268 Falun Gong Practitioners Arrested in Beijing in 2014
(Minghui.org) In 2014, at least 268 Falun Gong practitioners were arrested in Beijing for their beliefs, according to data from published reports on the Minghui website. Because this count includes only confirmed reports that had overcome censorship in China, the actual number of arrests was likely far higher.
The arrests peaked during politically “sensitive” periods, such as the National People's Congress, the People's Political Consultative Conference in March, and the APEC (Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Summit in November.
Among the arrested, 24 were sentenced or are facing trial; 4 were released but had to leave home to escape further persecution; 26 were harassed by local police after being released; at least 41 were sent to brainwashing centers or detention centers; and 5 are missing. Many of the arrested practitioners are senior citizens, with several in their eighties.
Local police and “610 Office” agents often followed practitioners before arresting them; 65% of the arrests took place outside, while the other 35% took place in practitioners' homes.
Police often gain entrance to practitioners' homes under false pretenses. For example, groups of officers would cut off the electricity to practitioners' residences, then pretend to be repairmen sent by the electric company. In other cases, policemen broke into practitioners' homes by force.
Following arrests, police would almost always search and seize personal property from practitioners' homes, taking away Falun Gong books, flyers, and tools used to make the flyers, such as computers and printers. In addition, officers often seize cell phones and cash found in practitioners' homes.
Many of the arrested practitioners had been previously persecuted for practicing Falun Gong.
Wang Zhiwen, one of the first practitioners imprisoned when the Communist regime launched the persecution in 1999, was released in October 2014. However, he was immediately sent to a brainwashing center, where guards continued trying to force him to renounce his beliefs using physical and psychological torture.
A 50-year-old practitioner from Xicheng District in Beijing was recently arrested and sentenced to 4.5 years. She had previously been detained in a labor camp for 3 years and a prison for 8 years.
Within Beijing's 17 districts, 242 arrests took place in 2014. Fangshan District ranks first with 46 arrests, followed by Haidian District with 27 arrests. Twenty-six practitioners arrested in Beijing were from other cities.