52-Year-Old Man Dies After Ten Years of Imprisonment for Upholding His Faith in Falun Gong
(Minghui.org) Mr. Zhang Wei was emaciated and very weak when he was released in 2015 after serving a ten-year prison term for practicing Falun Gong. He contracted tuberculosis while imprisoned and had trouble breathing and often vomited blood.
After four years of suffering, he passed away on the afternoon of October 6, 2019. He was 52.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Mr. Zhang, a small business owner in Dalian City, Liaoning Province, was repeatedly targeted in the past 20 years for refusing to give up his faith. In addition to the lengthy prison sentence, he also served two terms of forced labor and subjected to various forms of torture.
Mr. Zhang was arrested in November 1999 and detained for 15 days for going to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong. He was seized again in December that year for doing Falun Gong exercises in public.
His third arrest took place on February 5, 2000 when he was found doing Falun Gong exercises at a public park and later given two years of forced labor.
Although he was released early, he was arrested again on June 10, 2001 and given another two years of forced labor on August 5, 2001.
Only two years after he was released, Mr. Zhang was arrested for the fifth time on October 13, 2005 for tapping into a local cable TV network to broadcast factual information about Falun Gong. He held a hunger strike to protest his detention at Liaoyang Detention Center. He went into a coma on multiple occasions, but his family's request for his release was repeatedly denied.
Mr. Zhang was sentenced to ten years by Liaoyang County Court in April 2006. By the time he was transferred to Yingkou Prison one month later, he had become so weak that he couldn’t walk on his own.
Mr. Zhang was later moved around between different prisons, including Panjin Prison, Dongling Prison and Tieling Prison, where he was subjected to continued abuse, including brutal beatings, electric shock torture, and being tied on a tiger bench.
He contracted tuberculosis at Panjin Prison. When he was transferred to Dongling Prison in July 2012, he already had pulmonary cavities in his lungs and also had difficulty breathing. Yet the prison authorities still attempted to force him to give up his faith.
Mr. Zhang was frequently hospitalized and sent to intensive care unit multiple times after he was released on October 12, 2015. In addition to the cavities in his lungs, he was also diagnosed with myasthenia gravis.
With Mr. Zhang’s condition, his wife became the sole breadwinner and they struggled to make ends meet.
Mr. Zhang wasn’t the only member in his family who was persecuted for practicing Falun Gong. His mother, Ms. Wang Xiuxiang, 77, is still serving a three-year term at Liaoning Women’s Prison at the time of his death.
His wife, Ms. Chen Mei, served a three-year prison term between 2007 and 2010. His father, Mr. Zhang Ximing also served two years at Dalian Forced Labor Camp.