China’s National Day—A Moment for Reflection
(Minghui.org) October 1 marked 70 years since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) took over China in 1949. As large scale celebrations take place across China in response to official orders, it is also a time for us take a moment to reflect on where we are.
There have been uncounted tragedies in the wake the CCP’s 70 years of political campaigns. Behind the celebratory balloons and ribbons loom arrests, detentions, torture, and separated families caused by the ongoing persecution against the peaceful meditation of Falun Gong, which started in July 1999.
From recent reports received by Minghui, one can get a glimpse of the suppression, which had extended to every corner of the country and all ages, including children. For example, when 76-year-old Mr. Yue Kejian and his wife, 73-year-old Ms. Li Youxiang, were arrested on August 30 of this year, police in Shanxi Province also took into custody their two sons and two daughters-in-law, as well as their daughter and son-in-law. Only a toddler grandson was left at home. Although most of the family members were released the next day, the elderly couple are still detained, with Mr. Yue in Gaoping Detention Center and Ms. Li in Jincheng Detention Center.
Many other elderly practitioners have become victims of the persecution. Ms. Cui Shuzhen, 66, from Shandong Province was arrested for talking with someone about Falun Gong when she was visiting her daughter in Zhejiang Province. The lawyer hired by the family requested her release, but it was denied. When he heard that his wife would be tried on September 17, Ms. Cui’s husband was so upset that he died of a stroke on the Moon Festival (September 13), ironically a time for family reunions. After their daughter handled his funeral, she hurried to attend her mother’s trial in Zhejiang since the two of them had not seen each other for six months. But officials barred her from the courtroom because she is a Falun Gong practitioner.
The mental and physical benefits of Falun Gong continue to attract people to the practice in spite of the persecution. One example is Ms. Li Liwen, 61, a former elementary school teacher from Jilin City in Jilin Province. Harmony reigned in her family after she started to practice. Although Falun Gong also increased her dedication to teaching and to higher ethical standards, she was repeatedly arrested and held in detention centers, forced labor camps, and brainwashing centers. After her most recent arrest on July 19 of this year, she was severely tortured in Jilin City Detention Center and ended up on a ventilator in the hospital. Her family has requested her release on medical parole, but was turned down.
Mr. Li Dewei, a businessman in Laixi City, Shandong Province, suffered from liver disease when he was 32. Medical bills depleted the family’s savings even as his condition worsened. He started to practice Falun Gong and fully recovered. He also improved his character. Nonetheless, he has been arrested numerous times, detained, and tortured. When he went out to purchase business supplies on September 20, two police officers arrested him and held him in Laixi Detention Center.
Another alarming trend in the recent human rights violations against practitioners has been the massive arrests of elderly practitioners. In the past year or so, 32 practitioners—all in their 60s or 70s—have been arrested and detained in Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi Province. Eight of them were sentenced to prison with terms of up to 10 years. Mostly recently, 11 elderly practitioners were arrested on September 7 and 8. Their homes were ransacked, and they were sent to detention centers. Directed by Shanxi Province Police Departments, this wave of arrests involved police from several regions including Taiyuan, Yingze, Wanbailin, and Jiancaoping.
Over 20 years have passed since the suppression began in July 1999. But it continues still, with 490 practitioners arrested in the first eight months this year, plus 513 hearings or trials. Besides lengthy prison terms, these practitioners were also fined large sums of money. Of 22 practitioners convicted with fines, 19 of them had to pay a total of 214,000 yuan.