(Minghui.org) Based on information obtained by the Minghui website, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched a nationwide “Zero-out Campaign” in early 2020 after the lockdowns ended. The campaign was to intensify the ongoing persecution of Falun Gong for the purpose of forcing every practitioner on the government’s blacklist to renounce their faith.
The Political and Legal Affairs Committee, an extra-judiciary agency overseeing the public security and legal system, is in charge of organizing the harassment campaign, and local police, community officials, and government employees carry out the specifics. The CCP authorities often promised the practitioners that as soon as they signed the statements to renounce their faith or to report on other practitioners, they would be removed from the government’s blacklist.
In August 2020, with intensified persecution in Yitong County, Jilin Province, the CCP authorities began to force some public servants and community officials to join the harassment. The lengthy duration and the number of practitioners targeted made this operation one of the worst in recent years.
A practitioner’s husband died of a brain hemorrhage after being constantly threatened. The local authorities did not stop harassing the practitioner even after her husband’s death. A male practitioner died a few months after a mass arrest in December 2020.
Steps the CCP authorities take to persecute the practitioners generally follow the following pattern:
1. Frequently call meetings to plan the operation and create an atmosphere of fear2. Deceive the practitioners and make them believe that the community officials and police officers want the best for them3. When hypocrisy fails, the authorities threaten to take the practitioners’ livelihoods away.4. After practitioners refuse to give in, the authorities then threaten to take away the livelihoods of their families so that the families will pressure or persuade them to give up their faith.5. Put the practitioners in brainwashing centers and torture them6. When all fails, they make practitioners sign irrelevant documents and gradually misguide them into signing the statements to renounce Falun Gong.
The plots and measures used by authorities in Yitong County to persecute local practitioners are detailed in the following.
Authorities in Yitong County studied the practitioners, their families, and their work situations carefully before making plans to persecute them. Sometimes the authorities assigned tasks for the practitioners’ spouses, children, siblings, and employers to help pressure the practitioners into renouncing their faith.
For example, the authorities threatened to stop a practitioner’s grandson from applying for college if the practitioner refused to sign the statements. Another practitioner’s grandson applied for college last year and an official said that child got lucky, “He wouldn’t be able to do so this year.”
A practitioner’s husband was suspended from work and he couldn’t go back to work unless he forced his wife to sign the statements.
The practitioners living out of town weren’t spared. The authorities either called to harass the practitioners or forced their relatives to take them to find the practitioners.
The officials had meeting after meeting to plan for the persecution. Besides the police, agents from the 610 Office, members of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee, and other public servants outside of the judicial system were forced to attend the meetings. Hundreds of practitioners were put on a blacklist. The practitioners’ relatives who work in the government or state companies were given the task of making the practitioners sign the statements renouncing their faith or risk losing their jobs or future promotions.
Members of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee ordered the local police and CCP members to go door to door and talk the local practitioners into signing the statements. If the practitioners refused, they would go to prison, the contract of their rented farmlands would be revoked, or their children would not be able to continue their education, join the military, or acquire jobs.
At least two to three hundred practitioners in Yitong County were threatened to sign the statements. Counting their family members, the authorities harassed at least a thousand people in the county.
Every Falun Gong practitioner in the county was harassed at some point. The officials either mobilized a lot of officers and vehicles to harass the practitioners or acted covertly and used deceptive means to persecute the practitioners. In mid-December 2020, the county mobilized 16 vehicles and two dozen officers to harass practitioners in Majiatun Village. Those who refused to sign the statements were taken directly to a brainwashing center.
One practitioner’s family received a call saying that their water pipe burst. Later a police officer came, and the practitioner, believing that he was from the water company, let him in without questioning.
Some practitioners’ relatives have friends working in the judicial system. These friends would disclose so-called insider information to the relatives and say how the situation was bad and the consequences severe if the practitioners refused to sign the statements. Because the private information came from a friend or someone close who was trying to help, it sounded credible to the practitioners and created fear. This put a lot of pressure on the practitioners and their families.
The truth is that the insider information was likely a hoax to purposely target the practitioners. These so-called friends may normally be nice, but once the CCP gives them orders, they’d do anything to accomplish the goal.
The harassment was usually carried out by community officials or local police, and sometimes employers. They either called the practitioners on the phone, went to the practitioners’ homes, or told them to report to the police station. They told the practitioners that they sincerely wanted to help get them off the CCP’s blacklist and promised to never bother them again if they signed the statements. They sometimes talked to the practitioners’ families and deceived them into signing the statements for the practitioners. The families have been terrified and in a state of constant worry for the past 22 years of persecution. Some of them may not realize the CCP’s deceptive nature and fell for the trick.
Few practitioners’ families fell for the lies and signed the statements for them. One of the practitioners still had different officials come to harass him. A female practitioner’s son signed the statements for her and destroyed all her Falun Gong books. Soon the CCP officials came to demand that she attend a brainwashing class. Her son yelled at them, “You promised never to come back and here you are! My mother’s diabetes recurred (because she stopped the practice). Now you are responsible for taking care of her!” The CCP officials thus retreated.
Once the hypocrisy and deception failed, the CCP officials resorted to taking away the practitioner’s livelihood. Everything related to the practitioner’s interest would be used as a bargaining chip, such as their jobs, their families’ jobs, education opportunities, pensions, basic living allowances, and rented farmlands. The officials threatened to cancel a practitioner’s pension and another’s land contract.
After all the above failed, the authorities began to frequently call the practitioners and their families, who were non-practitioners, to put pressure on them. The families would blame and turn against the practitioners. This escalated the external problem into a domestic one, all for stopping the practitioners from practicing.
A practitioner’s husband, after being repeatedly harassed, decided to go to the police station and sign the statements for the practitioner. His daughter later stopped him.
The practitioners’ spouses often suffered the most in the CCP’s frequent harassment. The implication strategy expanded the harassment to the practitioners’ children, elderly parents, siblings, and grandchildren. The authorities threatened their children’s jobs in public offices, and grandchildren’s future education and military options. This created anger and infighting within the family.
The local police threatened to disqualify a practitioner’s grandson from taking the college entrance exam this year. The police also threatened to take her and her husband’s pension away and ruin her son’s job. In the end, her son fought her and her husband beat her, forcing her to sign the statements.
Another practitioner moved out of town to avoid the persecution. Her son and daughter-in-law found her and wanted her signatures. After she refused, her daughter-in-law threatened to divorce her son and take her grandson away and prohibited her from ever seeing the grandson.
When all else failed, the authorities mobilized excessive police force to arrest the steadfast practitioners. Sometimes the authorities just went ahead and arrested the practitioners without the above procedures. The county officials held a brainwashing session in July 2020 and three more between December 2020 and January 2021.
Extortion and beatings are common during and after the arrests. A female practitioner refused to renounce her faith after being taken to a brainwashing center. Wang Jiuqing, captain of Yitong County Domestic Security Office, struck her face a dozen times and told her, “Sue me, this way I will be eligible for a reward!”
A female practitioner in Xinxing Township refused to sign the statements and was taken to Siping Brainwashing Center.
Zhang Wei, an accountant of Xiwei Town, extorted 2,000 yuan from a practitioner.