A family of four in Zhuolu County, Hebei Province, was plagued with a myriad of health issues and struggled to pay medical bills. They regained their health after they took up Falun Gong, a mind-body discipline with meditative exercises and three core principles, “Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance.”
The family's happy life was cut short when the Chinese communist regime began to persecute Falun Gong in July 1999. Mr. Zhang Quanxing, his wife (Ms. Gao Yuzhen), their son (Mr. Zhang Lihua), and their daughter (Ms. Zhang Qinghua) had all been arrested at one point or another for refusing to renounce their faith in Falun Gong.
The elder Mr. Zhang's pension was suspended in 2003, and his daughter suffered from severe mental distress while in custody.
The younger Mr. Zhang, who was disabled, succumbed to the pressure of the persecution and died around 2015. His mother, Ms. Gao, passed away shortly afterwards.
The elder Mr. Zhang, whose pension was never reinstated, died in poverty in May 2019. To date, the authorities still have not returned his suspended pension of more than half a million yuan to his surviving daughter, Ms. Zhang.
The Cure to a Family's Health Problems
Mr. Zhang Quanxing was a school principal in Zhangjiabao Town, Zhuolu County. He used to suffer from heart, liver, kidney, and stomach problems, as well as neck and back pain and frequent headaches. His medical bills consumed nearly all of his monthly income.
Mr. Zhang's wife, Ms. Gao Yuzhen, struggled to take care of him, their polio-stricken son, and his ill mother. The burden of life took a toll on her health, and she developed insomnia and depression.
The hopeless family was later introduced to Falun Gong, and they decided to give it a try.
Not long afterwards, Mr. Zhang and his wife's ailments disappeared without them taking any medicine.
The practice also helped their son, Mr. Zhang Lihua, regain feeling and partial function in his left leg. He used to have trouble remembering things, but after taking up Falun Gong, the younger Mr. Zhang significantly improved his memory and was even able to tutor his friends’ children in English. Many of the parents came to thank him for offering free tutoring classes and helping their children improve their grades.
Falun Gong also made the Zhang family more compassionate and forgiving. A big piece of their land was occupied by the local government without compensation for a dozen years. The family believed that the local residents benefited from the government’s use of their land and hence did not fight to get the land back.
Happy Life Turned Upside Down
After the persecution of Falun Gong started in July 1999, the Zhang family became the key target of village officials. Five people were sent to monitor their daily activities around the clock, and their neighbors were also asked by the authorities to keep an eye on them.
The police frequently harassed the family and threatened to arrest them if they didn't give up practising Falun Gong.
The older Mr. Zhang was arrested on April 8, 2002. Dong Fei, the head of the Domestic Security Division, restrained him in a chair. Dong and two other officers slapped him in the face, stomped on his toes with their boots, and beat him with a rubber stick with thorns.
Two of Mr. Zhang's front teeth were knocked out. All of his other teeth later loosened and fell out one after another.
One day after Mr. Zhang's arrest, the police confiscated valuable items in his home, including a TV, a sewing machine, two tape recorders and a fan. As soon as the officers left Mr. Zhang's house, they set up a stall on the street and began to sell these items to passersby.
The police kept Mr. Zhang at the local detention centre for 60 days and extorted 3,400 yuan from his wife.
Staff members from the local 610 Office, education bureau and village administration went to Mr. Zhang's home in October 2003 and attempted to force him to write a statement to renounce Falun Gong. When he refused, Wang Dali, the deputy director of the local education bureau, fined him 3,000 yuan and suspended his pension.
Because he lost his pension, Mr. Zhang and his wife, both in their 60s at the time, were forced to do odd jobs to support themselves.
Shortly after Mr. Zhang's arrest in 2002, the police also arrested his wife and son around midnight on April 24, 2002. The mother and son were then taken to a local brainwashing centre and detained there for 30 and 45 days, respectively. They were also extorted out of 850 yuan.
Despite the disability in his leg, the guards forced Mr. Zhang Lihua to run on gravel. They beat him with a stick when he slowed down, until the stick broke.
Mr. Zhang's daughter, Ms. Zhang Qinghua, who was working in Beijing, was arrested in January 2006 for calling the family of another practitioner who was incarcerated at a labour camp. The police, who had been monitoring her phone, ransacked her residence and confiscated her Falun Gong books and related materials. She was interrogated and beaten at the police station.
After one month of detention, Ms. Zhang was given two years of forced labor. She was first held at a detention facility in Beijing, where she fell into a delirious and incoherent state. Her limbs also became extremely weak, and she wasn't able to take care of herself.
Meanwhile, the authorities denied her family visits and tried to make them provide a certificate that Ms. Zhang had a preexisting mental disorder before her arrest.
Six months later, Ms. Zhang was transferred to a labour camp in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia. She was forced to package a large number of chopsticks every day and wasn't allowed to sleep if she couldn't finish the daily quota.
Her mental condition continued to deteriorate after she was released.
Family Members' Tragic Deaths
Mr. Zhang Lihua passed away after being unable to practise Falun Gong freely and having to constantly worry about being arrested. The exact time of his death is unknown at this time. Shortly afterwards, his mother, Ms. Gao, died on January 5, 2015.
Having lost two family members and without any income, the elder Mr. Zhang lived by himself and made ends meet with support from his relatives and friends. The police continued to harass him from time to time until he passed away in May 2019, at the age of 80.
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