After a Decade of Displacement, Married Couple Arrested for Their Faith and Husband Sentenced to Nine Years
(Minghui.org) After spending ten years on the run to avoid being persecuted for their faith in Falun Gong, a married couple in Liuhe County, Jilin Province were arrested on September 30, 2019. While the wife was released on bail days later, after she was found to have suffered a stroke with a severe heart condition, the husband was sentenced to nine years and is now denied family visits.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is an ancient spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Earlier Detention and Forced into Hiding
The ordeal of Mr. Zhang Huiyan and Ms. Wang Junbo started when they were arrested in January 2001 for going to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong. They were both given three months of criminal detention. Three months later, Mr. Zhang, a 58-year-old former winery technician, was fined 5,000 yuan and released, and Ms. Wang was directly taken to a forced labor camp to serve a three-year term. The authorities continued to harass her and her husband after she was released on January 24, 2004.
During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the police harassed the couple twice at their family-run pharmacy store.
The couple escaped in a police sweep on March 6, 2009, but had their home ransacked and their Falun Gong books, photo of Falun Gong’s founder and computer confiscated. After they went into hiding, the police put them on “wanted” list and spent the next ten years looking for them.
Latest Arrests and Mr. Zhang’s Lengthy Prison Term
Starting in September 2019, the police began to follow the couple’s daughter and found their location in Meihe City, which is about 20 miles from Liuhe County.
On September 30, Mr. Zhang was arrested on his way back after taking his grandson to kindergarten. The police pushed him down and forced him to open the door for them.
The police rushed in and raided the couple’s residence. Their computer, printer, Falun Gong materials and 64,430 yuan in cash were confiscated. The police later returned 61,230 yuan but withheld 3,200 yuan that bore information about Falun Gong. Some practitioners in China print messages on paper currency to raise awareness of the persecution because they have been denied all legal channels of appeal.
Ms. Wang was terrified by the police. She suddenly went into shock after being taken to the Liuhe County Police Department. A thorough physical examination indicated that she had had a stroke in one side of her brain as well as a severe medical condition with her heart and lungs. She was denied admission by the local detention center.
The police released her on bail after asking for a 10,000 yuan bond from her daughter. They also forbade her from leaving Liuhe.
Ms. Wang remained very weak upon returning home. She didn’t have any appetite and was still deeply distressed.
The police called her again in December 2019 and told her to go to the police station. She refused to comply.
The couple’s persecution also terrified their daughter and son-in-law, as the police summoned the younger couple from time to time to answer questions. The daughter later took a leave from work and stayed at home to take care of Ms. Wang and her own two children.
Mr. Zhang was taken to the Liuhe Detention Center after being interrogated for three days following his arrest. The family didn’t receive any updates about his case for the next two months. On November 14, 2020, a guard from the Gongzhuling Prison called his daughter and said that Mr. Zhang had been sentenced to nine years and he was transferred to prison on October 30.
Mr. Zhang’s daughter requested to visit him over the phone, but the guard replied that he was denied family visits in the first month of his imprisonment. After two months, the prison still denied visits by Mr. Zhang’s family. His family also learned that the prison forces every Falun Gong practitioners’ family members to verbally abuse Falun Gong before being allowed to visit practitioners.