Five Teachers Arrested for Putting Up Falun Gong Banners, One in Critical Condition While Imprisoned
(Minghui.org) Five teachers from the same school in Daqing City, Heilongjiang Province were arrested for their faith in Falun Gong, an ancient spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999. Two of them, Mr. Wang Fengcheng and his wife, were sentenced to prison.
After nearly two years of imprisonment, Mr. Wang developed a brain tumor and is in critical condition. He was sent to Harbin Reclamation Tumor Hospital on June 30, 2020 and remains there at the time of writing. The Hulan Prison refused to release him on medical parole and demanded his family pay for his medical fees.
Police Brutality during Arrests
Mr. Wang worked as a geography teacher at Lindian County First Middle School before his arrest. He was highly praised for excellent teaching. His wife, Ms. Leng Xiuxia, was also a teacher at the same school.
The police suspected the couple and three other practitioners of hanging up banners bearing information about Falun Gong. They followed and monitored the five practitioners for six months before arresting them on the afternoon of January 18, 2017.
The couple's home was ransacked and their phones and keys were confiscated. A bag of tree branches used for barbecue was also confiscated to be used as prosecution evidence. Their private vehicle was impounded.
The three other practitioners are Mr. Ai Jiaojie, a music teacher, Ms. Wang Kun, a math teacher, and her husband Mr. Li Liansheng, a PE teacher, all from Mr. Wang's school.
The police threatened Ms. Wang, who lives next door to Mr. Wang and Ms. Leng, to put handcuffs on her if she didn’t cooperate. Ms. Wang’s mother suffered a heart attack after being traumatized by the police. She kept crying for the next few days. Ms. Wang’s 17-year-old daughter was also terrified after witnessing her mother being dragged from their 6-story home downstairs. The teenager hid in a closet for a week and refused to go to school after the police left.
Mr. Ai, 47, was arrested at his music studio while teaching a private lesson. The police attempted to force his family to verbally abuse Falun Gong’s founder. They confiscated his computer, a cellphone, and even some plastic bags. His daughter was also terrified and couldn’t eat for many days. His wife lost more than 20 lbs in a short period of time due to the mental pressure.
While interrogating Mr. Li, the police put pens between fingers of his left hand and then squeezed them. His hand became swollen and the skin on his finger joints was broken. Under this torture, he was forced to admit guilt.
Mr. Wang and Mr. Ai were also tortured during interrogation.
The three male practitioners were later detained at Lindian County Detention Center. Ms. Leng was detained at Daqing City Detention Center. Ms. Wang was released on the next day.
Mr. Ai and Mr. Li’s lawyers both went to the detention center to visit their clients on February 21, 2017. The guards didn’t grant them the visitation right away but had to obtain permission from Zhang Jinghua, the director of the Domestic Security Office. The guards monitored the visitation and stopped Mr. Ai’s lawyer as soon as he asked what tortures his client went through.
The procuratorate approved the practitioners’ arrests on February 25, 2017. Mr. Wang, Mr. Ai, and Mr. Li were transferred to Daqing City Detention Center on the same day.
Mr. Ai, Mr. Li, Mr. Wang, and Ms. Leng were put on trial by the Lindian County Court on October 11, 2017. Mr. Wang and Ms. Leng were later sentenced to Hulan Prison and Heilongjiang Women's Prison, respectively, and fined 30,000 yuan each. Their prison terms are still unknown. It is unclear whether Mr. Ai and Mr. Li have been sentenced.