Thirty-five Tianjin Practitioners Arrested and Three Sentenced in First Three Months of 2015
(Minghui.org) A total of 47 residents in Tianjin received unexpected visits from local police in the first three months of 2015. The officers broke into their private homes and confiscated their personal belongings simply for their refusal to give up their belief in Falun Gong, a spiritual practice being persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party.
Among the 47 harassed at home, 35 ended up in police custody, though 5 of them were released shortly afterwards. At the time of writing, 14 of the arrested remain in detention, and the whereabouts of the remaining 26 remain to be investigated.
The local authorities also tried four practitioners arrested prior to 2015 – handing down prison sentences to three of them (Ms. Kong Yucui, 4 years; Mr. Wang Shulin, 7.5 years; and Ms. Wang Guirong, 3 years). Ms. Wang Wenguo is still awaiting the verdict for her trial.
Most Arrests Took Place Over a 3-Day Period
Most of the arrests took place from March 2 to 4, with 28 practitioners seized from their homes over the three-day period. Zhao Fei, chief of the Tianjin Police Department, promised a 10,000-yuan reward to his officers for each arrested Falun Gong practitioner.
Mr. Yang Hong and Ms. Jiang Yahui, husband and wife living in Nankai District, suddenly lost power to their home at around 9am on March 2, 2015. When Mr. Yang went out to check, more than 20 police officers rushed in. It became clear to the couple that the police had cut off their electricity to lure them outside.
The police confiscated computers, printers, a DVD burner, and other personal belongings. The couple was first taken to the Huayuanxincheng Police Station before being transferred to the Nankai District Detention Center.
Mr. Zhou Xiangyang and his wife Ms. Li Shanshan, whose past arrest once drew thousands of supporters' signature support, were both arrested again on March 2. According to witnesses, both Ms. Li (arrested at work) and Mr. Zhou were taken away with their hands cuffed and legs in chains.
Ms. Song Huichan, a practitioner who had been detained twice previously for her belief, was arrested for the third time on March 2. Her family members did not find out her detention location until four days later. Their request to visit her was denied.
Four Tried, Three Sentenced
Ms. Kong Yucui, a 67-year-old Falun Dafa practitioner, was tried in the Ji County Detention Center on January 4, with her family blocked from attending her hearing.
Officials arrested Ms. Kong on November 4, 2014, when she told others about the persecution of Falun Gong at a farmers' market. She went on a hunger strike to protest against the illegal arrest and detention, which resulted in a high blood pressure of 220. Her family is very worried about her health.
Mr. Wang Shulin was sentenced to 7.5 years after he was promised a much lighter sentence.
In addition, officials also sentenced Ms. Wang Guirong to three years on February 16. Ms. Wang Wenguo was tried on February 6, but the judge hasn't announced a verdict yet.