Former Engineer Denied Housing and Forced into Displacement Due to His Faith
(Minghui.org) An electrical engineer in Shanghai has been forced into displacement after serving a two-year term for his faith in Falun Gong, a mind-body discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Mr. Xu Yongqing was arrested on November 29, 2017 by the Yangzhou City Police, after they suspected him of mailing letters about Falun Gong from Shanghai to Yangzhou City, Jiangsu Province (about 180 miles away). He was sentenced to two years in prison and fined 5,000 yuan by the Hanjiang District Court in Yangzhou on September 18, 2018.
As his wife was working out of town, he stayed in their apartment by himself after being released from the Hongzehu Prison on November 28, 2019. Because he had been fired from his job during his prison term, he applied for unemployment benefits in March 2020.
In late April, he moved to a new place, as the rent for his previous apartment increased threefold since January. The rental contract of his new place was from May 1, 2020, to May 1, 2023.
Before Mr. Xu moved, the police harassed him in April 2020. He didn’t open the door for them. In May 2020, Mao Zhixin, the officer responsible for his previous arrest, called him and asked whether he had moved. Mr. Xu refused to reveal his new address. Mao also called Mr. Xu’s wife to try to find their address, but to no avail.
On July 31, Mr. Xu noticed a white car outside of his new rental home, with two occupants staring at him.
On August 4, Mr. Xu’s landlord asked him to move out in a week, as the village committee had a new development plan. His landlord also said that he had already signed a new contract with the village. He kept pressuring Mr. Xu to move and promised to provide some compensation to cover his moving expense.
Not wanting the police to find out about his moving plan, Mr. Xu asked one of his friends to help him find a new place to live. He revealed his new address to his landlord for them to work out the details of the compensation.
On September 9, Mr. Xu’s friend received a call from the police, who threatened him not to help Mr. Xu with his housing. The officer said Mr. Xu was a counter-revolutionary and enemy of the people. In the days that followed, Mr. Xu’s friend received more harassment phone calls from the local government officials. Mr. Xu had to give up his plan to move.
Mr. Xu questioned his landlord whether he disclosed his address to anyone, as he was the only one other than his friend that had the information. His landlord, who turned out to be a retired police officer, denied having reported his address to the police.
Two officers harassed Mr. Xu on September 21 and threatened him not to go out for any Falun Gong related activities. They asked him to follow the law and said they would return very often to see him. Two days later, a surveillance camera was installed right outside of Mr. Xu’s home.
Another three officers harassed Mr. Xu on September 28. They talked to him for three hours and said they could help him solve the housing issue, as long as he promised to follow the law and sign an agreement they had prepared. Mr. Xu refused to comply.
During the Mid-Autumn Festival on October 1, Mr. Xu returned to his hometown in Zhejiang Province to visit his mother. He received a message on October 11 that all of his belongings had been moved to the village warehouse, even though he had paid the October rent in full.
He rushed back to Shanghai and the lock to the front door had already been changed. As the garage key remained the same, he entered the home through the garage and found the rooms were cleared out, with only a few small appliances left.
After spending the night in a nearby hotel, Mr. Xu called his landlord the next day and asked him what had happened. His landlord said he didn’t know who moved his belongings.
Mr. Xu then went to the village committee and asked about the situation. The staff there said it was his landlord who took them to move his belongings, or they wouldn’t have been able to enter his home.
Now Mr. Xu doesn’t have a place to live and goes from place to place.