(Minghui.org) Six Falun Gong practitioners in Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province were arrested for seeking the release of a local practitioner who was detained for distributing information about their faith. Five of the six practitioners were given ten days of detention.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is an ancient spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party since 1999.

Ms. Zhang Jun, 67, went to the nearby town of Xinglong to distribute informational materials about Falun Gong on the evening of April 9, 2020. She was followed by an on duty officer, then reported to the Xinglong Town Police Station. 

Yang Chunlai, head of the police station, ordered his officers to search for Ms. Zhang around town. They arrested her and impounded her car.

Ms. Zhang’s family and six Falun Gong practitioners went to the police station on the following afternoon to seek her release. Although the police agreed to release Ms. Zhang, they arrested the six practitioners and confiscated the minivan they had borrowed from a friend. The police searched the van and found some Falun Gong materials.

The police slapped the driver, Mr. Sun Tienong, in the face so hard that he collapsed and felt extremely dizzy.

When Mr. Li Yan tried to stop the police from beating Mr. Sun, the officers dragged him to a room without surveillance cameras and beat him. They handcuffed him and held him to the ground. One officer stepped on and twisted his face and head. Another one kicked him on the back. 

After one practitioner surnamed Zhang (no relation to Ms. Zhang Jun) was released at around noon time, the remaining five practitioners, including Mr. Sun, Mr. Li, Ms. Yu Shufan, Ms. Gao Yabin, and Ms. Xu Shufeng, were interrogated and verbally abused by police chief Yang. 

Yang threatened the practitioners to never again come to Xinglong Town to distribute Falun Gong materials. He also threatened that the practitioners’ children and grandchildren may be implicated and punished if they exposed the persecution to the international community or published the officers’ phone numbers online (many practitioners outside of China are calling the police and urging them not to participate in the persecution).

The police issued a ten-day detention notice to the five practitioners that evening. Because the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic was on the rise in the region, the practitioners were ordered to serve time at home. Ms. Yu’s home was ransacked the next day. 

The police refused to return the two cars confiscated from Ms. Zhang and Mr. Sun. When Mr. Sun’s friend and owner of the minivan went to the police station to demand the return of the vehicle, he was himself arrested, even though he doesn’t practice Falun Gong. More details about his arrest remain to be investigated.