Husband and Wife Imprisoned 13 and 12 Years for Their Faith
(Minghui.org) Because they upheld their faith in Falun Gong, a married couple in Yushu City, Jilin Province were sentenced to 13 and 12 years in 2003. The husband to 13 years, and the wife to a 12-year prison term.
The couple’s daughter, Xu Hongyan, was only 12 at that time. The girl was discriminated against and made fun of by her classmates at school. Sometimes when she missed her parents too much, she found a place to cry by herself and didn’t dare let her grandparents see her.
Enduring unimaginable pain for her age, the little girl took care of her elderly grandparents, both of whom had disabilities in their hands. She also visited her parents in the prison from time to time. The family had to rely on friends’ help or hire people to work in their farm fields. The girl and her grandparents had a very difficult life.
Despite everything she has to go through, the girl still supported her parents for upholding their faith. When asked whether it was wrong for her parents to practice Falun Gong, she replied, “My parents follow Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance to be good people. They didn’t do anything wrong. Those who persecute them are bad people. I’m proud of my parents.”
Onset of the Persecution
Mr. Xu Guiliang, 51, was born when his mother was 41 years old. He was the only son of his parents and the apple of their eye. Mr. Xu and his wife, Ms. Ren Xiuying, took up Falun Gong in 1997. They strove to live by Falun Gong’s principles of “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance” and took good care of their parents.
Ms. Ren appealed to the Changchun Municipal Government on July 20, 1999 when the persecution against Falun Gong was officially launched that day. After the appeal, officers from Shuangjing Township Police Station broke into her house multiple times and confiscated her Falun Gong books, banners, and photos of Falun Gong’s founder. The officers ordered the couple to sign statements asserting that they would not appeal, practice Falun Gong, or contact other practitioners.
The officers frequently came back and knocked on the door, sometimes at midnight, to check on the activities of the couple, causing the whole family to live in fear.
Ms. Ren went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong again in November 2000. She was arrested at Tiananmen Square by plainclothes police officers and detained in the Xicheng District Detention Center. The police took her photo and fingerprints, and asked for her address.
Because of her insubordination, Ms. Ren was forced to stand barefoot outside in the snow for two to three hours. The persecution continued every day. Four months later, she was returned to Changchun and held in the Xinglong Brainwashing Center.
All kinds of derogatory posters slandering Falun Gong were on the walls in the brainwashing center. Every practitioner was forced to watch videos that slandered their faith. Ms. Ren went on a hunger strike to protest the persecution, and was force-fed.
Ms. Ren was too weak to walk when she was released six months later in September 2001. Her husband had to carry her to the car.
Tortured in Detention Centers
To avoid the harassment, the couple lived away from home and moved to Wuchang City, Heilongjiang Province in April 2002.
On August 29, 2002, Ms. Ren was arrested again when she returned to Yushu. She was taken to a covert location for interrogation, but she refused to reveal when she got the Falun Gong information materials, and the practitioners she had contact with.
The police hung her up by the wrists from a door frame, with both hands cuffed together behind her back and pulled up. They didn’t let her down until the door frame broke. Yet five or six police officers continued to beat and kick her for the entire afternoon. As a result of the brutal persecution, much of Ms. Ren’s body was injured and her left arm was dislocated, severely swollen, and bruised.
After the severe beating, the officers took Ms. Ren to Yushu City Detention Center at around midnight. The persecution continued in the detention center. The prison guards forced her to sort beans. The food she was given was very light and sometimes had sand and soil in it. Sometimes the guards tried to starve her into submission. They interrogated her every other day and beat her if she didn’t answer their questions.
Ms. Ren went on hunger strike to protest the brutal torture. She was force-fed with salt water by criminal inmates instigated by the guards.
Sentenced to Prison
Three months after Ms. Ren’s arrest, on November 2, 2002, Mr. Xu was also arrested when he returned to Yushu to prepare corn stalk bundles for his parents and daughter to use for heating in the winter. The police searched his temporary residence and confiscated his 600 yuan in cash, a cellphone, and some Falun Gong books. Even the faucet was broken by the police, and several inches of water accumulated in the room.
Mr. Xu was locked in a metal chair at the police station, where he was beaten and verbally abused by the officers. He was interrogated a few more times after being taken to the Yushu City Detention Center.
Both Ms. Ren and Mr. Xu were transferred to Wuchang City Detention Center in Heilongjiang Province around December 2002. The police tied them up so tightly that their legs and feet became swollen. Ms. Ren went on hunger strike to protest the persecution in the detention center and became emaciated.
The authorities sentenced Ms. Ren to 12 years in prison in July 2003 and Mr. Xu to 13 years a month later.
Wife’s Persecution in Harbin Women’s Prison
Ms. Ren was taken to Harbin Women’s Prison following the court sentence. On the way, they handcuffed and shackled her, as well as covered her mouth with tape to keep her from shouting.
The prison doctor performed a physical examination of Ms. Ren when she arrived. The doctor poked her fingernails with acupuncture needles, but Ms. Ren was not responsive. The prison thus refused to admit her, citing that she was having some medical issues. She was sent back to the detention center.
The next day, detention center guards forced the Harbin Women’s Prison to accept Ms. Ren. She was admitted to the training team and held in an isolation room for four or five days, with both of her hands handcuffed behind her back and locked to a ring on the floor. She was only given two corn meals each day.
Every day for the next three months, Ms. Ren was forced to sit on a small stool and memorize the prison rules. She was subsequently transferred to the No. 5 Ward. To protest the illegal detention, she refused to wear a name tag, squat, or participate in the roll call. As a result, she was severely kicked in the legs by criminal inmates.
One evening, more than 20 practitioners memorized Falun Gong’s teachings together. The prison dispatched armed officers and relentlessly shocked the practitioners on their mouths with electric batons. They also hit their heads with small stools, causing severe bleeding.
When the temperature was much below freezing, the guards left the practitioners outside and froze them for two days.
Following the incident, Ms. Ren was locked in an isolation room. She was given only one bowl of corn soup twice per day. When Ms. Ren went on hunger strike, she was tied to the door frame and force-fed while standing. The persecution lasted for more than 40 days.
After she was returned to the No. 5 Ward, the guards tortured her even more brutally because she refused to follow the prison orders. For the first 18 days, the guards handcuffed her hands together above the head and hung her up suspended, from morning until midnight every day. They then forced her to sit on the small stool until 5:00 a.m. The long hours of hanging, sitting, and sleep deprivation caused her legs to become severely swollen, and she was unable to take off her pants by the end of the 18-day torture session.
Ms. Ren was transferred to the No. 13 Ward in March 2007. This ward was established to force the practitioners to renounce their faith. She was forced to watch videos that slandered Falun Gong and its founder. Some people who practiced Falun Gong before but compromised during the persecution assisted the guards in brainwashing the practitioners and persuading them to renounce Falun Gong.
Ms. Ren was taken to the No. 7 Ward to do unpaid labor during the last few years of her imprisonment. She was mainly assigned to fold paper bags.
The long-term mental and physical torture caused her to develop lymphatic tumors, which ulcerated with pus and blood. She was released in October 2011. Not long after her release, however, officers from the local 610 Office broke into her home and attempted to force her to sign statements to renounce Falun Gong.
Husband’s Persecution in Prison
Mr. Xu was transferred to the training ward in Harbin Prison on October 1, 2003. He was forced to squat all day long and recite prison rules. The guards beat him if he couldn’t recite them. After he was taken to a regular ward, the guards arranged inmates to monitor him around the clock.
Mr. Xu was transferred to the Mudanjiang Prison in 2004, where the monitoring and torture continued.
The prison started a campaign trying to force all detained Falun Gong practitioners to renounce their faith in October 2009. Some of the torture methods included sleep deprivation, pouring of cold water, and electric shocks. Unable to bear the torture, Mr. Xu was forced to write a renouncing statement.
After enduring a decade of incarceration and torture, Mr. Xu was released in the summer of 2014. By then, both of his parents, in their 80s, had passed away in deep distress, without seeing him for the last time.