Family Rescue Cases
Among Falun Gong practitioners persecuted in China, a number of them have family members residing in the United States. In at least one recent case, the relative of a U.S. resident is known to have been killed in custody. The following are a sample of such cases.
Ms. Deng Cuiping
Florida: Plainclothes policemen in Yunnan Province abducted Deng Cuiping in July, 2016. In early 2017, she was sentenced after a sham trial to six years in prison for telling people about the persecution of Falun Gong, including three years of torture she had personally endured in 2006-2009. Her daughter, Iris Lu, lives in Florida. She continues to call for her mother’s release. An article detailing her mother’s ordeal was published in USA Today ahead of Mother’s Day in 2017. In 2019, the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China demanded Deng’s release. Deng remains imprisoned today and under tight supervision with limited access to family visits due to the pandemic and her refusal to renounce her faith.
Ms. Cao Zhimin and her daughter Grace Fayuan Chen
New York: (1) Chen Yang and Cao Zhimin are Falun Gong practitioners from Hunan Province. Their teenage daughter Grace Fayuan Chen studies in New York. On October 26, 2020, Chen and Cao were detained as part of a mass-arrest of 21 Falun Gong practitioners in Changsha, Hunan province while studying the teachings of Falun Gong together in an activity resembling Bible study. According to their daughter, the extended family has been unable to reach her parents at the detention centers since they were detained. Lawyers hired by the family were pressured by their law firms or local Hunan justice bureaus to withdraw from the case, and were stonewalled by Liuyang Police Department and the Liuyang Procuratorate. As of December 2021, Cao is detained in Changsha City Fourth (Women’s) Detention Center and Chen’s location is unknown.
Ren Haifei and his wife Wang Jing
(2) Ren Haifei and Sun Zhongli were sentenced to ten and seven years with 100,000- and 700,000-yuan fines, respectively, on October 14, 2021 for practicing Falun Gong. Both Ren and Sun, residents of Dalian City, Liaoning Province, were arrested on June 26, 2020 by officers of the Ganjingzi Police Station and Domestic Security Office. The police confiscated 500,000 yuan (US$76,120) in cash and computer supplies worth more than US$30,000 from Ren’s apartment. They also located his car and confiscated 50,000 yuan (US$7,600) in cash found in the vehicle. While in custody, Ren, 46, was hospitalized for 19 days, after he suffered heart and kidney failure due to savage beatings by the police.
On July 1, 2020, Ren’s wife, Wang Jing, also a Falun Gong practitioner who is currently living in New York City, protested in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York and demanded her husband's immediate release. Prior to his latest term, Ren was sentenced to 7.5 years in 2001 for talking to people about Falun Gong. He was severely tortured at Huazi Prison in Liaoyang and then at Dalian Prison. By the time he was released in September 2008, Ren, then 33, had become so weak and emaciated that his family almost couldn’t recognize him. Yet he had to stay away from home to avoid further harassment.
Xie Jianxin (right), Zhao Renyuan (center), and Zhao's sister Wendy Zhao (left)
Ohio: On February 5, 2020, Xie Jianxin and his wife, Zhao Renyuan, were arrested by the police from Guilin Qixing police station under the excuse of “checking their body temperatures .” The officers confiscated Falun Gong books and other related paraphernalia. On February 8, 2020, the police admitted that they were arrested for handing out Falun Gong materials. Zhao’s older sister, Wendy Zhao, currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Ms. Wang Chumei and her family
Virginia: On May 27, 2020, Wang Chunmei was arrested by Kaiyuan City police for talking to people about Falun Gong and was indicted on June 10, 2020. On December 9, 2020, Wang was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison and was transferred to Second Women’s Prison of Yunnan Province around late February or early March in 2021. Wang’s son, Chen Ma currently lives in Herndon, Virginia.
Ms. Ji Yunzhi and her son Simon
New York: Ji Yunzhi was arrested on Chinese New Year’s Day, February 1, 2022. Her son Simon, an architect in New York, campaigned to American lawmakers like Senator Rick Scott for her immediate release. But unfortunately, 66-year old Ji died seven weeks later. It is suspected that she was beaten to death in the detention center. Family members witnessed Ji’s “esophagus cut open and her face and shoulder stained with blood” when they went to see her body.
After hearing about her sudden death, U.S. Senator Rick Scott issued a formal statement on March 29 declaring, “Beijing’s gross campaign against Falun Gong practitioners has gone on for far too long, and its latest victim is an innocent woman who was simply living out her beliefs in the face of Communist China’s oppressive authoritarian regime. My heart breaks for Simon and his father dealing with this tragic and senseless loss."
Ms. Meng Hong
California: Meng Hong from Heilongjiang Province, whose daughter resides in California, died abruptly in July 2019 near the end of a seven-year prison sentence. Meng was first abducted in 2004 for putting up a poster about Falun Gong and then again in 2012 for distributing literature about the practice, Meng had previously been discharged on medical parole after both detentions on account of her advanced age. But police abducted her from her home in 2013 again for no known reason. She was later sentenced to seven years in prison.
During the summer of 2019, Meng’s daughter, Li Xuesong, a resident of San Francisco, learned that family members living in China received a call from the Heilongjiang Women’s Prison on July 26, 2019 that Meng was being moved to a nearby hospital to undergo treatment for high blood pressure. When they reached the hospital, however, a family member said that Meng had already died by the time she arrived. She died at the age of 79, just nine months before her scheduled release.