(Minghui.org) Having served five years in prison, Mr. Duan Yifa, a Jiamusi City, Heilongjiang Province resident, was secretly sentenced again for his faith in Falun Gong, a mind-body practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

During the past one and half years that Mr. Duan has been held in the Jiamusi City Detention Center, his family has been kept in the dark about his case status. While his family has managed to confirm that he had been sentenced, they have yet to receive any official notifications about his trial and prison term. They have frequented the local police station, Procuratorate, and court to inquire about his case, but to no avail.

Arbitrary Arrest and Detention

Seven officers from Songlin Police Station broke into Mr. Duan’s home on July 26, 2019. They ransacked his apartment and confiscated his Falun Gong books, a cellphone, ID cards, and household registration book. The officers did not show their IDs or search warrant, and Mr. Duan's family did not receive a detention notice or list of confiscated items.

When his family went to seek the return of their personal belongings, the police rejected them. Only after they filed two complaints with the city’s appeals office, did the police return their ID cards and household registration book, but not any Falun Gong related items.

Mr. Duan's family requested further details about his case, but all of their questions were dodged and ignored by Zhu Quanming, the deputy chief of the police station, and officer Luan Zhaoquan

Left with no other choice, Mr. Duan's family hired a lawyer to represent him. The lawyer later found out that Mr. Duan had been indicted by the Xiangyang District Procuratorate. The lawyer also learned while visiting Mr. Duan at the detention center that his health was not good, and he had dangerously high blood pressure.

Mr. Duan's family worried about his health and went to Zhou Wei, the new chief of Songlin Police Station, to seek his release. They pleaded, saying “with such high blood pressure at his age, he might die in the detention center.”

Zhou replied, “Who let Duan Yifa practice Falun Gong? He deserves to die!”

Secret Trial and Sentencing

When Mr. Duan's family called the Xiangyang District Court in late 2020 to ask about his trial date, the judge, Song Tao, told them that the trial had been completed and he was in the process of determining his verdict.

Mr. Duan's wife called Judge Song again on February 4, 2021, but Song said he didn't remember how many years Mr. Duan was sentenced to. He also said that Mr. Duan wouldn’t be taken to the prison during the pandemic, but would still be kept in the detention center.

Mr. Duan's family went to the detention center the next day to ask for more information but was once again stonewalled.

Mr. Duan’s wife called judge Song one more time on February 9. He told her to never call him again before hanging up.

Previous Five Years in Prison

Mr. Duan was born on July 7, 1951. He started to practice Falun Gong in June 1998. In just one month, his herniated disc that had tormented him for many years disappeared.

After the Chinese Communist Party launched the persecution against Falun Gong in July 1999, Mr. Duan was taken to a detention center in June 2001 by officers from Youyilu Police Station and held there for 15 days.

On January 10, 2002, when he was distributing Falun Gong materials, he was reported to Changhong Police Station and arrested again. He asked the police, “The reason why I practice Falun Gong is for health and fitness. What is wrong with that? Isn't religious freedom in our constitutional right?” The officer replied, “You want to talk about human rights? Staying here [detention center] is your human right.”

After six months of detention, he was given two years of forced labor. He was held at the Xigemu Forced Labor Camp for another six months, before agents from the Heilongjiang Province 610 Office ordered to give him a heavier term due to the “severity” of his case.

Four months after he was taken back to the detention center, the suburban court sentenced him to five years in Jiamusi City Prison with the charge of “disturbing public order” in April 2003. The court didn't notify his family of his trial and didn't allow him to appeal the verdict.

While serving time at Jiamusi East Prison, the guards beat him so violently that his body turned black and blue and he couldn't sit up for an entire week.

Mr. Duan once did the Falun Gong exercises in the morning and was reported by his cellmate. The guards handcuffed him to a fixture in the hallway for two days. If it were not for all the practitioners in his cell going on a hunger strike to protest Mr. Duan's horrific treatment, he would have been subjected to more severe punishment.

Mr. Duan was later transferred to the Lianjiankou Prison. There, he was forced to do intensive labor, prohibited from reading Falun Gong books, and forbidden to do Falun Gong exercises. He was also forced to watch video propaganda programs that slandered Falun Gong.

The guards once found a handwritten Falun Gong article with Mr. Duan and asked, “Where did you get this?” Mr. Duan replied, “I memorized it and wrote it down.” The guard Peng Lin became irritated and beat him with a rubber baton. His entire buttocks and thighs were covered with black and blue bruises that took three months to recover.

Even after being released, Mr. Duan was continuously harassed by the police. On September 17, 2010, four local officials went to his home to try to force him to sign a statement renouncing his faith. Mr. Duan was not in and they said to his family that if he signed the statement, he could continue practicing Falun Gong at home. Otherwise, they would send him to a brainwashing center and fine him 6,000 Yuan. They also threatened that they wouldn't issue a marriage certificate to his son if he gets married.

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Category: Accounts of Persecution