Report Confirms 24 More Deaths of Falun Gong Practitioners Amid Ongoing Persecution in China

Report Confirms 24 More Deaths of Falun Gong Practitioners Amid Ongoing Persecution in China
Falun Gong practitioner Liu Dianyuan. (Courtesy of

A recent report confirmed the deaths of 24 Falun Gong practitioners who were persecuted for their faith, indicating that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continues to target the group.

“The newly confirmed deaths included one each in 2003, 2015, 2019, 2020, and 2021; four in 2023; and 15 between January and May 2024,” reported Minghui, a U.S.-based website dedicated to tracking the persecution of Falun Gong.

Due to the challenges in getting information out of communist China, Minghui stated in its June 3 report that those numbers are likely to be lower than the actual death toll.

Falun Gong, or Falun Dafa, is a traditional spiritual practice that combines meditation with moral teachings centered on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance. The practice gained popularity in China in the 1990s, with officials estimating that at least 70 million were practicing it by the decade’s end.

Viewing Falun Gong’s popularity as a threat, the CCP launched a nationwide persecution campaign in 1999. Since then, millions have been thrown into prisons, brainwashing centers, and labor camps in a bid to break their faith, according to the Falun Dafa Information Center.

In May, 71 Falun Gong adherents were sentenced for their faith, including 34 practitioners aged over 60, according to the data compiled by Minghui.

‘It’s Getting Worse’

Among the deceased adherents was Liu Dianyuan, 86, who had received an 11-and-a-half-year jail term in 2016 for practicing Falun Gong.

Mr. Liu was held in Shenyang No. 1 Prison in the northeastern Liaoning Province. He was already in poor health after serving a previous prison term and enduring multiple arrests. His health declined over the years, and he eventually passed away on Feb. 10, the first day of the Chinese New Year, a family member told Minghui.

According to Minghui, Mr. Liu was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2001 for practicing Falun Gong.

While detained, the prison guards forced him to work more than 10 hours each day. In one incident, he was “slapped six times in the face and then locked in solitary confinement for 10 months,” the Minghui report said. The guards also forced him to take more than 10 types of unknown drugs twice a day for nearly a year.

When Mr. Liu was released in 2008, he was reduced to “skin and bones” and “unable to stand up straight,” the report said. He was too weak to speak and was coughing up blood, it said.

Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), said that Mr. Liu was another victim who suffered at the hands of the CCP.

CCP leader Xi Jinping wants to “completely destroy Falun Gong practitioners” and uses “every means,” including forced organ harvesting, to achieve it, Mr. Smith said in an interview with The Epoch Times on May 16.

NTD Photo
Falun Gong practitioners take part in a parade to celebrate World Falun Dafa Day while calling for an end of the persecution in China, in New York City, on May 10, 2024. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

An independent tribunal held in London concluded in 2019 that forced organ harvesting had happened for years in China “on a significant scale,” and the primary source of organs was Falun Gong practitioners. The Chinese regime’s practice of killing prisoners of conscience to supply its transplant industry is ongoing.

Mr. Smith urged Congress to adopt a bill that would punish the CCP for its practice of forced organ harvesting. The House version of the legislation (H.R.1154) passed by a vote of 413–2 in March 2023, while the Senate version (S.761) has yet to advance out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee since it was introduced in 2023. Mr. Smith was the principal sponsor of the House bill.

“It’s a genocide against Falun Gong practitioners. It’s been ongoing. It’s getting worse,” he told The Epoch Times, noting that the groups targeted by the regime have expanded to the Christians, Tibetan Buddhists, and Uyghurs.

Under the CCP’s rule, China has emerged as a “big country of repression,” Mr. Smith said, calling the CCP leader “the chief jailer.”

Dorothy Li, Sherry Dong, and Frank Fang contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times