Imprisoned Once for 5 Years, Former Government Employee Jailed Again for His Faith
(Minghui.org) A former employee of Jingmen City Land Tax Bureau is serving time again for his faith in the same prison where he was incarcerated more than a decade ago.
Mr. Meng Xianglong was first arrested in December 1999, two months after the Chinese communist regime launched a nationwide persecution campaign against Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
He was sentenced to five years in prison on January 13, 2001, without his family's knowledge. They didn't find out about his conviction until one week later. While held at Fanjiatai Prison, he was forced to do hard labor without pay in a brick kiln and often became dehydrated due to lack of drinking water.
The tax bureau where Mr. Meng worked fired him after he was released from prison. He started his own company, which had to be shut down when he was arrested a second time on March 19, 2015.
Mr. Meng appeared in court on November 3, 2015, and his two lawyers defended his constitutional right to freedom of belief. The presiding judge adjourned the session without issuing a verdict. Mr. Meng's family learned the following year that he had been sentenced to 4.5 years and sent to the same prison where he'd been incarcerated during his first term.
According to insiders, the local procuratorate had actually returned the case twice, citing insufficient evidence, but the Hubei Provincial 610 Office, an extra-legal agency tasked with eradicating Falun Gong and given the power to override the judicial system, pressured the procuratorate to press charges against Mr. Meng. The local court followed up by sentencing him to prison.
It is unclear why the provincial government targeted Mr. Meng specifically. The details of his case remain to be investigated.
In order to not implicate his family, Mr. Meng divorced his wife following his latest arrest. His brother and sister visited him the first time in late January 2017, during the Chinese New Year holiday. They visited him the second time on February 22, 2018, and were given 30 minutes to talk to him. He told them that he was forced to work in the prison cafeteria without pay.