pustule on his right calf. His eyesight was so poor that even with his face against the glass partition, he was unable to see his family member facing him on the other side clearly.

After, because of serious diabetes, he became severely dizzy, emaciated, and weak. He developed paralysis on the right side of his body and was always thirsty.

Although Li was released on medical parole on December 27, 2017, his health continued to deteriorate, until he passed away on June 8, 2021.

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