The Persecution of Falun Gong Targets Every Area of Practitioners' Lives
(Minghui.org) In the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) unprecedented, brutal 21-year persecution of Falun Gong, Falun Gong practitioners have not only faced arbitrary arrest, detention, imprisonment, and torture, many of them have also been completely deprived of leading a normal life. Compared to physical torture, disruption of one's everyday living is more covert and permeates every aspect of life. Below are several examples.
Restrictions Around Sensitive Dates
The CCP often targets Falun Gong practitioners on a large scale around “sensitive dates” in attempts to prevent them from speaking out to the public about the persecution. Such sensitive dates include holidays, major political meetings, or anniversary days related to Falun Gong.
Typical sensitive dates include the annual meetings of the People's Congress and Political Consultative Conference, the CCP’s founding day October 1, New Year’s Day, Chinese New Year, April 25, May 13 (World Falun Dafa Day, marking the day that Falun Gong was introduced to the public), and July 20 (the day the CCP launched the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999).
Around these dates, the Chinese authorities deploy police and neighborhood personnel to search practitioners’ homes, arrest them, or force them to write statements to renounce Falun Gong.
For example, 51 practitioners across China were targeted on World Falun Dafa Day, May 13, 2020. Among them was Ms. Zhang Zhiwen of Henan Province, who was arrested from home and died within four days of detention, due to the police's negligence of her diabetic condition and not allowing her family to send in her insulin. Among these practitioners, Ms. Yang Shuxian of Yunnan Province, a professor at Kunming University of Science and Technology, was arrested at home. Her home was also ransacked.
Transportation and Lodging Monitored
The government has utilized modern information technology to monitor practitioners’ daily lives and movement. As known practitioners’ personal ID numbers are stored in a national police database, the police are notified once a practitioner tries to pass a road checkpoint or buy a ticket at the railroad station, bus station, or pier, whether it is around “sensitive dates” or not. They are detained immediately and sent back to their local authorities, and sometimes persecuted further in custody.
Take the railroad for instance. Once a practitioner purchases a ticket at the station, his or her name is flagged in the police database. According to police rules, such practitioners must be individually examined in an office. Their luggage, personal ID, and mobile phone pictures are searched and videotaped to keep on file. While riding on the train, they have to go through another round of search by the railroad police on board. Should any materials or information about Falun Gong be found, the police will detain the practitioner and subject them to further persecution.
When a practitioner checks into a hotel out of town, his or her ID will also be transferred back to both the local police and those in their hometown.
Ms. Cai Weihua of Heilongjiang Province was arrested on February 6, 2018, when she was trying to board a train to visit her parents for the Chinese New Year holiday, when the police discovered that she was a Falun Gong practitioner through her flagged ID. She was later sentenced to seven years in prison.
Ms. Xie Yanmin of Jiangsu Province was arrested as she checked into a hotel while on a business trip to Beijing in August 2009, when an ID check flagged her as a Falun Gong practitioner. She was detained in a labor camp for two years from 2009 to 2011 and in a brainwashing center for two months in 2010.
Telephone Communications Tapped
While modern communication tools have become an integral part of people’s everyday lives, the CCP has usurped these tools to carry out close surveillance of Falun Gong practitioners, via their home phones, mobile phones, and the internet. Once they discover any Falun Gong-related activities, further persecution follows.
A practitioner was a school principal, while her husband and daughter were both government officials. The police had her home phone tapped. After an acquaintance told her about it, she became very anxious and was under tremendous pressure. Although she was never arrested, she suffered a mental breakdown after years of pressure. She eventually gave up practicing Falun Gong. Multiple illnesses followed, and now she cannot take care of her day-to-day needs.
Ms. Zhai Zhihui, a 29-year-old dance teacher from Liaoning Province, started practicing Falun Gong in 2019. She sent mobile phone messages about Falun Gong to a friend using the social media app WeChat. Soon she was summoned to the local police station in early August 2019 and warned not to do it again.
Social Interactions with Friends and Families Banned
Falun Gong practitioners’ normal social activities have been severely restricted or even forbidden. Practitioners who are friends with each other or who are members of the same family face extra danger when visiting each other, as their meetings are often considered a basis for increased persecution. One practitioner was followed by plainclothes police officers when she went to visit her son. She was arrested at her son's home, along with her son and daughter-in-law.
Ms. Wang Zengmei, a practitioner from Shandong Province, went to visit a friend, Ms. Zhang Junying, on September 24, 2019. Ms. Wang was arrested at Ms. Zhang's place, along with Ms. Zhang, who is also a Falun Gong practitioner.
Overseas Travel Restricted
International travel and business are very common in today’s society and traveling abroad for tourism or commercial purposes is among a citizen's basic freedoms. Since July 1999, the authorities at various levels of government have feared practitioners traveling overseas and exposing the Chinese authorities' crimes on the international stage. In response, they have placed many practitioners on a blacklist, depriving them of the right to travel freely.
A practitioner once planned a business trip and went to the local authorities to get the necessary paperwork. He was told that he was not allowed to travel abroad. A female officer pointed to a tall stack of papers and told him that it was paperwork related to other practitioners who were also forbidden to travel overseas.
Ms. Zhang Chunhe, an accountant from Guangdong Province, had been sentenced to prison and labor camp for her practice. Her husband was forced to divorce her. Her mother passed away after years of worrying about her daughter's well-being. When she went to apply for a passport in June 2012, the police officer in charge denied her request because of her faith.
In order to motivate the whole country to participate in the persecution of Falun Gong, the CCP utilized over a thousand media outlets to spread slanderous lies and fabricated propaganda to deceive people and instigate hatred toward practitioners.
Relentlessly bombarded by anti-Falun Gong propaganda over time, much of society came to view practitioners as insane and even monsters. The resulting discrimination has caused tremendous anxiety and disruption for practitioners in every aspect of life.
Many companies, out of fear of the authorities or worry about “inviting trouble,” avoid hiring practitioners. Those practitioners who were fired due to their staying firm in their belief experienced extra restrictions and difficulty in finding new employment.
Dr. Li Lizhuang, an orthopedic surgeon at Harbin Medical University's First Affiliated Hospital, served two labor camp terms and one prison term, for a total of six and a half years for his practice of Falun Gong. The hospital fired him and, unable to find a job at another hospital, he was reduced to selling clothes on the street.
Mr. Zheng Xujun, 43, was a PhD candidate at China Electric Power Research Institute (CEPRI) in Beijing and a third-prize winner of the Ministry of Electric Power's Science and Technology Advancement Awards. He was expelled from CEPRI in November 2000 for practicing Falun Gong.
The authorities also suspended Mr. Zheng’s household registration, rendering him an “illegal resident” and unable to find a job or lead a normal life for 20 years. Mr. Zheng has been forced to live away from home to avoid persecution. It is not clear whether he has returned home at this point.
The persecution does not stop with practitioners, but also extends to their children. The authorities utilize their state power and resources to exert control over children of Falun Gong practitioners in areas including employment, military enlistment, job promotions, and school admissions, in an effort to coerce practitioners to give up their practice.
Ms. He Yunjie, a warehouse keeper for the Guiyang City Railroad in Guizhou Province, was arrested at work on June 10, 2020. Her home was ransacked and personal belongings, including Falun Gong materials, were confiscated. She was detained at the local detention center the next day. The authorities did not allow her family to visit her and froze her bank accounts. Her son, who'd just found a job at the city fire department, was fired.
Deprivation of Education
The Chinese authorities threaten Falun Gong practitioners with their right to an education in order to force them to give up their practice. Many practitioners have been expelled from school or precluded from admission to prestigious universities for refusing to renounce their beliefs.
Ms. Wan Chunxiao, a 20-year-old freshman at Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications in Jiangsu Province, was reported by her roommate while doing the Falun Gong exercises in her dorm on May 1, 2019. She was interrogated by officers from the university security department. Her Falun Gong books and materials were confiscated. Eventually, as she refused to renounce her belief, the university expelled her.
Retirement Pension Suspended
Taking away retirement pensions is another means deployed by the CCP regime to coerce practitioners to give up their practice of Falun Gong.
Ms. Tang Xuzhen, an 82-year-old retired college professor at Southwest Medical University of Sichuan Province, was repeatedly arrested and detained for speaking out for Falun Gong. She served two years in a labor camp and three and a half years in prison. The university authorities suspended her retirement pension in late 2009 and said they would reinstate it only if she wrote a statement renouncing Falun Gong.
Falun Gong practitioners have also been subjected to housing discrimination by the authorities. Some were not approved for their apartment rental applications because of their faith and some had their homes forcibly demolished.
Ms. Zhang Guilan of Yichun City, Heilongjiang Province, was arrested several times and sentenced to five and a half years in prison. She was tortured brutally in prison and forced to do hard labor.
Her house was due to be demolished to make room for new construction in 2011. The normal compensation from the government is at least 1.2 million yuan; however, the authorities only agreed to pay her 300 thousand yuan. As she refused to move, the government cut off her utilities and threatened her with arrest. She appealed to several government agencies, but to no avail. The court would not accept her lawsuit either.