Wife of Falun Gong Practitioner Fights to Free Husband, Dies From Prison Abuse
In a direct challenge to the Communist state, a woman from Hebei province endured multiple arrests, publicly exposed torture and risked it all in efforts to save her husband.
Ms. Zhou Xiuzhen, the wife of a Falun Gong practitioner, passed away on April 19, 2020, as a result of severe physical abuse in prison and subsequent police harassment. She did not practice Falun Gong herself.
Her husband, Mr. Bian Lichao, an “Outstanding Employee” at the Kailuan Tenth Middle School in Tangshan City, Hebei Province, had been sentenced to 12 years for practicing Falun Gong.
On February 25, 2012, when police arrested Ms. Zhou’s husband, they ransacked her home, stole a large amount of her possessions, extorted 100,000 yuan from her (about $15,000 USD), then arrested her for being affiliated with him.
According to Minghui.org, when her husband was detained, police accused him with false evidence and threatened to harm his wife and daughter if he denied the charges. Under severe coercion, he plead guilty.
Ms. Zhou was released after being arbitrarily detained for 10 days. Communist authorities formally tried her husband on July 26, 2012 and gave him a 12-year prison term for his faith in Falun Gong.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is an ancient spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) since 1999.
Only three months into his term at Shijiazhuang Prison, severe torture caused Ms. Zhou’s husband to became emaciated and to develop high blood pressure. He also suffered a heart problem that the doctor said could result in death at any moment.
Mom and Daughter Take on the CCP
Deeply worried about his condition and putting herself at great risk, Ms. Zhou set out to rescue her husband with the help of their daughter, 23-year-old college graduate Ms. Bian Xiaohui.
In the months following her husband’s arrest, Ms. Zhou studied the law and realized he was not guilty of any crime. She thus sought out and hired a defense lawyer to represent him.
Upon learning this, the authorities of Tangshan Eleventh Middle School where Ms. Zhou worked began to place severe pressure on her, attempting to force her to fire the lawyer and divorce her husband, saying she needed to “take a stand with the CCP against Falun Gong.”
Ms. Zhou responded by writing open letters to government agencies to seek justice for her husband, and frequented the local police station with her daughter.
Minghui.org stated that after being rejected from visiting her husband several times at Shijiazhuang prison, on March 5, 2012, Ms. Zhou and her lawyer were allowed inside. Upon entering, however, police denied visitation, threatened her lawyer and tore up his legal letter.
On April 22, 2013, after several failed attempts, she was able to visit him. Her husband had to be carried by three guards to the meeting area since he could barely walk, and told her, “Every time we meet could be our farewell.”
A Final Stand
Ms. Zhou and her daughter then widely exposed the torture her husband was suffering and appealed for public support, angering Shijiazhuang prison. During a visit on July 16, 2013, the head of the 28th prison ward, Yue Yuhai, threatened to arrest them with armed guards.
Then on March 12, 2014, Ms. Zhou’s 23-year-old daughter stood in front of the prison and unfolded a banner that read, “I want to see my father.”
She was arrested, detained at Shijiazhuang No.2 Detention Center, and forced to sleep in a room with no bed for 26 days.
The very next day after her daughter’s arrest, Ms. Zhou was arrested at home, on March 13, 2014.
On August 5, 2014, Ms. Zhou was tried at Tangshan’s Lunan District Court and accused of publishing information about her husband’s arrest.
The court sentenced Ms. Zhou to four years in August 2014, while Qiaodong District Court sentenced her daughter to three and a half years in April 2015.
Both served time in Hebei Province Women’s Prison—Ms. Zhou was held in the 9th ward, her daughter in the 14th.
According to Minghui.org, due to severe prison abuse, Ms. Zhou soon suffered from symptoms of serious fluid accumulation around her liver which caused abdominal swelling, and had to be rushed to Hebei Provincial Women’s Hospital.
Chased Across the Country
Upon being released on medical parole, Ms. Zhou stayed at her sister’s home in Langfang city. The police followed her there from her hometown in Tangshan, 100 miles away, and continued to harass and threaten her.
Living under tremendous fear and pressure, her condition continued to deteriorate, and several times she had to be rushed to the hospital for resuscitation.
During this time, Ms. Zhou tried to seek better medical treatment from hospitals in Beijing, but the Tangshan police blocked her from doing so and continued to harass her.
As reported by Minghui.org, her daughter was also constantly harassed by Tangshan police upon being released. After getting married and moving to Linfen City in Shanxi Province, Tangshan police located her, traveled 550 miles there, then forced her landlord to terminate her lease.
The constant persecution of Ms. Zhou and her family left her in continual distress. She never recovered from her condition and passed away on April 19, 2020.
Her husband, Mr. Bian Lichao, is still serving out a 12-year sentence at Shijiazhuang Prison for practicing Falun Gong.