(Minghui.org) Ms. Sun Lanying, the mother of a Twin Cities, Minnesota resident, was released on December 18, 2020, one month after being arrested for her faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Ms. Sun, a Guantao City, Hebei Province resident, was arrested in a park in Beijing on November 14, 2020, after the police found her through facial recognition surveillance. Her arrest came 18 months after she was forced to live away from home, having narrowly escaped during a police raid in June 2019.

Shortly after Ms. Sun’s arrest, her daughter, Laura Liu, who currently resides in Minnesota, contacted her representatives to seek help in rescuing her mother.

Minnesota State Representative Stephen Sandell and Senator John Hoffman, who is also the Senate Minority Whip, wrote letters to Hou Gengxiang, director of Guantao County Public Security, to request Ms. Sun’s release.

In his letter, Representative Sandell said, “The safety, security and human rights of our citizens are precious to all of us in government. As an elected representative of our State of Minnesota, it is my honor to ensure those privileges and rights for my constituents. I would expect you and I share those feelings and obligations. I’m writing today to draw your attention to the situation of Ms. Lanying Sun whose rights of spiritual and physical exercise have been denied due to her incarceration in China.

“Ms. Lanying Sun is the mother of one of my constituents who, of course, is deeply troubled by her mother’s situation. We do not understand how her rights as a practitioner of Falun Dafa should warrant arrest and detention. This is a peace-loving woman, dedicated to her family and to the rich history of China. I hope you can help us secure her safe return to her own home and family members.

“You and I, despite the thousands of miles that separate us, share the responsibility and the honor of supporting the fundamental rights of our citizens, the constitutional dedication to the freedoms of belief and expression. Will you join me in a concern for Ms. Lanying Sun and her well-being? Relieving her of the imposed detention, would be an act of both compassion and the privilege of your office.

“One of my teachers, years ago, helped me understand the ‘whole soul’ concept in the work of one of our American poets, Robert Frost. The lesson has influenced me ever since. You and I and Ms. Lanying Sun are all part of a ‘whole soul’ — the humanity that connects all of us — despite our distance, the circumstance of our birth, the careers we pursue, or the way we worship. I hope you can share those feelings with me, as we share the responsibilities of government, and offer Ms. Lanying Sun the freedom of citizenship outside of detention and incarceration.”

Senator Hoffman said in his letter, “As members of the Minnesota State Senate/House, I am deeply concerned about the policy of the Chinese Communist Party toward practitioners of Falun Gong. Multiple reports from independent organizations and the U.S. State Department indicate that the CCP government continues to repress and abuse Falun Gong community to this day, which is a horrific violation of not only international law, but also of basic human decency. Today I am writing on behalf of one of my constituents, Laura Liu, but really on behalf of a human being’s inalienable rights.

“Ms. Lanying Sun, Laura’s mother, is a Falun Gong practitioner. She fled and has not been heard from for 18 months after the local police illegally searched her dwelling in June of 2019. I have been paying attention to this matter and inquiring about her whereabouts since then to verify this situation. This is not the first time I have written overseas on this specific issue. On November 14, 2020 I sadly heard that she was arrested in a park by Orwellian surveillance in Beijing and she is now detained at the police station under your supervision.

“The U.S. enacted the Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act to promote accountability for human rights violators. To date, 55 people have been sanctioned under the Russia Magnitsky Act. The U.S. will continue to work with partners to promote accountability and impose costs on those involved in the Magnitsky case and those who commit violations and abuses of human rights. We fundamentally support human rights which are outlined in the Chinese constitution and the freedom of belief and expression.

“Therefore, I call on Director Hou in your position to immediately release Ms. Lanying Sun and secure her safe return home. I hope you work to reverse the policy of the CCP’s treatment of Falun Gong. By doing so, you will be working to uphold the rights of Chinese citizens in freedom of religion, expression and assembly. Thank you in advance for your attention to this important matter.”

Others who voiced their support of Ms. Sun includes Kirk Allison, an adjunct professor in the Health and Humanities program at the College of Saint Scholastica, and former director of the Program in Human Rights and Health at the University of Minnesota, along with Bryan Dowd, of the Division of Health Policy and Management at the University of Minnesota.

They said in their joint letter, “Since June 10, 1999 the policy of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) toward practitioners of Falun Gong has been suppression, incarceration, and even exploitation as a reservoir for forced organ harvesting as recognized by an independent People’s Tribunal, the U.S. House of Representatives, multiple independent governments, and the European Union. Consistent reports from independent organizations and U.S. State Department indicate that the CCP through its government and security apparatus continues to repress and abuse the Falun Gong community to this day, violating not only international law but also basic human decency. We call on Director Hou in his official capacity to immediately release Ms. Sun Lanying and secure her safe return home.

“‘We the People,’ and the U.S. and local governments, must redouble efforts to highlight and hold to account those who commit massive violations and abuses of human rights in China. For over 70 years the CCP has wrought death and destruction, far beyond the current virus, being responsible for the deaths of 50-to-70 million or more Chinese citizens, denying human rights outlined in the Chinese constitution concerning freedom of belief and expression, as well as commitments in international instruments to which the People’s Republic of China is a party.

“We all should work to end the abusive treatment of Falun Gong such as Ms. Sun Lanying and ... working to uphold the rights of all Chinese citizens in regard to freedom of religion, expression and practice, and support cultural survival and the deeper roots of China’s future flowering and prospering.”

On December 16, 2020, one week after the police submitted Ms. Sun’s case, the Guantao County Procuratorate dismissed it, citing insufficient evidence. The police released Ms. Sun on bail on December 18, after extorting 15,000 yuan from her family.

Rep. Ilhan Omar's office also made phone calls to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, requesting their help to have Ms. Sun Lanying released.

Related reports:

Majority Leader of the Minnesota House of Representatives Urges Safety of Falun Gong Practitioners in China

Minnesota State Representative Seeks Release of Falun Gong Practitioner in China