Falun Gong practitioners were arrested for gathering at home. The police also detained their lawyer and confiscated his computer.
Falun Gong Practitioners and Defense Attorney Arrested in Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province
In late February 2009, eight Falun Gong practitioners and members of their families were arrested by the police in Harbin City. Three of the practitioners are still being detained. The police have refused to release them or to permit relatives or friends to visit them. Mr. Wei Liangyue, an attorney and the husband of practitioner Ms. Du Yongjing, was also arrested. Mr. Wei had provided legal representation for Falun Gong practitioners, for which he had been threatened by CCP agents.
On the morning of February 28, 2009, in the residential area of the Investment Professional School in Nangang District, Harbin Cty, Heilongjiang Province, when practitioner Mr. Su Zhigang was hosting a gathering with some practitioner friends, the police suddenly broke the lock and forcibly entered his home. They shackled the young men and brutally beat Ms. Du Yongjing. In addition, the police took routine photos of the house before ransacking it and seizing Mr. Su's possessions, including 5,000 yuan in cash and his new car.
The police arrested Mr. Su, Ms. Du, Mr. Shi Yong, Mr. Du Xuejun, Mr. Li Xu, Mr. Wuge, and Ms. Du's husband, Mr. Wei, and held them in the district detention center. On March 20, they released some of the practitioners, but Mr. Su, Ms. Du, and Mr. Wei remain in custody.
After the arrest, the police did not inform the family members. As a result, the practitioners' families and co-workers had no idea where they were.
Ms. Du, 38, is a manager at the headquarters of Tianma International Travel Corporation in Heilongjiang Province. When the general manager learned that Ms. Du had been absent for several days without explanation, he sent people to look for her, but they were unable to find her. Over ten days later, he learned from her family members that she had been arrested. Ms. Du's arrest left her department in a state of chaos. Service for foreign travelers was seriously impacted and the corporation suffered economic loss. The general manager stayed in touch with police, hoping to resolve the problem quickly.
Mr. Wei graduated from Jilin University with a degree in law. He is a high-ranking lawyer and the director of Jiaodian Law Firm in Heilongjiang Province. Since 2008, at great personal risk, Mr. Wei has been defending Falun Gong practitioners who are persecuted by CCP. He has presented their defense on the basis of the law and the facts, and he has been widely praised by his clients and their families.
The police, the court and the 610 Office in Harbin City have warned Mr. Wei on numerous occasions not to provide legal representation for Falun Gong practitioners. In addition, the police conducted a secret investigation of Mr. Wei and confiscated his computer's hard disk, which contained the defense strategies for his Falun Gong clients.