(Minghui.org) Over 200 police officers in Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province, were dispatched at 6 a.m. on May 10, 2021, to arrest 15 local residents for practicing Falun Gong, a mind-body discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999. The police all wore plainclothes and drove unmarked cars with civilian license plates.
Except for Ms. Zhu Qiuling, who was released after two weeks of detention, the remaining 14 Falun Gong practitioners have been detained since. Their lawyers’ visitation were also obstructed by the police, who had forced the practitioners to write statements against their will that they didn’t want legal representation.
The 14 practitioners are: Ms. Dong Wanyu, Mr. Ji Yong and his wife Ms. Pan Ning, Ms. Cui Ping, Ms. Mei Hongjuan, Ms. Li Shoujie, Ms. Wu Xiaoming, Ms. Yuan Huifen, Ms. Zhao Haibo, Ms. Zhu Ying, Mr. Chang Zheng, Ms. Han Guixiang, Ms. Ji Cuiping, and Wen (gender and last name unknown).
The police refused to disclose the practitioners’ detention location, and their families had to go around town seeking information about them. One practitioner’s family called the mayor’s hotline to seek justice for their loved one and later received a detention notice from the Changshu City Police Department, which indicated that the practitioners are being held at a hotel under the jurisdiction of Fuzhuangcheng Police Station in Changshu, about 40 miles from Suzhou. None of the other practitioners’ family members have received such a notice at the time of writing.
The practitioners’ families also confirmed that their arrests were ordered by Xu Meijian, Secretary of Suzhou Political and Legal Affairs Committee, and Jiang Hai, the head of Suzhou City Police Department. The Suzhou Domestic Security Office and 610 Office, an extralegal agency created specifically to persecute Falun Gong, also participated in the mass arrest.
The practitioners’ families learned from an insider that over 300 police officers and staff members stay at the secret hotel-turned-brainwashing center and the monthly operation cost is over 2 million yuan. Twelve officers take two-hour shifts to monitor each practitioner around the clock. They arbitrarily beat and verbally abuse the practitioners in order to force them to renounce Falun Gong. The practitioners aren’t allowed to leave their rooms.
In order to visit the practitioners, their lawyers have to apply to the Fuzhuangcheng Police Station, which then seeks approval from higher-ups. All visits must be virtual with the lawyers accompanied by officers from the Domestic Security Office and 610 Office. So far, only one practitioner’s lawyer has been allowed to visit her, while most others have had their requests rejected.
Ms. Mei Hongjuan
Ms. Mei Hongjuan’s lawyer and family members went to visit her on July 8, 2021. Officer Shao, possibly the deputy chief of the police station, said to the lawyer that they would inform him within 48 hours of whether the visitation request would be granted.
On the next day, the police gave the lawyer a photocopy of Ms. Mei’s note stating she refused to meet with the lawyer. The lawyer doubted the authenticity of the note and asked to see the original copy before he’d sign the note as requested by the police.
At 4 p.m., officer Gao Xiang came, with both the original copy and another photocopy, but he refused to give the lawyer the original copy. The lawyer protested that it’s not possible for him to tell whether Ms. Mei wrote the note on her own initiative or she was forced to write it against her will. He strongly requested to meet with her in person.
With the lawyer’s persistent protest, Gao allowed Ms. Mei’s daughter to talk to her on the phone. Ms. Mei said she was forced to write the note against her will and she asked to meet with the lawyer virtually. It’s not clear whether she has been allowed to have a video call with her lawyer yet.
Ms. Dong Wanyu
Ms. Dong’s lawyer went to the Fuzhuangcheng Police Station on July 17, 2021 to visit her. The police kept him waiting for five hours, before allowing him to talk to Ms. Dong through a video meeting at around 2 p.m. Ms. Dong told the lawyer that they were monitored around the clock and all confined in their respective rooms.
Mr. Chang Zheng
Mr. Chang’s lawyer submitted the visitation request on August 5, 2021, only to be told by police assistants, who didn’t have the right to review the document, that his application didn’t meet the requirements.
The police claimed that the lawyer didn’t provide proof that Mr. Chang’s aunt, Ms. Jiao Donglan, who hired the lawyer for him, was his aunt. The lawyer argued that anyone can hire lawyers for others, including friends. The police responded, “The law is just the law. But here at our police station, we have our own rules. You have to follow our rules here.” “If the police station doesn’t follow the law, who else does?” asked the lawyer.
The lawyer spent 50 minutes talking to the police, but to no avail. The police insisted that Ms. Jiao visit her local police station to get a letter showing that she is Mr. Chang’s aunt.
In order for the lawyer to meet with Mr. Chang, Ms. Jiao went to her local police station the next day to get the letter, only to be rejected and told that they were unable to verify she was Mr. Chang’s relative.
Ms. Wu Xiaoming
When Ms. Wu’s lawyer, husband, and son went to the police station on September 29, 2021, to visit her, the police first stopped them with the excuse that the police chief was in a meeting.
After waiting for hours, the lawyer demanded the police follow the law in the visitation process. The police attempted to direct the lawyer to the Changshu City Domestic Security Office, but the lawyer insisted that it’s illegal to do so. As he was about to make a phone call to file a complaint against the police for obstructing the visitation, the police chief came. He took pictures of the lawyer’s visitation documents and submitted them to the Domestic Security Office and 610 Office for review.
Twenty minutes later, the police chief came again and said the lawyer had to wait until 2 p.m. to meet with Ms. Wu.
Not until 4:15 p.m. did the police call the lawyer and hand him a statement from Ms. Wu, which said that she didn’t want to be represented by a lawyer and would act as her own lawyer. The statement was dated September 29 and had her fingerprint. By the time the lawyer finished reading the note, the officer who gave it to him had already taken off.
Ms. Wu’s husband insisted that the note could not be written of her own free will. He went with the lawyer back to the police station and asked to confirm it with her in person, only to find the police chief had already left. The remaining officer said to Ms. Wu’s lawyer and husband, “Now the person in charge isn’t here. I can’t handle your case.”
Fuzhuangcheng Police Station: +86-512-52742110, +86-512-52751783Li Yaping (李亚平), mayor of SuzhouJiang Hai (江海), head of Suzhou Police DepartmentXu Meijian (许美健), secretary of Suzhou Political and Legal Affairs Committee
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