(Minghui.org) A Lianyungang City, Jiangsu Province, resident was recently imprisoned to serve an unknown term for her faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Ms. Zhong Weiling, a retired elementary school teacher, was arrested on June 2, 2020, for talking to people about Falun Gong. While interrogating her, the police tried to collect a blood sample. She resisted, fell down, and broke her knee. She was then released and put under house arrest on June 5.
In mid-August 2020, the police submitted Ms. Zhong’s case to the Lianyun District Procuratorate. After the prosecutor refused to accept her case, the police turned to the Haizhou District Procuratorate.
On September 16, the Haizhou District Court put Ms. Zhong under house arrest again, this time for one year and eleven days. Zhang Jiangong, head of the Domestic Security Office, frequently harassed Ms. Zhong at home, searched her place, and confiscated her valuables.
Ms. Zhong appeared in court on December 14, 2020, and was allowed to go home afterwards.
The judge later secretly sentenced Ms. Zhong to an unknown term. He also ordered the local Social Security Bureau to suspend her pension.
Ms. Zhong was taken back into custody and admitted to the Lianyungang City Detention Center on June 16, 2021, shortly after she was deceived into going to the court.
According to a detention center guard, due to the upcoming centennial anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party’s founding, the detention center is receiving between 200 and 300 new detainees every day as part of the regime’s effort to “maintain stability” during the celebration.
With injuries to her legs and loss of teeth from being tortured when she was detained before, Ms. Zhong is having a difficult time getting food due to the extremely limited resources and poor conditions in the detention center. She quickly lost weight and is dizzy from lack of food.
Ms. Zhong was taken to the Jiangsu Province Women’s Prison around mid-November 2021. Further details about her case weren’t available at the time of writing.
Ms. Zhong and her family have been living in fear for the past 22 years of ongoing persecution. The authorities have constantly harassed and monitored Ms. Zhong. During one one-month period, there were people coming to her home every day to search the place.
After Ms. Zhong was released in 2003 from a labor camp, she was demoted from her teaching position to street cleaner. While she was sweeping the streets one day, Shen Guobin, the Party secretary from her workplace, ran into her with his car. Ms. Zhong flew into the air and fell hard to the ground, bleeding badly. Despite her injuries, Shen ordered the passersby not to help her and to leave her to die. The passersby still took Ms. Zhong to the hospital, where she required eleven stitches in her head.
Ms. Zhong wasn’t the only one in her family who was targeted for practicing Falun Gong. Her husband, Mr. Gao Chuanbin, a military officer who had made outstanding contributions to the army, was also arrested many times for his belief. He was given forced labor and prison terms. His allowance for having been a deputy battalion cadre and serving 17 years in the Chinese military was suspended.
Ms. Zhong filed a criminal complaint in 2015 against Jiang Zemin, the former head of the communist regime who ordered the persecution. She stated in the complaint, “When I was serving two years of forced labor at the Judong Forced Labor Camp in June 2001, my disabled mother was left unattended at home and died of hunger. My second son Gao Shuguang had to drop out of school because of financial difficulty. As a result, he never got a chance to go to college. He is now in his 30s and has lived on the streets for many years, how can Jiang Zemin not accept responsibility for causing our family tragedy?”
Because of Ms. Zhong’s complaint against Jiang, the police surrounded her home on September 15, 2015. She managed to escape, but the police set up checkpoints around the city and monitored her cellphone, in order to arrest her.
Ms. Zhong was arrested at a town market on November 15, 2015, and taken to Lianyungang City Detention Center. Liang Wensheng, an officer from the Lizhuang Police Station, twice went to the detention center, trying to extort money from Ms. Zhong. He promised to release her if she paid him money, but threatened to sentence her if she didn’t comply.
When Ms. Zhong’s family went to various government agencies to seek her release, a deputy director of the Discipline Commission revealed that the authorities were taking her case “very seriously” and it had been determined a year ago to sentence her. No one could retract the decision, added the deputy director.
Ms. Zhong was beaten, deprived of sleep, and forced to do unpaid labor in the detention center. She once fainted after the inmates hit her with a plastic bottle filled with water, yet the guards accused her of pretending. The abuse caused Ms. Zhong to lose several teeth and she had difficulty walking. The guards then ordered the inmates to force-feed her.
Ms. Zhong was tried in a closed-door session by the Ganyu District Court on March 29, 2016. She testified in her own defense and urged presiding judge Yue Renlong to acquit her. Yue said to her, “While we may have arrested you by mistake, we don’t have the ability to release you.”
Ms. Zhong was sentenced to three years on December 2, 2016, and judge Yue said to her family that it was beyond his power to make a fair ruling.
Ms. Zhong appealed in the Lianyungang City Intermediate Court. The judge ruled in her favor on April 10, 2017, and ordered a retrial by the lower court.
During her retrial hearing on June 16, 2017, the prosecutor presented blank envelopes, disks, and her cellphones as additional prosecution evidence against her. During the recess, Ms. Zhong, who had become emaciated due to abuse in the detention center, fainted in her seat. The judge later gave her a new sentence of one year and nine months.
Perpetrators’ contact information:
Wang Libing (王立兵), secretary, Lianyungang City Political and Legal Affairs Committee Song Yabo (宋雅波), head, Lianyungang City 610 OfficeMa Zhaojun (马赵军), presiding judge, Haizhou District Court: +86-518-85295550Hu Weiling (胡维玲), court clerk: +86-518-82229555Zhang Jiangong (张建功), head, Lianyun District Domestic Security Office: +86-13905124277