Married Couple Repeatedly Persecuted for Their Faith, Wife Threatened with Abortion
(Minghui.org) Since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched the persecution of Falun Gong, a mind-body discipline based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, in July 1999, countless practitioners have been arrested, imprisoned, tortured, or even killed for their organs. The persecution is still going on in China today.
Mr. Pan Baozhong of Sanhe City, Hebei Province, used to suffer from rheumatism due to working at a damp construction site for a long time. After he married Ms. Zhang Jinling, the couple tried to have a child but to no avail due to low sperm count and miscarriage. Ms. Zhang also suffered from complications after the miscarriage.
The couple regained their health after they started practicing Falun Gong in 1998, and Ms. Zhang became pregnant a year later. However, Ms. Zhang was nearly forced to have an abortion when the CCP started the persecution of Falun Gong. Though she gave birth to her son safely, the child grew up in fear as his parents were repeatedly arrested and harassed for their faith in Falun Gong.
Below is an account of the couple's persecution:
The Start of Arrest and Detention
In September 1999, Wu Xianming, the CCP secretary of Xiaowangzhuang village, went to all Falun Gong practitioners' homes to confiscate Falun Gong books. When he reached the couple's home, Ms. Zhang refused to turn in her books. Wu threatened to have the police arrest her but she was not deterred. He left in the end when she told onlookers what happened.
A month later, the authorities tried to force the couple to write guarantee statements to renounce their faith but they refused. When the authorities threatened to ransack their home, they had no choice but to close their business and live away from home to avoid the persecution. This also caused enormous economic losses to them.
The couple was visiting Ms. Zhang's parents during the Chinese New Year in 2000 when Wu and the authorities tailed them and asked if they still insisted on practicing Falun Gong. They affirmed their stances.
Wu arrested the couple the next day, which happened to be Mr. Pan's birthday. They were brought to the police station and handcuffed to the telephone pole in the yard.
Mr. Pan was worried for his wife as she was four months pregnant and asked if she was cold or tired. When an officer heard this, he cursed at Mr. Pan and handcuffed him to the coal shed. After learning that Ms. Zhang was pregnant, the officer moved her to a cold meeting room and starved the couple for a day.
The couple was transferred to a detention center the next day. Ms. Zhang returned home after three days while Mr. Pan was detained for a month.
After Ms. Zhang returned home, several officers went to her home and told her, “Because you practice Falun Gong, you will be forced to have an abortion.”
With help from her in-laws, Ms. Zhang ran away from home before the police caught her. However, the authorities still threatened her when she went to deliver clothes to her husband at the detention center.
Shortly after Mr. Pan was released, he was arrested together with Ms. Zhang again in April 2000. As Ms. Zhang was pregnant, she was released three days later after her family paid 150 yuan for her living expenses. Mr. Pan was detained for a month and forced to pay 3,000 yuan for his release.
On July 21, 2000, the police ordered Mr. Pan to the police station but Ms. Zhang went on his behalf as he was working. The next day, officers with guns broke into the couple's home to arrest Mr. Pan. Because he was not at home, the officers threatened to return daily. The couple had no choice but to leave home with their newborn to avoid being persecuted.
The police searched the couple's home and turned it upside down in the spring of 2001 when no one was at home. Many local villagers commented, “These bandits have lost their mind.”
Mother and Baby Arrested Repeatedly
Because of the baby, Ms. Zhang returned home a few months later, while Mr. Pan was still on the run.
In the summer of 2001, Ms. Zhang and her one-year-old son were arrested at home. When she refused to cooperate with the officers, they snatched the crying baby and only returned him to her after reaching the town's government building. Because Ms. Zhang was not given anything to eat, she was unable to breastfeed her son. They were released at night after Ms. Zhang's in-laws came to pick them up.
Ms. Zhang was arrested one more time with her son on July 20, 2001. When the officers tried to force Ms. Zhang to write a guarantee statement, she wrote, “Falun Dafa is good. Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good. Father and Mother, if I die today, it's not because I committed suicide--it's due to the persecution.” The officers slapped and cursed at her after reading her statement. She was later handcuffed to the coal shed while her son couldn't stop crying.
Ms. Zhang's mother-in-law teared up when she went to the police station to bring shoes to her. She pleaded for her grandson to be fed. Because the officers refused to take off Ms. Zhang's handcuffs, her mother-in-law tried to assist with the feeding but to no avail. The officers then chased the mother-in-law, who was holding the baby, out of the police station.
At the police station, Ms. Zhang was deprived of food and water and left out in the hot sun for half a day. Due to the physical and mental torture, she collapsed, thrashing and foaming at the mouth. The officer then took off her handcuffs and called for the doctor. Her blood pressure was so low that it couldn’t even be detected. The police verbally abused Ms. Zhang and ordered her family to pick her up and pay 800 yuan as a deposit.
Mr. Pan was arrested in the autumn of 2001. He was interrogated, and officers shocked him with several electric batons. He was also made to kneel on the ground before being taken to the Sanhe Detention Center. He was made to pay 3,000 yuan for his release.
Repeated Harassment, Hiding, and Labor Camp Term
In July 2003, a good-hearted officer told Ms. Zhang that the police were coming to arrest them again. They had to leave home again for a few days.
A month later, officers harassed Ms. Zhang. When she didn't open the door, they made their way to her rooftop through her neighbor's bathroom. Mr. Pan managed to escape before they broke in. The officers refused to back down and searched the whole house. They left quickly after realizing Mr. Pan was not at home. However, in an attempt to arrest Mr. Pan, they continued to harass Ms. Zhang.
Mr. Pan was arrested at his home in April 2004 and taken to Langfang Brainwashing Center. He managed to escape after going on a hunger strike for four days.
After witnessing the repeated arrests, the couple's neighbors started to help them. Once, a neighbor helped the couple to escape by keeping a lookout for the officers.
Between September and October 2005, the police tried to arrest the couple again. Due to the repeated persecution, Mr. Pan's parents were traumatized. His father fell sick several times; there was a time when his heart nearly stopped and he had to be resuscitated.
In an attempt to arrest Mr. Pan, the police tried to deceive him into going to the police station in August 2007 with the excuse that his ID was issued wrongly. However, Mr. Pan refused to fall for their tricks.
On March 5, 2008, Mr. Pan was arrested by officers from the Domestic Security Bureau when driving a taxi. He was interrogated for a day and taken to the Sanhe Detention Center; his car, ID, and 900 yuan in cash were confiscated.
The officers then went to ransack his home and confiscated Falun Gong books and materials and personal items including a laptop and photo albums. The raid took place when Ms. Zhang was not at home.
Mr. Pan was taken to the Langfang Brainwashing Center on March 19 and transferred to Shijiazhuang Forced Labor Camp on May 9 to be held for one year and three months. His family was not informed of his labor camp term.
During his imprisonment, he was subjected to various forms of torture, including being forced to squat for a long time, sitting on a small stool, and doing unpaid labor.
Ms. Zhang Arrested While Taking Son to School
Ms. Zhang was taking her son to school on May 15, 2008, when she was arrested. She suddenly had difficulties breathing in the police car and asked for her handcuffs to be removed before she fainted. The police took her to Nanguan Hospital.
At the hospital, the police dragged her across the ground instead of carrying her inside.
The doctor told her that her blood pressure was 180 and her heart rate was 100. When Ms. Zhang told the doctor that she was arrested for practicing Falun Gong, the police dragged her back into the car and took her to another hospital for an electrocardiogram. Though the doctor said that Ms. Zhang's life was in danger, the higher-ups refused to release her.
Ms. Zhang took the opportunity to tell people in the hospital about Falun Gong. The police then took her back to the car and drove her to the detention center. They even threatened to sentence her for possessing banknotes with messages about Falun Gong printed on them. (Given the strict information censorship in China, many Falun Gong practitioners use creative ways to disseminate information, including printing messages on banknotes.)
Mrs. Zhang was interrogated on the morning of May 15 and taken to the Langfang Brainwashing Center in the afternoon.
Tortured at the Brainwashing Center
An assistant was assigned to stay and monitor Ms. Zhang after she was sent to the brainwashing center. As the heating radiator in the room that they were staying had just been painted with silver paint, the smell was unbearable. Their eyes teared up and the assistant couldn't stop vomiting. For three hours, the assistant asked for the door to be opened, but was ignored until it was time to force-feed Ms. Zhang.
Unable to handle it, the assistant asked to return home but her request was denied until she called her town's official for assistance. Before leaving, the assistant told Ms. Zhang to take care of herself. The assistant also said that once she has returned home, she would tell others not to be deceived like her into coming to the brainwashing center to monitor Falun Gong practitioners.
Due to the poisoning from the silver paint, Ms. Zhang couldn't stop vomiting; she couldn't eat or drink. Her condition did not improve after they moved her to a different room. In the end, she collapsed on the ground.
The brainwashing center didn't provide medical treatment despite Ms. Zhang's condition. Ms. Zhang asked to be released home when she was taken to the hospital, but the officers wanted her to confess who had revealed her husband's arrest on Minghui.org.
Ms. Zhang was put on IV drips for the night before being taken back to the brainwashing center. She was then unable to eat, walk, or see things well.
Ms. Zhang was sent for force-feeding on the 13th day. Her request to return home for treatment was once again denied. The police grabbed her up from the bed before throwing her down while cursing her. The force-feeding was very brutal and the police revealed that one practitioner died from it a few days ago.
When the head of the brainwashing center saw that Ms. Zhang was emaciated, he instructed the town officials to send over another assistant, who later learned that she had been deceived into going to the brainwashing center to monitor Ms. Zhang. The assistant was allowed to return home after she kept crying every day.
Three months after Ms. Zhang was detained at the brainwashing center, an officer from the Domestic Security Bureau told the brainwashing center that Ms. Zhang would be released. However, she was instead taken to Sanhe Detention Center. She was finally released on bail a month later.
The police still kept harassing Ms. Zhang after she returned home. Three months later, she was taken back to the brainwashing center.
While Mr. Pan was still serving time in the forced labor camp, their son was anxious after learning of Ms. Zhang’s another arrest.
Due to the many years of suffering, the couple's son was traumatized. He told his grandmother that he was once ordered to the front of the line at school so that two men and his principal could verify who he was. After that, he became withdrawn and was easily irritated for no reason. He did poorly in school and had low self-esteem. Sometimes, he would suddenly start to cry and his grandmother had to comfort him with food.
With the couple under arrest, the family had no source of income. Mr. Pan's mother had to shoulder the responsibility of taking care of her sick husband, sending her grandson to school, and feeding the family. She put on a brave face and only wept when she was alone, which her siblings witnessed when they visited her.
Ms. Zhang's mother became sick after hearing that her house was raided by police and her daughter was arrested; Ms. Zhang's grandmother in her 90s also became sick.
In April 2009, the town officers broke into Ms. Zhang's home and tried to force her and her husband to write a guarantee statement. She refused. Two months later, an officer from the Domestic Security Bureau went to the couple's home to harass them, then called Ms. Zhang in August to order her to the police department.
Unable to bear the tremendous stress from a decade of persecution, Mr. Pan's father passed away on September 27, 2011.