Lawyer and His Wife Targeted for Their Faith—Elderly Parents and Grandparent in Distress
(Minghui.org) When a lawyer and his wife moved from Jinan City, Shandong Province to Shenmu City, Shaanxi Province to take care of their elderly parents, the authorities in Shaanxi not only refused to issue him a lawyer’s license, but also arrested him and his wife for their shared faith in Falun Gong.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a mind-body practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Mr. Chen Guangchang used to work for the Yushi Law Firm in Jinan and has more than ten years of professional experience. In 2013, his law firm blocked his annual registration and license renewal after being pressured by the authorities, who had attempted to make him renounce his faith in Falun Gong. Mr. Chen thus lost his license to practice law in Shandong Province.
Although Mr. Chen later found a job as a legal counsel to a company, the authorities still closely monitored his daily activities.
In 2018, Mr. Chen and his wife Ms. Li Fanli decided to move back to their hometown in Shaanxi Province to take care of their elderly parents and Ms. Li’s 95-year-old grandmother.
Mr. Chen applied to transfer his employee personnel file to Shaanxi so he could apply for a lawyer’s license. When the Shandong Provincial Justice Bureau sent his file over, they also called their counterpart in Shaanxi and told them that Mr. Chen was a Falun Gong practitioner. They suggested that the Shaanxi Justice Bureau not approve Mr. Chen’s license application.
The Shaanxi Justice Bureau, which had originally welcomed Mr. Chen to move to the province, changed their attitude towards him and rejected his application.
A director surnamed Jiao from the Shandong Justice Bureau called Mr. Chen on October 9, 2020 and said that only when he renounced Falun Gong would they recommend to Shaanxi Province that his license application be approved.
On February 15, 2021, the fourth day after the Chinese New Year, a group of officers went to Mr. Chen’s home in Shenmu City, Shaanxi Province. They demanded to come in and search the place. Although the couple refused to open the door, the police stood outside for over two hours. Distressed by the harassment, Ms. Li collapsed on the ground.
The police insisted on searching the couple’s place and claimed that, although they didn’t have a search warrant, they could make one up later on. They also threatened that they would force Ms. Li’s relatives out of jobs if the couple didn’t cooperate with them. When the couple still refused to open the door, the police called Ms. Li’s sister and asked her to take Ms. Li to their grandmother’s home.
After the couple left their home, the police broke in and confiscated their computer, printer, cellphone, and Falun Gong books. They then put the couple on the wanted list.
As soon as the couple and their daughter went out on the morning of February 18, three plainclothes officers on the lookout rushed over and grabbed them. Another seven officers soon came and arrested them. When the couple demanded to see the officer’s IDs and arrest warrant, one officer said to them, “You are the suspects. You don’t have the right to demand anything from us. We are just doing our job.”
In front of their 17-year-old daughter, the police handcuffed Ms. Li and carried her into the police car. Mr. Chen was also pushed into the car. After going through physical examination and interrogation, Mr. Chen was put on criminal detention and taken to the local detention center. Ms. Li, on the other hand, was rejected admission due to her health. She was released and given six months of house arrest.
Ms. Li was still struggling with poor health due to previous persecution. The mental distress from her latest arrest and harassment caused her health to further decline. She was unable to fall asleep at night. Her legs swelled and she had pain in her joints.
Mr. Chen was the sole breadwinner in the family. His detention now leaves his family, including his 90-year-old father, Ms. Li’s 95-year-old grandmother, her ailing parents, both 72, and their 17-year-old daughter in immediate financial distress.