964 Falun Gong Practitioners Targeted for Their Faith in September 2020
(Minghui.org) In September 2020, at least 356 Falun Gong practitioners were arrested and 608 harassed for their faith, bringing the year-to-date arrest and harassment cases to 4,746 and 5,264, respectively.
Two hundred and eleven (59%) practitioners remain in custody at the time of writing. Out of the total 964 arrested and harassed, 164 practitioners had their homes ransacked. Thirty-four practitioners arrested and 29 harassed were over the age of 65, with the oldest being 90. Sixteen practitioners had a total of 364,000 yuan confiscated by the police, ranging from 20 yuan to 150,000 yuan each, with an average of 22,750 yuan per person.
Hebei, Heilongjiang, Sichuan, Jilin and Shandong were the top five provinces with the most practitioners targeted. Both Hebei and Heilongjiang also had over 100 practitioners harassed in the past month. Other harassment cases have been reported in Yinchuan City, Ningxia and Luzhou City, Sichuan Province, as a continuation of the “Zero-out” campaign, a concerted effort to force practitioners on the government's blacklists to renounce Falun Gong.
Several group arrests, including 32 practitioners in Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province took place on September 13; 4 practitioners in their 60s and 70s living in the same neighborhood in Changchun City, Jilin Province on September 15; and 27 practitioners in Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province on September 22 and 23, were also reported.
The September cases offered a glimpse into the all-round persecution of Falun Gong in China. In addition to the arrests and torture in custody, many practitioners had their everyday life disrupted, as well as personal safety, business, and health compromised.
One engineer fired from his job due to his faith was denied housing and forced into displacement shortly after he was released from a two-year term. One 75-year-old woman had her pension withheld. A retired physician is still detained in custody, despite the fact that she has been diagnosed with lung cancer.
In some cases, it’s not only the practitioners themselves that were targeted for their faith, but their family members were also harassed, arrested and interrogated. One practitioner’s four-year-old grandson was denied admission to kindergarten because of her refusing to renounce Falun Gong. One woman’s son was held hostage in the police station after she escaped arrest and another practitioner’s son’s clinic was forcibly shut down after she refused to sign a statement to renounce Falun Gong.
Below are snapshots of some of the arrests and incidents of harassment. Due to the information restrictions in China, the number of Falun Gong practitioners persecuted for their faith can’t always be reported in a timely manner, nor is all the information readily available.
Mr. Huang Jianguo, a Yishui County, Shandong Province resident, was arrested at home around 6:30 p.m. on September 8, 2020.
The police ransacked Mr. Huang’s home and searched for items related to Falun Gong. While trying to force Mr. Huang into a police car, officers tore off his pants and punched him in the head. Upon arriving at the police station, several officers beat Mr. Huang, knocked him down and stomped on his head. He had multiple injuries and his head and face swelled up.
While Mr. Lei Zhengxia, 74, was visiting his daughter in Xi’an City, Shaanxi Province, six officers broke in at around 10:00 a.m. on September 4, 2020. As Mr. Lei, a retired high school teacher from Chongqing, resisted the police’s attempt to arrest him, three officers pushed him to the sofa, handcuffed his hands behind his back, and took off his glasses. Two other officers dragged him outside and shoved him into the police car. One of his shoes fell off during the ordeal.
Mr. Lei’s wife, Ms. Li Weiqun, was pushed to the ground when she was trying to stop the police from arresting her husband. The police handcuffed her right arm and also took her to the police station.
The couple’s daughter, who was holding her ten-month old baby, attempted to stop the police from beating her mother. Both she and the baby were terrified and burst into tears.
After the elderly couple were brought to the Kaiyuanlu Police Station, Wang Guoqing, a 24-year-old officer, tore up the photo of Falun Gong’s founder, that was confiscated from Mr. Lei, and verbally abused him and Falun Gong.
The police then took the couple to the interrogation room. Officer Wang handcuffed Mr. Lei and attempted to force him to press his fingerprints on the interrogation record. When Mr. Lei refused to comply, Wang pushed him to a corner of the room, punched him in the chest, hit his neck with the edge of his hand, and slammed his head against the wall. Wang also attempted to strike Mr. Lei’s legs with his knees, but was stopped by Ms. Li.
Wang turned around, grabbed Ms. Li’s hair and attempted to beat her. She shouted at him, “How dare you!” Wang let go of Ms. Li’s hair, but grabbed a rubber plate and hit it hard against Mr. Lei’s cuffed hands. He left afterwards, despite that Mr. Lei’s wrists were bleeding from the hit.
In the afternoon, the police interrogated Ms. Li and released her at around 6:00 p.m.
Mr. Lei was taken to a hospital in the evening for a physical examination. The police interrogated him again after returning. He still refused to sign the interrogation record.
After 35 hours of detention, Mr. Lei was released at around 9:00 p.m. the next day. The police did not remove his handcuffs until then.
Ms. Ji Shujun and Ms. Peng Xia, of Chengde City, Hebei Province, were arrested in the neighboring Tumu Town on September 10, 2020, when they went there to spread information about the persecution of Falun Gong.
Ms. Ji and Ms. Peng were handcuffed together and pushed into the police car. The handcuffs cut deeply into Ms. Peng’s wrists and left dark bruises. As the women refused to get out of the car upon arriving at the police station, the officers dragged them out and into the front yard of the station. Their shoes fell off, their sleeves were torn, and their backs were injured.
Ms. Ji urged the one officer not to participate in the persecution. He refused to listen and verbally abused Falun Gong and its founder. As the practitioners shouted “Falun Dafa is good” to protest, an officer kicked Ms. Ji’s arm, slapped her in the face, and hit her mouth with her shoe. Her mouth swelled up. When it began to rain moments later, the police stopped mistreating Ms. Ji.
Ms. Ji and Ms. Peng were taken to Dahuangzhuang Brainwashing Center later that day. They held a hunger strike to protest the persecution. Although Ms. Ji was released on the afternoon of September 12, Ms. Peng is still in the brainwashing center.
Everyday Life Disrupted, Personal Business and Health Compromised
After Mr. Xu Yongqing, an electrical engineer in Shanghai, was released from serving a two-year term on November 28, 2019, he had been fired from his workplace. Unable to afford the apartment rent, which increased threefold since January, he moved to a new place in late April.
It didn’t take too long for the police who have been harassing him to find his new address. On July 31, Mr. Xu noticed a white car outside of his new rental home, with two occupants staring at him. Five days later, on August 4, his landlord asked him to move out in a week, with the excuse that the village committee had a new development plan for his house. His landlord 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. Not long after he revealed his new address to his landlord, who turned out to be a retired police officer, his friend was harassed by the police and threatened not to help Mr. Xu with his housing. Another group of officers also harassed Mr. Xu himself weeks later.
When Mr. Xu returned to his hometown in Zhejiang Province to visit his mother during the Mid-Autumn Festival on October 1, his landlord moved all of his belongings to the village warehouse, even though he had paid the October rent in full.
Now Mr. Xu doesn’t have a place to live and goes from place to place.
Ms. Li Meizhen, a 75-year-old retired worker of the Jiangxi Province Coal Mine Machinery Factory, received a call in August 2020 from Li Qing, the treasurer of her workplace, and was asked to mail the verdict of her four-year prison term given in 2012 for practicing Falun Gong and release certificate to the Jiangxi Province Social Security Bureau.
Ms. Li didn’t comply and her pension payment was thus stopped in September. She called Li to ask for the reason and was referred to the social security bureau. When Ms. Li called the social security bureau, no one responded to her.
Ms. Li’s latest ordeal was preceded by multiple arrests and detention, as well as five years of forced labor and four years in prison.
Elementary School Teacher Forced to Live Away from Home
In early September, Wang Hanming, the deputy director of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee in Shulan City, Heilongjiang Province, held a meeting with school principals in the city and ordered them to send teachers in their schools who practice Falun Gong to brainwashing centers.
Shortly after the meeting, the director of local education bureau and school principal harassed Ms. Yu Xiaojuan twice in a week and threatened her to attend the brainwashing session and give up practicing Falun Gong.
The school officials harassed Ms. Yu again on September 30 and asked her husband, Li Zhanhui, to pressure her into submission. They threatened to have Li and their son’s workplaces to fire them, if he couldn’t successfully persuade his wife.
Under tremendous pressure, Li tore up Ms. Yu’s Falun Gong books, beat her, slapped her in the face and pulled her hair. Her arms were covered with bruises. Three of her family members also came and attempted to pressure her into signing the renouncing statements.
As Ms. Yu still refused to comply, her son threatened to jump off the building and her school principal said he would lose his job if Ms. Yu continued to practice Falun Gong. She has now been forced to live away from home to avoid the harassment.
Mr. Zhou Yong, an electrical automation engineer, and his wife, Ms. Liu, who were running a machine automation startup in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, were arrested and had their home ransacked on September 9, 2020.
The police claimed that Ms. Liu was reported for putting up flyers about Falun Gong. Ms. Liu is currently detained in a local detention center and Mr. Zhou at a brainwashing center.
The couple’s arrests left their two children, one in high school and the other in middle school, as well as their elderly parents, in a dire situation. As the couple had been assisting their clients in developing new machine automation system, their arrests also caused disruption in their technical support and financial losses to their clients.
Mr. Li Yuanqing, a high school physics teacher in Tianshui City, Gansu Province, was teaching a class on the morning of September 8, 2020, when a group of officials stepped into the classroom and took him away.
Mr. Li was then brought to a meeting room in the school. For the entire morning, the director of the local 610 Office attempted to force Mr. Li to write statements to renounce his faith. When Mr. Li insisted that he wouldn’t give up practicing Falun Gong, the officials threatened to fire him that day.
On September 21, 2020, Chang Baibi, the principal of Wangchuan Town High School, stopped all of Mr. Li’s classes and reassigned him to do miscellaneous work instead.
Ms. He Dangling, a retired physician arrested for her faith in Falun Gong, is still detained after she was diagnosed with lung cancer.
Ms. He, a resident of the Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture in Guizhou Province, was arrested on September 22, 2020 after the police saw her distributing Falun Gong materials through surveillance cameras.
Despite the fact that she was found to have lung cancer during the required physical examination, the police refused to release her and ordered her to sign statements to renounce Falun Gong. Ms. He refused to comply and is now detained at the Kaili City Detention Center.
Because of upholding her faith, Ms. He, 59, has served two labor camp terms and was subjected to relentless torture in the past two decades.
A four-year-old boy in Macheng City, Hubei Province was recently denied admission to his local kindergarten because his grandmother wouldn’t give up her faith in Falun Gong.
Accompanied by his parents, the little boy went to the Macheng City Kindergarten on September 6, 2020, the first day of school, only to be blocked outside. It turned out that Yu Li, the kindergarten’s principal, had been pressured by the Political and Legal Affairs Committee and 610 Office, two government agencies tasked with persecuting Falun Gong, to deny the boy’s admission, simply because his grandmother, Ms. Tao Lahuai, who taught 33 years at the same kindergarten before her retirement 15 years ago, refused to renounce Falun Gong.
Since May 2020, the local police and leadership at the kindergarten have been harassing Ms. Tao, 70, and asking her to sign statements promising not to practice Falun Gong or talk to people about it. The harassment caused enormous mental pressure to both Ms. Tao and her family.
Jin Sufang, the vice principal of the kindergarten, once said to Ms. Tao that because she didn’t sign the statements, all teachers at the kindergarten would be deprived of their bonuses, which is a typical implication policy used by the communist regime in the persecution to incite hatred towards Falun Gong practitioners.
On another occasion, a police officer kicked on Ms. Tao’s door and shouted, “Are you going to open the door or not? If you don’t open the door, we will arrest you as soon you come out!” Because of the police intimidation, Ms. Tao and her family couldn’t go out for many days.
Hebei Woman’s Son Held in Police Station as Hostage
A group of officers went to Ms. Guo Yuexia’s home in Qian’an City, Hebei Province on September 8, 2020. They pretended to be the property management staff and asked Ms. Guo to open the door. Ms. Guo didn’t believe the police and refused to comply. The officers tried to use a master key to unlock the door, only to find that it was locked from inside. They then spent nearly two hours cutting the lock cylinder with a hacksaw.
Ms. Guo urged the officers to stop persecuting Falun Gong practitioners, but they refused to listen. She questioned them, “You are people’s police. Is this [prying open the door] how you protect people?”
Before the police broke in, Ms. Guo escaped. The police arrested her son instead and threatened to sentence him. After one week of wandering about, Ms. Guo turned herself in on September 14, in exchange for her son’s release. The police threatened to submit her son’s case to the prosecutor before releasing him. Ms. Guo was later sent to the Tangshan City No.1 Detention Center and has been held there since.
After Ms. Yan Yuqin, a Falun Gong practitioner of Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, was arrested together with her husband on September 29, 2020, some of her family members, who don’t practice Falun Gong, were also targeted by the authorities.
The police harassed Ms. Yan’s sister and searched her residence on September 30. In the evening, Ms. Yan’s son and his girlfriend were arrested. The police interrogated them and asked for much of their personal information, but refused to provide any update about Ms. Yan’s case.
In the next few days, the police harassed Ms. Yan’s sister and brother, causing tremendous mental distress to them.
Ms. Yan’s family once went to the police station to inquire about her case. They waited for the entire morning, but the police refused to meet with them or provide any information to them.
Ms. Yan was transferred to a detention facility managed by the Tianshan District 610 Office on October 4. It’s not clear whether her husband, who doesn’t practice Falun Gong, is still detained.
Elderly Practitioners Targeted
Ms. Cheng Sigui, an 80-year-old Lu County, Sichuan Province, resident, was arrested one day in early September 2020 as she returned from grocery shopping. The police took Ms. Cheng to the Desheng Police Station. One officer flashed a piece of paper in front of her and said she was formally arrested and would be detained.
Ms. Cheng was held in the police station from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Then the police took her to Hejiang County nearby and attempted to get her admitted to the Hejiang Detention Center. The detention center refused to accept her when she failed the physical exam. The police called her son to come and pick her up. They threatened to come back and look for her again in the future.
This was the second time in two months that Ms. Cheng was arrested. She was previously arrested on July 19, 2020, for handing out informational materials about Falun Gong. The police ransacked her home and collected much of her personal information, including her gait, voice, fingerprints, and palm prints. Ms. Cheng was released on bail around 11 p.m that day. The police refused to return her Falun Gong books when she asked for them before leaving the police station.
Six police officers broke into 83-year-old Ms. Hu Xiuhua’s home in Qingdao City, Shandong Province, around 3 p.m. on September 8, 2020 and began to take pictures and videotape her place.
One officer quickly flashed a piece of paper in front of Ms. Hu’s 87-year-old husband without letting him read it, and said it was a search warrant for their home.
While one officer held Ms. Hu’s arms, others searched around and confiscated her Falun Gong books, informational materials, and key to her bedroom.
Still recovering from surgery, Ms. Hu’s husband, who remained very weak, was terrified by the police and couldn’t stop shivering. When the police were about to take Ms. Hu to the police station, the elderly man said to them with a shaky voice, “You can’t take her away. I’m relying on her to take care of me.” The police turned a blind eye to his plea and still arrested Ms. Hu.
After a few hours of interrogation, Ms. Hu was sent back home at around 8:30 p.m. on the same day. Her husband has fallen ill and become bedridden since then.
Ms. Zhou Shanhui, a 73-year-old resident in Pengzhou City, Sichuan Province, has been detained incommunicado since her arrest on September 8, 2020. This is the 13th time that Ms. Zhou has been arrested for practicing Falun Gong.
Because of upholding her faith that she credits for curing her stomach condition, rheumatoid arthritis, and frozen shoulder, Ms. Zhou has been repeatedly arrested and detained. She was held in a mental hospital for 7 months and served 1.5 years in a labor camp. While in custody, she was subjected to a variety of torture methods, including beating, being dragged on the ground and stepped on her feet and calves, sleep deprivation, and solitary confinement.
The officers had also tied her up with thin ropes in excruciating positions or wrapped her wrists with thin metal wire that cut deep into her flesh. Because of her shouting “Falun Dafa is good” to resist the persecution, the inmates stuffed her mouth with their soiled sanitary napkins, pried her mouth open and force-fed her with soapy water.
On another occasion, the inmates force-fed her with toxic drugs after she held a hunger strike. She had extreme pain all over her body. She rolled all over her bed and was unable to sleep at night. When the guards sent her to the hospital the next day, her lungs and gallbladder had already been damaged. The brainwashing center immediately decided to release her. Ms. Zhou was unable to eat upon returning home. She was almost paralyzed and unable to move her neck. Her memory was reduced greatly and she couldn’t take care of herself.
Two Practitioners in Their 90s Harassed
On the morning of September 1, Ms. Liu Can, a 90-year-old resident in Chengdu City, Sichuan Province, was reported by a postal worker when she mailed letters with information about Falun Gong. The worker recognized Ms. Liu as she had just received Falun Gong related materials from her the week before.
A group of officers soon arrived and took Ms. Liu to the police station. Although she refused to provide her name and address, the police searched her purse and extracted her information from her bus pass. They ransacked her home and confiscated many of her personal belongings.
Two days later, another 90-year-old practitioner in Tianjin was also harassed for practicing Falun Gong. Four officers went to the home of Mr. Song (whose first name remains to be investigated) around 7 p.m. and asked him to go with them to the police station.
Upon arriving at the police station, the police said Mr. Song was reported for talking to people about Falun Gong in several locations. Mr. Song responded that he had benefited so much from the practice and many of his health problems, including a heart condition, asthma and cerebral thrombosis, were all cured. “I was a doctor myself, but I can’t cure my own diseases. But after practicing Falun Gong, I haven’t gone to the hospital again and still enjoy good health despite my age.”
While Mr. Song refused to sign his interrogation record, his grandson was forced by the police to sign it for him. Mr. Song returned home around 9:30 p.m.
Two officers harassed Mr. Song again on the next day and tore off the couplets with information about Falun Gong on his front door.