(Minghui.org) A married couple in Baoding City, Hebei Province has been forced to live away from home since last year to avoid being persecuted for their faith in Falun Gong, a mind-body discipline that has been targeted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Mr. Guo Yuanrong and his wife, Ms. Cai Jinchuan, as well as six other Falun Gong practitioners, were arrested in a police sweep on August 30, 2019. All eight of them were targeted for having had contact with a previously arrested practitioner whose phone was tapped by police.

Mr. Guo was seized in Guangling County in the neighboring Shanxi Province, about 130 miles away from Baoding. Ms. Gao Sulan and Ms. Tian Jine, two Guangling natives, were also arrested.

Ms. Cai and four other Baoding natives, including Mr. Han Junde, Ms. Sun Liying, Ms. Li Yanqiu and Ms. Cao Guihua, were arrested in Baoding.

The police ransacked most of the practitioners’ homes and confiscated their Falun Gong books, computers and supplies that they used to carve gourds with messages about Falun Gong.

Ms. Cai held a hunger strike at Zhangjiakou Women’s Detention Center and was released on bail eight days later. Ms. Tian, who was detained in Shanxi, was released after ten days of detention. She was force fed during the period. Ms. Cao was released 15 days later, and Mr. Guo, who suffered medical problems at Hunyuan County Detention Center in Shanxi, was released on bail on September 30, after one month of detention.

Four practitioners remain in custody. Mr. Han, Ms. Sun, and Ms. Li have been sentenced to 8 to 8.5 years in prison in February 2020. Ms. Gao has been detained at Datong Women’s Detention Center in Shanxi and is facing trial by Yungang District Court.

After Ms. Cai and Mr. Guo were released, the police and staff members from the procuratorate summoned them several times in October 2019 and attempted to force them to plead guilty for making promotional materials about Falun Gong.

One procuratorate staff member threatened to give Ms. Cai a heavy prison term if she didn’t plead guilty. He also said the decision came from city-level officials and they had to follow the order.

To avoid the persecution, Ms. Cai and her husband went into hiding.

This wasn’t the first time that the couple has been persecuted for their faith. Ms. Cai was arrested and detained for three months in 2000 for appealing for the right to practice Falun Gong in Beijing. She was slapped in the face and verbally abused.

Mr. Guo was arrested and detained for two weeks in 2004 for distributing materials about Falun Gong at Tiananmen Square.

Ms. Cai was arrested again in 2013 after the police found her making informational materials about Falun Gong. She was detained 12 days this time and the items confiscated by the police were worth more than 10,000 yuan.

Their two kids, who were around 5 and 10 when the persecution started in 1999, grew up in fear, witnessing the repeated arrests and detention of their parents.

After the couple were arrested again last year, their children went to the detention centers every day to seek their release. With the couple being forced to live away from home now, they are calling on the international community to help stop the persecution that has brought endless distress to their family.