(Minghui.org) A fruit vendor in Laixi City, Shandong Province was arrested on September 20, 2019, for his faith in Falun Gong, a body and mind improvement system currently persecuted in China. 

Mr. Li Dewei lost contact with his family at around 11:00 a.m. on that day and was seen being taken away by two officers at around 5:00 p.m. He is currently being detained in the Laixi City Detention Center. 

This is the eighth time that Mr. Li has been arrested for his faith. He was physically abused, starved, and forced to perform long hours of intensive labor during his previous detentions.

Mr. Li was diagnosed with liver failure before he took up Falun Gong, and spent all of his fortune on treatments, none of which helped. His mother introduced him to Falun Gong in 1996, and by following the principles of the practice he’s been healthy since. 

Mr. Li went to Beijing to protest the persecution in November 1999, four months after the communist regime ordered the suppression campaign. The Beijing police arrested him and fiercely beat him with rubber clubs. Two of his ribs were broken and he was covered in bruises.

He was arrested again a month later. This time an officer hit his face with a wooden baton, causing profuse bleeding. He was also forced to walk barefoot in the snow. The officer beat him if he slowed down. He was released after three weeks. 

Officers from the Yunshan Police Station arrested him in spring 2000 and put him in the Laixi Detention Center for nearly 20 days. While detained his hands were cuffed behind his back for an hour, resulting in excruciating pain.

Torture illustration: handcuffed behind the back

A few months later, in July 2000, Mr. Li was arrested a fourth time for appealing for Falun Gong. He was taken back into Laixi Detention Center. To protest the relentless persecution, he went on a hunger strike for three weeks. His weight dropped to 100 pounds. He was ordered to pay several hundred yuan for living expense before being released. 

Within three months, he was taken into police custody for giving out Falun Gong fliers. Two officers interrogated him throughout the night. They beat him, stepped on his handcuffs, forced him to kneel down, and beat his ankles with wooden batons until he passed out. He was transferred to a detention center and forced to work, removing shells from large bags of peanuts until midnight every day. 

He was arrested a sixth time on March 28, 2002 and taken to Laixi Detention Center, where he was forced to sort sun-dried peppers for 18 hours per day. 

The police attempted to arrest him again in 2005. They scaled his fence and broke into his home in the middle of the night. All of his Falun Gong books were confiscated. When Mr. Li escaped after another nighttime break-in, the police shot at him from behind.

Mr. Li was arrested again for talking to people about Falun Gong on February 8, 2012. While he was incarcerated at the Pingdu Detention Center, the guards forced him to sort dry peppers again. If he couldn't finish the daily quota, he was beaten and not allowed to eat or use the restroom.

His fingers blistered and bled a few days later. As he could no longer work as fast, the guards had other prisoners beat him until he bled profusely. He fell and almost choked on his own blood. 

He was transferred to Shandong Brainwashing Center a month later, where he was also tortured. Two weeks later he was released, only to be harassed by police the very next day. A dozen police officers ransacked his house and confiscated his belongings, including Falun Gong related materials and 13,000 yuan in cash.