(Minghui.org) As the Chinese communist regime’s persecution of Falun Gong continues into 2018, thirty more Falun Gong practitioners are reported to have died in the year prior as a result of the persecution. All of them had been given prison sentences for refusing to renounce their faith. Some died while still imprisoned, while others perished after they were released either on medical parole or after their terms were completed.

This brings the total death toll in 2017 to 72. An earlier report, “Minghui Report: 25 More Lives Lost in Persecution of Falun Gong in Second Half of 2017, Bringing Total for Year to 42” details the 42 already reported cases.

This report focuses on the 30 newly discovered cases. Except for six practitioners whose prison sentences remain to be investigated, all others were given terms ranging from 1 to 7 years, with an average of 4 years. Many of them suffered irreversible damage after being abused both physically and mentally.

Imprisoned Woman Dies of Abuse, Family Pressured to Sign Waiver of Liability

A Tianjin woman died while imprisoned for distributing materials about the Chinese communist regime’s persecution of Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Her family, however, was forced to waive their legal right to seek justice for her.

Ms. Chen Ruiqin was arrested on May 16, 2014 and sentenced to 4.5 years in 2015. She was soon moved to Tianjin Women’s Prison, where she was subjected to various forms of abuse. Her health kept declining, and the 44-year-old perished around early February 2017.

The prison authorities never informed Ms. Chen’s family of her condition. Even today, her loved ones still don’t know when exactly she passed away. When they were finally notified of her death, they were not allowed to examine her body or order an independent autopsy. They remained at the prison for four days before succumbing to pressure and agreeing to have Ms. Chen’s body cremated and forgo their legal claims against the prison.

According to insiders, prison guards used the following means to abuse Ms. Chen:

Forcing her to stand for long periods of time without moving;Not allowing her to use the restroom or clean herself up after she soiled her pants;Pinching her nipples and touching her genitals;Stomping on her toes, causing profuse bleeding;Beating her and leaving bruises all over her body;Splashing hot water onto her face;Forcing her to drink urine and eat feces.

Ms. Chen’s cellmates complained about the smell, but the guards still refused to let her use the restroom or clean herself. The cellmates had to keep the window open in the winter to let the odor out. After a period of time, the guards finally allowed Ms. Chen to rinse herself with cold water once in a while.

Psychological manipulation was also employed to weaken Ms. Chen’s willpower. Guards deceived her family into believing that she only cared about practicing Falun Gong and had no interest in the family’s well-being. Her family then blamed her for causing them to live in fear over the years and asked her to renounce her faith.

Ms. Chen had a seizure at one point and was led to say that she’d given up her belief, but she recanted her statement as soon as she regained her composure.

Woman Released from Prison in Vegetative State Dies Five Months Later

Ms. Wang Yanqiu of Jinzhou City, Liaoning Province was sentenced to 4 years in prison in 2014. She was beaten on a regular basis while held at Liaoning Province Women’s Prison. She had a stroke and remained in a vegetative state for one month before the prison released her on medical parole. She died on December 29, 2017. She was 56.

Shandong Woman Dies Six Months after Being Released from Prison

Ms. Wang Haohong, a resident in Zhaoyuan City, was sentenced to seven years in 2009 and brutally tortured in Shandong Province Women’s Prison. She was also given unknown drugs. Six months after she was released, she suddenly developed severe symptoms and died on June 16, 2017.

Drugged in Prison, Beijing Woman Dies at 40

Ms. Xu Xiuhong, a Beijing resident, once served five years in prison, during which time she was given unknown drugs. She was arrested again in 2016 and detained for three months. Her family noted that she exhibited symptoms consistent with those she suffered during her first imprisonment. She died on April 2, 2017.

Download full list of the 30 newly reported deaths