(Minghui.org) Mr. and Ms. Zhang Xinghe are Falun Gong practitioners from Xiyao Village, Wenkou Town, Tai'an City, Shandong Province. They have been repeatedly arrested, detained, and incarcerated since the Chinese communist regime banned Falun Gong in 1999, which is in violation of China's Constitution. According to the latest information, Mr. Zhang was sentenced to a four-year prison term in July 2013.

Mr. Zhang Xinghe used to suffer from severe stomach problems and varicose veins, and was often seen walking with one hand on the wall and the other over his stomach. He was so ill that he had become a walking skeleton. He became completely healthy and energetic after he began practicing Falun Gong. Even his eyesight improved without medical treatment.

Ms. Zhang (or Feng Yuelan) used to suffer from a myriad of illnesses, including breast cancer, uterine tumors, lymph tumor, sciatica, anemia, neurasthenia, enteritis, skin diseases, and gynecological disease. She had to borrow a lot of money to pay for her medical treatments. No one would lend her any money when she was getting worse, and she thus resigned to her fate. Yet she became completely well within one month after practicing Falun Gong.

Allegedly threatened by Falun Gong's popularity in China, the Chinese communist regime announced its decision to ban Falun Gong on July 20, 1999, despite the country's own constitution that guarantees its citizens the freedom of spiritual belief.

The local police checked on each and every Falun Gong practitioner in town and made them watch the regime's hate propaganda against Falun Gong. Ms. Zhang was arrested for refusing to renounce Falun Gong. She faced police interrogation and was forced to hand in her Falun Gong books.

Ms. Zhang went to Beijing three times to appeal for her right to practice Falun Gong, but was arrested each time. When she went to Beijing in late 2000, she was arrested and chained outside to window bars when the ground was frozen and covered with snow. She was also denied the use of a bathroom. While transferring her back to her hometown, the police forced her to spend two nights sleeping on the ground. Once back in Wenkou Town, she spent another night chained to a window while in police custody.

Ms. Zhang was arrested in January 2001 and sentenced to three years in the Shandong Women's Forced Labor Camp. She was subjected to forced brainwashing, beatings, and other physical punishment. She was once beaten up by three women over the course of two days, under the orders of prison guards. She was also made to work as a slave producing quilts and embroidery, made to get up at 5:00 a.m., and work until midnight or even later. The slave labor took a severe toll on her health.

Mr. Zhang was arrested while he was handing out materials containing facts about Falun Gong, after someone reported him to the police. He was in police custody for a week, until his family bribed the police at Wenkou Town Police Station.

Mr. Zhang was arrested again in August 2006 when he was handing out informational materials about Falun Gong. The police ransacked his home and confiscated his computer, television, DVD player, as well as Falun Gong books, materials, and DVDs. He was sentenced to two years in the Wangcun Forced Labor Camp, where he was subjected to forced brainwashing, forced to sit on a small stool for long hours, hung by handcuffs, and forced to perform slave labor.

After Mr. Zhang was arrested, Wenkou Town Police asked Ms. Zhang to sign a document to acknowledge that her husband had been sent to a forced labor camp. When she refused to sign, the police began to harass her. She had no choice but to flee her home and go into hiding. She was homeless for three weeks and had to beg for food.

When she finally returned home, she had to take care of her paralyzed father-in-law alone while facing discrimination from people who had fallen prey to the regime's hate-filled propaganda against Falun Gong. Some villagers spied on her under orders from the police, and officers were seen patrolling near her home at night.

When Mr. Zhang had served two years in the camp, he was escorted home by the local police and the village mayor. But they refused to leave until they extorted 300 yuan from him.

Mr. Zhang was arrested again on December 28, 2012 while he was handing out 2013 calendars which contained messages about Falun Gong. The police ransacked his home and confiscated his computer, printer, DVD burner, Falun Gong books and truth-clarification materials, and 200 yuan in cash. The police also confiscated his electric bicycle. Mr. Zhang was detained in the Tai'an City Detention Center, and Ms. Zhang was detained at the Wenkou Town Police Station. She was released at 5:00 p.m., but Mr. Zhang remains incarcerated.

Mr. Zhang was tried at Daiyue District Court on May 2, 2013. His family hired Mr. Zhang Xinghe, an attorney from Beijing, to represent him in court. The attorney quoted Article 36 of China's Constitution that guarantees all Chinese citizens the freedom of spiritual belief, yet the presiding judge Min Xia found Mr. Zhang guilty as charged and sentenced him to four years in prison. Mr. Zhang's attorney filed an appeal for him. He currently remains detained at the Tai'an City Detention Center.