(Minghui.org) Mr. Gao Hongjie’s family lost contact with him while he was still waiting for the result of his appeal against a five-year wrongful sentence for his faith in Falun Gong. They suspect that he has been taken into custody to serve time.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Mr. Gao Hongjie, a former teacher at Weifang City University in Shandong Province and a native of Anqiu City in the same province, was arrested in early October 2021. He was sentenced to five years and fined 20,000 yuan in November 2022 by the Anqiu City Court. His family lost contact with him around January 10, 2023. 

Prior to his latest sentencing, Mr. Gao, 57, had been arrested multiple times and sentenced to ten years for upholding his faith. 

Arrested for Appealing for Falun Gong

Mr. Gao went to Jinan, the capital city of Shandong, in July 1999 to appeal against the persecution. After he returned, his school held him in custody for a week and subjected him to intensive brainwashing.

Mr. Gao went to Beijing to appeal again on December 27, 1999. He was detained for ten days after being taken back to Weifang. His father was extorted for 10,000 yuan by Cheng Qingjun, the Party secretary of his school. 

Mr. Gao went to Beijing to appeal the second time on May 14, 2000, only to be arrested again. A security officer at his school went to Beijing to bring him back. He was handcuffed while riding the train. He was held in a room in the school for two weeks and then in the Kuiwen District Lockup for another two weeks.

Nearly Three Months in a Psychiatric Hospital

The school authorities arrested Mr. Gao on June 16, 2000 and took him to a psychiatric hospital, where he was held for over 80 days. Zhao Guangqiang, the school’s vice chancellor, beat him several times. When Mr. Gao’s father questioned him for the reason of the beating, Zhao responded that there was instruction from above to beat Falun Gong practitioners, as long as he didn’t beat them to death.

Due to the pressure of the persecution, Mr. Gao was forced to write a statement to renounce Falun Gong. He soon regretted his decision and then wrote a solemn statement in January 2001 to nullify everything he’d been forced to say against his will. 

In retaliation, the school authorities detained him again. They handcuffed him to a bed and beat him. Mr. Gao managed to escape through a window and was forced to live away from home to avoid further persecution.

Sentenced to Ten Years

Mr. Gao was arrested again in 2002 and sentenced to ten years by the Anqiu City Court. He was subjected to beatings, verbal abuse and sleep deprivation at the Shandong Province Prison. The guards also forced him to sit on a small stool for long hours without moving and starved him. He almost lost consciousness.

Because Mr. Gao refused to renounce Falun Gong, he was subjected to ten months of intensified torture beginning August 2007. In addition to constant beatings, the guards also brushed his body with a toothbrush every day, causing his back and left side of his body to become infected and ooze pus. Some of the scars on his body were almost as large as one square foot. 

After ten years of torture and mental anguish, the once energetic young man in his 30s looked like an emaciated elderly man when he was released.