(Minghui.org) Ms. Zhou Yuezhen, 68, was arrested at her daughter’s home in Lanzhou City, Gansu Province on November 18, 2021. The police claimed they were following up on her earlier arrest in May 2020. 

Ms. Zhou, a native of Tianshui City of the same province, has been staying at her daughter’s home in Lanzhou in the past few years to help take care of her grandson. She was reported for distributing QR codes linking to uncensored websites on the evening of May 11, 2020. The police arrested her and found another dozen copies of the QR codes in her, which were developed by practitioners of Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

To raise awareness about the persecution and provide free information to the Chinese who live under strict censorship by the communist regime, Falun Gong practitioners, including Ms. Zhou, often distributed free tools developed by overseas practitioners for those inside China to bypass the great firewall. 

When Ms. Zhou’s family was asked to pick her up at 4 a.m., the police said they would ask for instruction from above on how to handle Ms. Zhou’s case. They ordered her to prepare to be summoned anytime in the next few days. To avoid being persecuted, Ms. Zhou decided to live away from home. The police kept calling her family, asking whether she had come back. 

Shortly after Ms. Zhou came home around September 2021, new coronavirus cases broke out in her region. Her neighborhood was on a lockdown and all local residents were forced to do coronavirus tests nine times. 

Right after the infection cases were cleared, the police arrested Ms. Zhou at home on November 18. Her arrest was approved on December 2. The police threatened that she might be sentenced towards the end of the year. 

Ms. Zhou is now held at the Lanzhou City No. 1 Detention Center. The guards didn’t allow her to wear her dentures, causing her much difficulty while eating. As her husband has lost vision in one eye and struggles to care for himself, her family is left in deep distress.

Previous Persecution

Ms. Zhou, a retired factory employee, began to practice Falun Gong in early 1997. Within a month, her psoriasis and tuberculosis were cured. 

When the communist regime announced the persecution of Falun Gong on July 20, 1999, Ms. Zhou went to Beijing to appeal for the right to practice Falun Gong. She was arrested as soon as she got off the train and taken to the Fengtai Stadium in Beijing. With the temperature around 105 °F, the police blew hot air on her and other detained practitioners in the overcrowded stadium.

Ms. Zhou was soon sent back to Tianshui and had her home ransacked by officers Fang Shuangcun, Pei Guilin, and Guo Jianwei on July 26. Her Falun Gong books, audio, and videotapes were confiscated. The police verbally abused and intimidated her and her family after the raid. 

Pressured by the police, Ms. Zhou’s workplace demoted her and reassigned her to work at the workshop. They also ordered her supervisors and husband to monitor her daily life. They recorded the time when she arrived at work and took off, as well as when she went to visit her parents every week. The authorities threatened to suspend her supervisors’ salaries if she went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong again.

Ms. Zhou’s workplace arranged her to retire in 2000. She went to Beijing again in late December that year. At Tiananmen Square, a group of officers surrounded her, pushed her to the ground, beat her and shocked her with electric batons. One of her front teeth was knocked out. Blood was all over her face and bruises all over her body. She was taken to Mentougou Detention Center and released nine days later after she held a hunger strike.

Ms. Zhou was arrested again on April 5, 2003, for talking to people about Falun Gong. The police ransacked her home and took away all her Falun Gong books, computer, printer, and other personal belongings. Officer Pei Guilin extorted 3,000 yuan from her husband without giving a receipt. 

Officer Pei, Zhang Baoyong, Dong Quanzi, and Yang Yongzhou handcuffed her facing a big post. She was having her menstrual period, but they didn’t allow her to use the restroom. For five days, they handcuffed her from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. to the post and then to the heating pipes at night, with her feet barely touching the ground. Her feet were swollen and painful for a long time. She was later taken to the Qinzhou Detention Center and held there for 3.5 months. 

Ms. Zhou’s next arrest was in April 2008 by officers Zhang Wen, Yang Yuancang, and Yang Yongzhou. They confiscated her Falun Gong books, satellite dish, a printer, two and mp3 players. Officer Pei extorted several thousand yuan from her family. 

Ms. Zhou was later sentenced to five years and taken to the Gansu Province Women’s Prison on February 23, 2009. The authorities selected death-row prisoners or those serving life to torture the practitioners, with term reduction as an incentive. While the inmates often fought with each other, they always worked well together in persecuting the practitioners, including verbally abusing and using extreme torture against them.

The inmate assigned to monitor Ms. Zhou was Li Yan, in her 30s. She often beat Ms. Zhou with other inmates, including Meng Haihong and Yan Feng. Meng kicked Ms. Zhou’s lower body several times, causing enormous pain to her. When Ms. Zhou’s family visited her and brought daily necessities to her, the inmates took away valuable items. 

In addition to the constant beating and verbal abuse, the inmates also ordered Ms. Zhou to do their laundry by hand, especially in the winter. They often said to her, “We have the government backing us. You can go ahead and file complaints against us. You should be thankful we didn’t torture you to death.”