Eleven Falun Gong Practitioners Remain Detained in Shijiazhuang No.2 Detention Center
(Minghui.org) During the past 21 years of the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of Falun Gong, authorities in the Shijiazhuang No.2 Detention Center in Hebei Province have aggressively participated in torturing practitioners and attempting to force them to renounce their faith.
Falun Gong is an ancient spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
As of the end of 2020, 11 practitioners remained incarcerated in the facility, where they were tortured. They are Ms. Zhang Yun, Ms. Ma Surui, Ms. Yang Huanping, Ms. Li Xiuzhen, Ms. Cui Yuehua, Ms. Wang Liwen, Ms. Li Mingfang, Ms. Zhang Fengyun, Ms. Sima Jing, Ms. Chen Xiuying, and Ms. Zhang Gaicong.
Due to recent lockdowns in Shijiazhuang in the Covid-19 pandemic and the strict information control within the detention center, the most recent situations of these practitioners are unavailable.
Below are some information about their cases.
1. Ms. Zhang Yun, Ms. Ma Surui Unlawfully Detained for 1.5 Years After Arrest
Ms. Zhang Yun, Ms. Ma Surui, and Ms. Chen Xianhua from the Luquan District were arrested by officers from the Luquan Police Department on the afternoon of August 15, 2019, when they were reading Falun Gong books in Ms. Chen’s home. Ms. Chen fell ill and was later released. But Ms. Zhang and Ms. Ma remain in custody.
The police forwarded the practitioners’ cases to Luquan Procuratorate, and the three practitioners were indicted on November 21, 2019. At the end of the year, their cases were moved to Qiaoxi District Court in Shijiazhuang.
The three practitioners stood trial on September 9, 2020. Ms. Ma’s lawyer pleaded not guilty for her. The court assigned two defense lawyers for the other two practitioners. Ms. Zhang agreed to accept the court-appointed lawyer only if he made a not-guilty plea, and her lawyer did.
Now nearly six months after the hearing, Ms. Zhang and Ms. Ma are still locked inside Shijiazhuang No.2 Detention Center and awaiting verdicts.
Ms. Zhang, 65, was once a police officer in Luquan Prison. She spent almost 10 years in detention because she refused to give up Falun Gong. The authorities put her in a forced labor camp three times, brainwashing center three times, and prison for 3.5 years. She suffered unspeakable physical tortures and mental abuses, and was in a critical condition several times.
Refusing to give up her faith, Ms. Ma was put in a forced labor camp once and given three years of prison sentence.
2. Ms. Yang Huanping Detained for Over 15 Months
Ms. Yang Huanping, a 58-year-old Xingtang County, Hebei Province resident, is now awaiting the appeal result of her three-year sentence at the Shijiazhuang No.2 Detention Center.
Ms. Yang’s wrongful conviction stemmed from a case against her seven years ago. She was first arrested on November 15, 2013, and later released on bail due to her health condition. She was sentenced to seven years by the Qiaoxi District Court on September 28, 2015. She appealed the verdict to the Shijiazhuang Intermediate Court, which returned her case to the lower court and ordered a retrial.
On June 27, 2017, the Qiaoxi District Court held a retrial of Ms. Yang and later sentenced her to six years. Ms. Yang appealed again, and the intermediate court returned the case to the lower court for a second retrial.
While Ms. Yang was still awaiting the result of her retrial at home, the police put her on a wanted list and accused her of possessing banknotes printed with information about Falun Gong. Due to strict censorship in China, many Falun Gong practitioners have resorted to creative ways to raise awareness about the persecution, including printing messages on banknotes.
Ms. Yang was arrested again on October 25, 2019, and detained at the Shijiazhuang No.2 Detention Center. She was denied a meeting with her lawyer during the coronavirus epidemic. Her blood pressure has remained at a dangerously high level.
Ms. Yang appeared in the Qiaoxi District Court on July 15, 2020. Her daughter was her only family member allowed to attend the hearing. Ms. Yang entered a not-guilty plea for herself. She shared how she had benefited from practicing Falun Gong, including improving her hot temper, and emphasized that no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong.
As she was charged with “undermining law enforcement with a cult organization,” a standard pretext used to imprison Falun Gong practitioners, she asked the prosecutor how she could have undermined law enforcement by practicing her faith. The prosecutor didn’t answer her question of what specific law she had allegedly undermined.
On September 10, 2020, the judge sentenced Ms. Yang to three years, stating that she had 4,650 banknotes printed with information about Falun Gong. Ms. Yang has again appealed the verdict to the Shijiazhuang Intermediate Court.
3. Ms. Li Xiuzhen Detained for Over 15 Months
Ms. Li Xiuzhen from Xichangshou Village, Xinle County was arrested by officers from Matoupu Village Police Station on the afternoon of November 13, 2019, after being reported to the authorities for talking to people about the persecution of Falun Gong.
Ms. Li has been held incommunicado in Shijiazhuang No.2 Detention Center since then. Her family is kept in the dark of her current case status.
An officer from Houmatoupu Police Station once went to Ms. Li’s home and ordered her son to sign the arrest warrant for her. Her son refused.
4. Ms. Cui Yuehua Detained for 9 Months
Ms. Cui Yuehua from Zhengding County and Mr. Jin Qingshu from Shijiazhuang City were arrested by officers from the Sanlitun Police Station on May 19, 2020, for talking to people about Falun Gong.
Both practitioners were locked in a metal cage at the police station. Mr. Jin had a heart attack and was taken home by his family that evening.
Ms. Cui was taken to the Shijiazhuang No.2 Detention Center. Her family was extorted 800 yuan by the police. They also threatened to give Ms. Cui a 3-year sentence.
5. Ms. Wang Liwen Detained for 7 Months
Ms. Wang Liwen from Jinzhou City was arrested by officers from the Shangcheng Police Station on July 15, 2020, for talking to people about the persecution of Falun Gong. Her home was ransacked the next day. She was taken to the Shijiazhuang No.2 Detention Center on July 16 and has been held there since.
Even though the Jinzhou Procuratorate refused to approve Ms. Wang’s arrest, citing insufficient evidence, the police still refused to release her and are still trying to collect evidence against her.
Using the pandemic as an excuse, the detention center only allowed the family to deliver cash to Ms. Wang every Wednesday but not clothes. It claimed that her lawyer could meet with her, likely through video conferencing. But it’s not clear whether Ms. Wang’s lawyer has been allowed to visit her.
6. Ms. Li Mingfang, Ms. Zhang Fengyun, and Ms. Sima Jing detained for 4 months
Three Shijiazhuang City, Hebei Province residents have been detained for 4 months for their faith in Falun Gong. Among them, Ms. Zhang Fengyun is suffering from dangerously high blood pressure, yet the authorities have refused to release her on bail.
Ms. Zhang and Ms. Li Mingfang were talking to people about Falun Gong on the street on the morning of October 13, 2020, when they ran into a plainclothes police officer and were arrested. The police ransacked their homes and confiscated their Falun Gong books. No confiscation list was provided.
At around 6 p.m. that same day, a third practitioner, Ms. Sima Jing, was also arrested and her home was ransacked. As Ms. Sima was with Ms. Zhang and Ms. Li before their arrests earlier that day, her family suspects that the police had tracked her through surveillance cameras.
All three practitioners were put under criminal detention on October 16 and taken to the Shijiazhuang City No. 2 Detention Center.
Ms. Zhang’s lawyer has visited her twice in the detention center in the past month. The 64-year-old woman is experiencing life-threatening high blood pressure, which wouldn’t come down despite medical treatment. She is also experiencing serious constipation. The physical discomfort has caused her to be unable to eat or sleep. Her family and lawyer have requested several times that the detention center release her, only to be given the runaround.
The practitioners are now facing prosecution after the police submitted requests to the Qiaoxi District Procuratorate to approve their arrests on November 10, 2020. Ms. Zhang’s lawyer has submitted a letter to the procuratorate and called on the prosecutor not to approve her arrest, as no law has ever criminalized Falun Gong in China.
Ms. Sima’s father-in-law is in his 90s and her daughter-in-law is eight months pregnant. Both of them are struggling to take care of their day-to-day needs without her around.
Ms. Li’s daughter, who is now attending college and preparing for her graduate school entrance exams, is also very worried about her mother.
7. Ms. Chen Xiuying and Zhang Gaicong Detained for Two Months
Ms. Chen Xiuying was arrested on the afternoon of December 9, 2020, by officers from the Shucheng Police Station in the Luquan District.
Ms. Zhang Gaicong from Yanzhuang Village, Shenze County, was arrested while talking to people about Falun Gong at a farmers’ market on December 21, 2020. The police have submitted her case to the Jinzhou City Procuratorate.