(Minghui.org) Two Jinan City, Shandong Province, residents were arrested and had their homes ransacked for their faith in Falun Gong, an ancient spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party since 1999.

Ms. Zhang Deying and Ms. Shi Zhanhua distributed informational materials about Falun Gong in a residential area at around 8 p.m. on July 6, 2020. When they left the subdivision, they were surrounded by eight plainclothes officers. The officers handcuffed them behind their backs and brought them to the Xinglong Police Station.

Around 10 p.m., the officers ransacked Ms. Zhang’s home. They confiscated her dozens of Falun Gong books, a photo of Falun Gong’s founder, and her cellphone.

The police next proceeded to raid Ms. Shi’s home at around midnight. They spent the next two hours searching everywhere. Ms. Shi’s dozens of Falun Gong books, pamphlets, media players, MP3 players, four cellphones and a computer were confiscated.

Ms. Shi’s family said that the officers appeared to be very excited after finding 14,200 yuan in cash in two different locations. One of them shouted, “We’re having a big festival today!”

The police later told the two practitioners that they had spotted them distributing Falun Gong materials a long time ago through surveillance cameras. They had already known the practitioners’ addresses and the situation of their family members living with them. The police had begun to follow them one week ago, before deciding to arrest them on the evening of July 6.

Ms. Zhang and Ms. Shi were restrained to metal chairs and interrogated for more than 24 hours, without being given any food or water. A dozen officers took turns watching them. Ms. Zhang kept clarifying the facts about Falun Gong to the police, while Ms. Shi remained silent.

The police called the practitioners’ families at around 8 p.m. on July 7 and asked them to bring 10,000 yuan to the police station in exchange for the practitioners' release. The families didn’t comply.

The police called the practitioners’ families again two hours later and said they didn’t have to bring the money, but just come to bring the practitioners home. Their families went to the police station and were ordered to pay a 500-yuan fine and sign a 15-day detention notice.

The practitioners left the police station with their families at around midnight. They then went back and asked the police to return their Falun Gong books, confiscated cash, and their home keys. The police rejected the request and said they would return the items when their cases were closed.

Five officers returned to Ms. Zhang’s home and searched her basement at around 8 a.m. on July 8, but didn’t find anything that they wanted.