(Minghui.org) In the name of maintaining stability, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials often arrest Falun Gong practitioners around major holidays. This was once again the case on October 1 of this year for the 70th anniversary of the CCP's rule over China.

Clusters of arrests occurred in northern provinces such as Shandong, Shanxi, Anhui, Liaoning, Jilin, and Heilongjiang. This article will focus on Shandong Province. In its capital city, Jinan, nearly 30 practitioners have been arrested since June. Most of them are still being held in the Jinan Detention Center at the time of writing.

As many families were preparing for work or school at 7 a.m. on September 19, 2019, numerous practitioners heard their doors being pounded on by police. These plainclothes officers had been waiting for them since the night before. When these practitioners would refuse to open the door, the officers would force open the lock and break in. During the subsequent ransacking, the practitioners' Falun Gong materials, computers, and printers were all taken away.

At least 10 practitioners were arrested on that day including Ms. Liu Xiaohui (55), Ms. Liu Zhixiu (58), Mr. Wu Junfeng (49), Ms. Sun Quandong (in her 40s), Ms. Sun Yanfang, Ms. Zhao Jianmei, Mr. Yu Zongping (58), Ms. Li Guizhen (65), Ms. Wang Shuying (65), and Mr. Ding Deshun (about 58).

Among them, three practitioners have returned home for health reasons or the need to take care of elderly parents. The remaining 7 practitioners are still being detained at the Jinan Detention Center. They are Mr. Wu, Ms. Liu Xiaohui, Ms. Liu Zhixiu, Ms. Sun Quandong, Ms. Li, Ms. Wang, and Mr. Yu – all from the Tianqiao District.

Several agencies in Tianqiao District led the arrests, including the Tianqiao Political and Legal Affairs Committee (PLAC), the Tianqiao 610 Office, and the Tianqiao Police Department (Domestic Security Division). The following agencies were also involved: the Jinan Police Department, Yaoshan Police Station, Xincheng Police Station, Dikoulu Police Station, Luokou Police Station, Beitan Police Station, and Yaojia Police Station.

Lessons from Predecessors

For the officials who have actively participated in the persecution, they may find that persecuting innocent, peaceful Falun Gong practitioners does come with a cost. This happened to Yi Shijin.

Yi, former director of the Tianqiao Police Department, was arrested on November 16, 2018. He was removed from his position in the same month. About 16 million yuan was confiscated from his home, and media reports in May 2019 indicated that Yi had been charged. Later on, he was sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment with a fine of 800,000 yuan.

Prior to becoming director of the Tianqiao Police Department, Yi was the police chief of Baoshan and Huaiyin. Under his supervision, 34-year-old practitioner Mr. Liu Hongxiang died from torture. The Baoshan police arrested and detained many practitioners for filing criminal complaints against the former communist leader Jiang Zemin for persecuting Falun Gong. Among them, Ms. Li Jianmei was sentenced to a 9-year imprisonment despite having a disability. Mr. Liu Sitang, a retired engineer from Jinan Steel Group, was sentenced twice to 5.5 and 3 years, respectively.

Yi was not alone. Li Fangming, former director of the Political Department at the Jinan Justice Bureau, had followed his orders to persecute Falun Gong closely. Whenever officers were promoted, they were required by Li to fill in forms that defamed Falun Gong. After his sudden death while in the office in April 2013, some interpreted this and his wife’s earlier death as karmic retribution for his bad deeds.

The Illegality of the Persecution

Practicing Falun Gong is protected by the right to freedom of belief and speech according to the Chinese Constitution. The unlawful arrests, detention, and torture violate many articles of Chinese Criminal Law and Chinese Criminal Procedure Law.

For example, when police arrested practitioners on September 19, 2019, they monitored and followed practitioners, and then arrested numerous practitioners at the same time. Such arrests had no warrant or evidence, and they are illegal. Without having obtained search warrants, they searched practitioners’ residences and confiscated Falun Gong materials and other personal property, which is also illegal.

Moreover, the practice of Falun Gong has improved practitioners’ physical health and moral character, and benefited society at large. The ban on the publication of Falun Gong books was lifted by Announcement 50 from the General Administration of Press and Publication issued on March 1, 2011. Therefore, owning Falun Gong books and materials is lawful.

Western Countries' Tightened Policies Against Human Rights Violators in China

The suppression of Falun Gong has also drawn scrutiny in the international community. An official from the U.S. State Department said earlier this year that 28 countries had passed or planned to enact laws similar to the U.S. Global Magnitsky Act. Such laws would allow a government to sanction any foreign government officials for human rights abuses. It includes the right to deny these officials entry and the right to freeze both their assets and financial transactions.

Last December, Falun Gong practitioners in Canada submitted a list of perpetrators related to the persecution of Falun Gong to the Canadian government based on Canada's Magnitsky Act, requesting that the perpetrators be denied visas and have their assets in Canada frozen. In July 2019, practitioners in the U.S. submitted their list (including perpetrators from various regions, professions, and government levels) to the U.S. State Department, requesting their visa denial.

In September, Falun Gong practitioners in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia submitted to their respective governments an identical list of perpetrators who have participated in the persecution of Falun Gong in China. The practitioners requested that these human rights violators be denied visas and have their financial assets frozen.

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