(Minghui.org) A 78-year-old Tianjin resident is facing prosecution after her latest arrest on April 24, 2019 for practicing Falun Gong, a mind-body practice that has been persecuted by the communist regime since 1999.

This was the second time that Ms. Zhou Junling has been arrested in this port city, which is about an hour drive from Beijing. She was arrested in 2008 and sentenced to three years in prison.

Learning Falun Gong

Ms. Zhou was severely ill before she started practicing Falun Gong. She had a low white blood cell count and low blood pressure. She had a low fever and was exhausted after 2 p.m. every day. She weighed only 77 pounds. Since she held an important position at her workplace, her manager allowed her to rest on the bed in her office and promised to reimburse her medical bills. She had visited many blood research institutes and hospitals in Tianjin but found no effective treatment.

Ms. Zhou and her husband Mr. Li Jingmei attended a lecture series by the founder of Falun Gong, Mr. Li Hongzhi, in March 1994. Both of them started practicing Falun Gong and living by its principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. She regained her health and no longer felt tired, even after walking a long distance.

Her husband also experienced good health once he started practicing Falun Gong, and his high blood pressure returned to normal. He was rehired by his company as a contractor after he reached mandatory retirement age. He worked in that position for six more years.

Prior Arrest

The couple was arrested on August 27, 2008 for distributing Falun Gong informational materials in a residential neighborhood.

Since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) started persecuting Falun Gong in 1999, many people gained a negative impression of Falun Gong as a result of propaganda by government-controlled media. To counter this misinformation, Falun Gong practitioners print and distribute brochures and fliers to tell people about the spiritual practice and the persecution.

Police ransacked their home that night and confiscated a computer and Falun Gong books. The five thousand yuan ($730 USD) hidden in their bed board was also gone.

Police tried to detain the couple in the Nankai District Detention Center the next day. The detention center refused to admit Mr. Li due to his physical condition. While Mr. Li was released on bail, Ms. Zhou was kept in detention for a year.

The presiding judge at the Nankai District Court sentenced Mr. Li to seven years in prison on August 7, 2009 but put him under house arrest because he had high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, and cerebral infarction. Ms. Zhou was sentenced to three years in prison.

The couple appealed the verdicts, but the Tianjin Intermediate Court upheld the original sentence on September 24, 2009.

Forced Labor and Torture

While in the detention center, Ms. Zhou was forced to create Chinese transdermal patches (medicated adhesive patches). She was given tight deadlines and often forced to work until midnight. She developed a strong allergic reaction to the talcum powder used in her work. All of her body parts that were not covered by cloth became red and swollen. She was also malnourished.

Ms. Zhou was transferred to Tianjin Women's Prison in December 2009. Two inmates were assigned to monitor her around the clock. She was not allowed to talk to anyone. She was forced to watch video programs and materials that slandered Falun Gong and sit on a “small stool” for a long time. She was also exposed to the cold because guards refused to provide heat to her room during the frigid winter. It was so cold that her two monitors couldn't sleep at night.

She was forced to perform slave labor in the prison. Her assignment was to create food packaging bags. Some of the raw materials were toxic. Her right feet swelled so badly that she had to wear shoes that were four sizes larger than her normal size.