(Minghui.org) A husband and wife in Daqing City, Heilongjiang Province were sentenced to six and four years in prison, respectively, for practicing Falun Gong in March 2021. 

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Mr. Bai Yufu and his wife Ms. Zhang Lixin were arrested in a police sweep on November 9, 2018. Mr. Bai was released on bail the next day and Ms. Zhang was kept in custody for two weeks.

The couple decided to live away from home in May 2019 after Mr. Bai was notified by the police that he was facing a hearing soon for practicing Falun Gong. 

The police found them at Ms. Zhang’s sister’s home in Zhangwu County, Liaoning Province (about 360 miles from Daqing) and arrested them on December 2, 2019. Mr. Bai was held at the Zhangwu County Detention Center and Ms. Zhang was kept at the Heituozi Detention Center in Fuxin City, Liaoning Province. 

Both Mr. Bai and Ms. Zhang were tried by the Zhangwu County Court through a video conference on March 5, 2021. 

The prosecutor listed the Falun Gong books and banners confiscated from the couple’s residence as prosecution evidence against them. Mr. Bai denied that he violated any law in having the materials, which are his personal belongings, and didn’t cause harm to anyone.

The prosecutor next accused him of being a repeat offender, as he has been given two years of forced labor before for practicing Falun Gong. Mr. Bai’s lawyer argued that the labor camp system has already been abolished in China, which only shows that the persecution against his client was illegal. 

Despite the lack of evidence, the judge sentenced Mr. Bai to six years and Ms. Zhang to four years on March 23. Both of them have appealed the verdicts.

Past Persecution

In the past 22 years of persecution of Falun Gong, Mr. Bai, a former security director, and Ms. Zhang, a former heating company employee, have suffered repeated arrests and incarceration for upholding their faith.

Husband Fired, Wife Given One Year Forced Labor 

Both of them were arrested on December 5, 2000. While Mr. Bai was released the next day, he was fired by his workplace and forced to take a buyout. Ms. Zhang was given one year at Harbin Drug Rehab Forced Labor Camp on January 18, 2001, after 38 days of detention.

Husband’s Two-year Labor Camp Term

A group of officers broke into the couple’s home on September 23, 2005, and arrested them. Ms. Zhang was released on September 30 and Mr. Bai remained in custody at Longfeng Detention Center, where he was force-fed.

Mr. Bai was given two years of forced labor on October 25, 2005. He was first held at the Daqing Forced Labor Camp for six months and then transferred to the Suihua Forced Labor Camp to finish the rest of his term. In the labor camp, he was forced to work more than ten hours each day, including making car seat cushions, packaging toothpicks, and making clothes. The guards beat and verbally abused him if he couldn’t finish the quota for the day. Sometimes he was kept in solitary confinement.

The long-term persecution caused Mr. Bai to have high blood pressure (160/100 mmHg). Nearly twenty of his teeth became loose and fell out, causing him to have tremendous trouble eating.

More Arrests of Ms. Zhang

In addition to the above-mentioned labor camp term of Ms. Zhang, she had been arrested on July 20, 1999, at the Daqing Train Station, while on her way to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong. She was kept in custody for a day and then released. The police summoned her a few more times afterward and held her in custody for another night.

Ms. Zhang went to Beijing again on May 9, 2000, to appeal for Falun Gong. She was beaten in Beijing and detained for two weeks after being taken back to Daqing.

Only weeks after she was released, she was arrested again on June 18, 2000, and taken to the Daqing City Detention Center. More than twenty female Falun Gong practitioners shared a small room. Sometimes the guards forced the practitioners to stand in a row in just their underwear and then beat and verbally abused them. 

On July 23, Ms. Zhang was transferred to Sartu District Lockup and held there for another month. Shortly after she was released on August 23, she was arrested one more time and held in a brainwashing center for a month.

Ms. Zhang was arrested again while riding a bike on the street on October 28, 2011. As her 82-year-old mother relied on her for care, the police released her to take care of her mother.

Related reports:

Heilongjiang Couple Stand Trial for Their Faith in Falun Gong

Five Falun Gong Practitioners Face Further Prosecution for Their Faith, Three Forced to Live Away from Home

119 Falun Gong Practitioners Arrested in Two Heilongjiang Province Cities in One Day

Chinese version available

Category: Accounts of Persecution