Hubei Woman Taken Back into Custody Despite Having Failed Physical Examination, Faces Prosecution for Her Faith
(Minghui.org) A 72-year-old woman in Wuhan City, Hubei Province failed a physical examination four times, but the police still forced the local Wuhan City Detention Center to accept her. Ms. Zhou Xiuhua has now been detained for nearly a month and is facing prosecution for her faith in Falun Gong.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is an ancient spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Taking Up Falun Gong
Ms. Zhou used to suffer many ailments, including arthritis in her legs and hands, systemic edema, lumbar disc herniation, severe anemia and enteritis. She spent hundreds of thousands of yuan on medical expense every year and still suffered from shortness of breath and had difficulty sitting up or lying down.
During an otitis media operation, Ms. Zhou became allergic to a new medicine the doctor tested on her and experienced acute pain in her bones. She fainted, vomited and was unable to talk or eat. Her skin developed a dark brown color all over and she was extremely itchy. The hospital, however, refused to bear responsibility for the accident and discharged her quickly.
To alleviate her pain, Ms. Zhou went to other hospitals and also tried different schools of qigong, but none had much effect.
She later heard about the health benefits of Falun Gong and began to practice it. Soon, she recovered and became more energetic.
Ms. Zhou strove to live by Falun Gong’s principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance and became more considerate of others. She volunteered to clean her apartment building and constantly lent a helping hand to her neighbors.
Seeing the positive changes she underwent from practicing Falun Gong, her husband has been very supportive of her practice.
Arbitrary Arrest and Home Ransacking
Someone knocked on Ms. Zhou’s door at around 6 a.m. on July 15, 2020. When her husband opened the door, 30 people, including plainclothes officers and residential committee staff members, barged in.
Upon finding Falun Gong informational materials, the officers began to search the place. Ms. Zhou asked to see their IDs and a search warrant. But they responded that they didn’t have the search warrant then and would make one up later on.
While ransacking her home, four officers restrained Ms. Zhou and her husband by their arms and didn’t allow them to move. Their grip was so tight that the couple had bruises on their arms afterwards. The police also took pictures of Ms. Zhou.
The police then brought both Ms. Zhou and her husband, who doesn’t practice Falun Gong, to the Wujiashan Street Police Station. They locked Ms. Zhou in a cage. When she refused to enter the cage, the police pushed her inside and said they "had already been nice to her" for not handcuffing her due to her old age.
Ms. Zhou’s husband was taken to an interrogation room and questioned by the police. They also threatened to handcuff him.
At the same time, several officers stayed behind to search their home for a few more hours. Ms. Zhou’s Falun Gong books, a photo of Falun Gong’s founder, a printer and over 50,000 yuan in cash were confiscated.
Upon returning to the police station, the police ordered Ms. Zhou to sign the list of confiscated items. She refused and said since no one was at home during the raid, she couldn’t confirm what exactly had been taken away by the police.
An officer surnamed Li said, “We had planned to release you if you signed the list. But if you don’t sign it and have such a bad attitude, this will make things difficult for us.”
The police gave the confiscation list to Ms. Zhou a few days later. It didn’t have the signature of any officers, nor the police’s official seal or date.
The police later returned 40,000 yuan of the cash confiscated from her, but still withheld the 10,000 yuan in banknotes printed with information about Falun Gong as prosecution evidence against her. (Note: Due to strict information censorship in China, Falun Gong practitioners often print information on banknotes as a creative way to raise awareness about their faith.)
The police also took the house keys from Ms. Zhou’s husband and Ms. Zhou’s cellphone. They didn’t returned the keys and cellphone until later.
At around 3 p.m. that day, the police questioned Ms. Zhou as to whether she had a lawyer and would she plead guilty. Ms. Zhou said that her spiritual belief is a constitutionally-protected right and she hadn't violated any law in practicing Falun Gong. She added that no law has ever criminalized Falun Gong in China and the Chinese Publication Bureau has lifted the ban on Falun Gong publications in 2011.
When the police accused Ms. Zhou of “undermining law enforcement,” she questioned them about which law has been undermined by her and how. She said it was the police who were committing a crime in persecuting her and undermining law enforcement themselves. Then she refused to sign the interrogation record.
After the interrogation, the police took photos of Ms. Zhou, including her face and body from four sides. They also took her weight, and collected a blood sample as well as a comprehensive record of her fingerprints, footprints and palm prints. The police even recorded information about her finger joints and the sides of her palms.
In the evening, Ms. Zhou was brought to the hospital for an X-ray. The police said they have been monitoring her for a long time and they knew everything about their everyday life, including when they had meals and when they went to bed.
The police extorted a 3,000-yuan bail bond from her family and released her on bail the next day. Ms. Zhou signed the bail release document. It only had a police seal, but no signature of any officer. The police ordered her to report to them once a week.
Upon returning home, Ms. Zhou was saddened by the confiscation of her Falun Gong books and cried for several days.
One day, after she and her husband returned home from a walk, she noticed that two flash-drives on her desk were missing. She suspected that the police had taken them while they were out.
Case Submitted to the Procuratorate
On December 17, 2020, Ms. Zhou was informed that the police had submitted her case to the Dongxihu District Procuratorate on December 15th.
Ms. Zhou submitted a letter to the police on January 3, 2021 demanding that they dismiss her case. She also sent copies of the letter to the procuratorate and other government agencies, but to no avail.
Taken Back into Custody
Ms. Zhou was arrested again on January 28, 2021 on the charge of “undermining law enforcement.” The police forced the Erzhigou Detention Center to accept her, even though she failed the required physical four times.
As Ms. Zhou’s husband has spoken up for her and accompanied her in seeking justice for her, the police also called his former workplace and looked into whether he also practices Falun Gong.
The Dongxihu District Procuratorate is now refusing to receive her family when they come by to inquire about her case.