(Minghui.org) While Mr. Sun Zhaohai was scheduled to be released on July 1, 2021, after serving 19 years in prison, the date was recently postponed to August 21 this year. Mr. Sun has been denied family visits and phone calls for three years. His family worries about whether he will be released a month later.

Heavy Sentence for Intercepting TV Signal 

Mr. Sun, a native of Jiamusi City, Heilongjiang Province, was forced to leave home in 2002 to avoid being persecuted for upholding his faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual and meditation practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for the past 22 years. 

With no channels to appeal for their right to practice Falun Gong, practitioners in Lanzhou City, Gansu Province intercepted television signals on August 17, 2002. They broadcast videos explaining Falun Gong’s principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and its benefits, as well as videos that debunked the CCP’s hate propaganda.

The incident led to province-wide arrests in multiple cities and areas. Seven practitioners involved in the case were sentenced to heavy prison terms by the Chengguan District Court on October 27, 2002. 

Mr. Sun, who was living in Lanzhou at the time and participated in the incident, was sentenced to 19 years and is incarcerated in Lanzhou City Prison.

Family Denied Visit and Phone Calls

According to Mr. Sun’s brother, their family occasionally received phone calls from him during his first few years of imprisonment. Although he was not allowed to talk much, at least they could hear his voice. Later, they barely received any calls from him. They learned from an insider that because Mr. Sun refused to give up his faith, he was repeatedly held in solitary confinement and was also deprived of the right to call his family.

Mr. Sun’s brother said, “Our whole family misses him very much, especially my mother. Since my brother was given a heavy sentence, my mother has been seriously ill and bedridden. My family was once in a difficult situation. We couldn’t afford the bus ticket to see my brother in prison. We called the prison many times but the line was either busy or no one answered the phone.”

Prison Blocks Family from Picking Up Mr. Sun on His Release Date

A few days ago, Mr. Sun’s sister finally successfully called the prison and asked for Mr. Sun’s exact release date. She said she hadn’t heard from her brother for three years and she wondered how he was doing in prison.

The guard who answered the phone replied: “Sun Zhaohai’s release date is August 21. He is very healthy. Because he refused to be transformed, his right to talk to his family was canceled. Family members should not come on the release day, and all you need to do is to mail a set of regular clothes to us and we will arrange people to send him home.”

This made Mr. Sun’s family worry even more. They asked that if Mr. Sun is very healthy, why is he held in Division 1 which is designated for “elderly, sick and disabled” detainees, according to the guard himself? Why is Mr. Sun still prevented from calling his family? Why is the prison insisting on sending Mr. Sun back home instead of notifying his family to pick him up on his release date, as that is what they do to all other prisoners? 

There is still one month before the release date, Mr. Sun’s family decided to visit him and to find out his real situation. However, the prison denied their visitation request, using the pandemic as an excuse. They also told the family that they would hand Mr. Sun over to Jiamusi City Justice Bureau. 

Mr. Sun’s family became very angry. Not only has Mr. Sun been deprived of his freedom of belief, but also been deprived of the basic right to meet and call his family. In addition, Mr. Sun should be free on the release date, and they don’t understand why the prison would hand him over to the Jiamusi City Justice Bureau.

The Family’s Difficulties for 19 Years 

According to Mr. Sun’s brother, their mother was dealt a heavy blow when she learned that Mr. Sun was sentenced to 19 years in prison. She fell very sick and became bedridden. The wife of Mr. Sun’s brother quit her job and took care of her mother-in-law. Mr. Sun’s brother was the only breadwinner for the family. When he was later laid off by his workplace, he had to do odd jobs to support the family. It took him a long time to pay off the 30,000 yuan medical bill of his mother. Sometimes they even had to borrow money to pay the utility bill. The mother died after being bedridden for 11 years. 

Mr. Sun’s brother said, “My brother and his wife had a good life, especially after practicing Falun Gong. However, everything changed after July 1999 when the government started the persecution. They were arrested because of appealing for Falun Gong in Beijing. While my sister-in-law was held in custody, she was forced to divorce my brother, otherwise, she would be fired.”

Related articles:

Heilongjiang Man Imprisoned for 19 Years for Intercepting TV Signals to Expose the Persecution of His Faith

Fifteen Practitioners Suffer Persecution After the 2002 Truth Clarification Television Broadcast in Gansu Province

Mr. Sun Zhaohai Missing After Being Sentenced to 19 Years in Prison

Mr. Sun Zhaohai Tortured in Lanzhou Prison

Chinese version available

Category: Accounts of Persecution