(Minghui.org) As the travel restrictions gradually eased up across China in March 2020 amid the coronavirus epidemic, more Falun Gong practitioners are being arrested for distributing informational materials about the communist regime's persecution of their faith and cover-up of the epidemic.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is an ancient spiritual practice based on the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance. It has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) since 1999.

Falun Gong practitioners have been exposing the CCP's persecution of their faith in the past two decades. After the coronavirus broke out, they have also been warning people that the CCP has been using the same cover-up tactics in handling the epidemic as in persecuting Falun Gong.

As there have been many stories about infected patients recovering from the virus by reciting the phrases “Falun Dafa is good” and “Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance is good,” Falun Gong practitioners have also been encouraging people to recite the phrases to stay safe during the epidemic.

The practitioners' efforts were met with retaliation from the authorities. According to information collected by Minghui.org, 384 Falun Gong practitioners were arrested and 363 harassed in March 2020, which almost doubled from that in February, which recorded 282 arrests and 113 harassment cases.

Shortly after the lockdown was lifted in Xishui County, Hubei Province in late March, the county government issued an order to increase surveillance of local Falun Gong practitioners and prevent them from talking to people. They posted a 1,000 yuan reward for anyone who reports a practitioner for raising awareness of the persecution.

In Dezhou City, Shandong Province, Ms. Ma Xiuqin, in her 50s, was arrested on March 23 after being reported for distributing Falun Gong materials. She has been held at Dezhou City Detention Center since. The authorities blocked her family from visiting her, with the excuse of the lockdown during the epidemic. The Linyi County Procuratorate has approved her arrest.

Ms. Xu Jinfeng, a Dalian City, Liaoning Province resident, was arrested on April 2 after the police saw her putting up posters about Falun Gong. They ransacked her home and confiscated her Falun Gong books. The police collected her fingerprints and blood sample. Although the police released Ms. Xu on the day of her arrest, they threatened to detain her for 15 days after the epidemic is over.

Mr. Gao Weizhong, of Daqing City, Heilongjiang Province, was arrested on April 4. He was released on bail on the same day.

In Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province, about ten practitioners, including Ms. Tang Zhuyin, Ms. Li, Mr. He, Ms. Hu, Mr. Lang, Ms. Cai, and Mr. Zhu, were arrested on April 7 for making phone calls to the public and informing them of the CCP's cover-up of the epidemic.

The police ransacked Ms. Tang’s home. Although Ms. Hu was released due to her advanced age, the police continued to monitor her afterwards. Mr. He was also released. The rest of the practitioners were sent to Daqing Detention Center.

Mr. Huang Qiangsheng

Also on April 7, Mr. Huang Qiangsheng, 52 and owner of a construction company in Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province, was arrested. The police ransacked Mr. Huang’s home on the evening of his arrest and put him on criminal detention the next day at Guangzhou City No.2 Detention Center. Mr. Huang’s mother, who is in her 80s, is so worried about him that she is unable to eat or sleep well. She is calling for the authorities to release Mr. Huang immediately.

Ms. Tao Guixiang, Ms. Wang Xiuyun, Ms. Chai Cuirong, and Ms. Zhang Zixia, all residents of Holingol, Inner Mongolia, were arrested on April 8, after being reported for distributing Falun Gong materials. They are currently detained at Zarut Banner Detention Center. The police ransacked all of their residences and confiscated Falun Gong materials from Ms. Chai.

On April 9, Mr. Zhan Baoti of Xishui County, Hubei Province was arrested and had his Falun Gong books confiscated. The authorities refused to reveal to his family where he is being held.

Two other practitioners in Qingshui County, Hubei Province, Ms. Cai Meilian, in her 70s, and Ms. Ke Qiong, were harassed, also on April 9.

In Xinji City, Hebei Province, Ms. Wang, in her 80s, was arrested on April 10, after being reported for talking to people about Falun Gong. The police extorted 4,000 yuan from her family before releasing her.

Ms. Liu Shujuan, Ms. Wu Yuelan, and Ms. Han, of Chicheng County, Hebei Province, were also arrested on April 10 for talking to people about Falun Gong. The police are planning to submit their cases to the procuratorate with the charge of “undermining law enforcement with a cult organization,” a standard pretext used to criminalize Falun Gong.

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