Married Couple Severely Persecuted for Their Faith
(Minghui.org) A married couple in Hejiang County, Sichuan Province was targeted for filing criminal complaints against former Chinese communist party leader Jiang Zemin for launching the persecuting of Falun Gong. The wife was arrested in November 2015 and later sentenced to five years in prison. The husband escaped arrest but was forced to live away from home for more than two years.
Hours after Mr. Xia Chenghui finally returned home on March 6, 2018, he was arrested, interrogated, and detained. The police released him on bail 15 days later when he became critically ill. He gradually recovered at home by practicing Falun Gong, but the police continued to harass him. Most recently, they showed up at his home on December 26, 2018, and threatened to throw him in jail if he still refused to renounce his belief.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a meditation system based on gentle exercises and the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Since Jiang started to suppress the group in July 1999, countless practitioners have been arrested, detained and tortured for upholding their belief.
Wife Imprisoned and Tortured
Mr. Xia and his wife Ms. Liu Xiaolin are both elementary school teachers. After they submitted criminal complaints against Jiang in November 2015, local officials interrogated them and attempted to force them to withdraw the complaints. When the couple refused, officials sent Ms. Liu to brainwashing followed by detention at the Naxi Detention Center. Mr. Xia fled to evade the persecution.
During her trial on October 14, 2016, Ms. Liu was sentenced to five years in Longquan Prison. There she has been subjected to various forms of abuse, including starvation, being exposed to the elements, being forced to stand still for extended periods of time, and sleep deprivation. As a result, Ms. Liu has become emaciated and she is often in a semi-conscious state.
Husband Arrested Hours Upon Returning Home
Mr. Xia was forced to stay away from home for two years. He became severely ill while homeless and moving from place to place. Emaciated and pale, he returned home on March 6, 2018 and lay in bed, exhausted. At around 11 a.m. that same day, four officers from the Jiuzhi Police Station and several local officials took Mr. Xia to the station for interrogation. They also confiscated the 6,000 yuan he had on him.
Later that afternoon, Deng, chief of the police station, arrived with Ren Wei, head of the Domestic Security Office of the Hejiang Police Department, to continue the interrogation. They demanded to know where Mr. Xia had been for the past two years and whom he had contacted.
Mr. Xia told them that he was having severe stomachache, but they did not send him to the hospital for an examination until that evening. Afterward, he was taken to a detention center.
During the 15 days that Mr. Xia was detained, he underwent three physical examinations in a hospital. The cost of 3,000 yuan was deducted from the 6,000 yuan confiscated from him. Mr. Xia was so weak that a colonoscopy was considered high risk for him. He was eventually diagnosed with intestinal tuberculosis.
Mr. Xia's health continued to deteriorate despite medication, and he began to lose his hair. Officer Ren still came to the detention center frequently to interrogate him.
Recovery and Continued Harassment
When it became clear that Mr. Xia was on the verge of death after the 15-day detention, the police called his elderly mother to pick him up. Their hometown hospital initially refused to admit Mr. Xia because of his precarious condition. They later agreed to try to treat him after repeated requests from his family.
Mr. Xia didn't see much improvement after 15 days of hospitalization and bills totaling more than 6,000 yuan. He decided to return home and put his faith in Falun Gong. Through reading the Falun Gong teachings and doing the exercises, he gradually began to recover—he regained his strength and he was able to gain some weight.
The police had been monitoring Mr. Xia since he returned home. Seeing him almost recovered by November 2018, officer Ren demanded that he write a statement renouncing his belief in Falun Gong.
After Mr. Xia refused, Ren and several other officers returned in a few days. “If you give up your belief, you'll receive a lighter sentence; otherwise, the consequence will be very grave,” threatened one officer. “You know, your wife has already been sentenced to five years.”
When Ren and the other officers came again on December 26, Mr. Xia handed them a letter stating his determination to continue practicing Falun Gong. He declared, “Both my wife and I are teachers. But now, my wife is wrongly detained in prison while I became extremely ill because of the persecution. My mother, who is sick and in her 70s, has to struggle every day to make a living for the family... We are innocent. Please leave us alone.”
But the officers did not relent. They threatened to come by every few days to continue pressing Mr. Xia to renounce his faith. They said that if that failed to make him yield, they'd forward his case to the local Procuratorate for prosecution.