(Minghui.org) Mr. Zhang Jingyuan was about to take his daughter to work at around 7 a.m. on July 15, 2020, when they found that their front door’s keyhole was clogged with paper. As they were removing the paper, a group of officers broke in, held Mr. Zhang to the ground, and handcuffed him.

While holding Mr. Zhang, his wife, Ms. Ren Yongping, and their daughter in one room, the police searched their home and confiscated their laptop computer, printer, dozens of Falun Gong books, six photos of Falun Gong’s founder, and a media player.

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

The family of three, from Nongan County, Jilin Province, were later taken to Nongan County Police Department. The police officer threatened to beat the mother if the daughter didn’t admit that all the confiscated items were theirs.

While the 21-year-old young woman was released the next day, her parents were kept in custody. Mr. Zhang was first held at the Dehui Detention Center for a month, before being transferred to the Nongan County Detention Center. Ms. Ren’s case was dropped by the Procuratorate due to insufficient evidence seven months later and she was been released on March 4, 2021.

“A Public Hearing” Blocks All Family Members and Lawyers

On April 9, 2021, Mr. Zhang and seven other local Falun Gong practitioners, who were also arrested on July 15, 2020, stood trial at Dehui City Court. The judge barred the practitioners’ lawyers from defending them in court. Each practitioner was allowed only one family member to attend the hearing, on the condition that they provide letters showing that they don’t practice Falun Gong themselves.

Among the eight practitioners, only Mr. Zhang’s father attended the hearing after he got the letter at his local police station. All other practitioners’ family members and lawyers were blocked outside the courtroom. The presiding judge, Wang Rongfu, still claimed that he was having a public hearing.

During the hearing, the eight practitioners refused to accept court-appointed lawyers, who were instructed to enter guilty pleas for them. After their requests to be represented by their own lawyers were rejected by judge Wang, the practitioners acted as their own lawyers, and all pleaded not guilty.

A Moral and Talented English Teacher

Mr. Zhang, 48, has been an elementary school English teacher for over 18 years. He actually graduated from Changchun City Geological Technical Secondary School. How did he become an award-wining English teacher?

It all goes back to 2002, when both Mr. Zhang and his wife were targeted for practicing Falun Gong. Ms. Ren was fired by the Nongan City Education Department because she refused to renounce her faith. She got pregnant the same year. Under the one-child policy in China at the time, the second child was not allowed. They could either get an abortion or pay the fine. They paid a 3,000-yuan fine to the local family planning office. Their financial condition thus got worse.

When a staffer from the family planning office came to collect the fine, Mr. Zhang told him about his family situation. The staffer was sympathetic and informed Mr. Zhang that the county government was recruiting English teachers for the first time. Mr. Zhang put in great efforts to prepare for the recruitment exam and he passed.

As a teacher, Mr. Zhang worked very hard and also applied his faith to his work by following the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.

Unlike other teachers, he never accepted gifts from students’ parents, nor did he try to bribe his superiors. Instead, he offered help to students from financially disadvantaged families. He put great effort into his teaching and won many awards. There are over ten elementary schools in the village, and the education department ranks different classes every year. The English level of Mr. Zhang’s class was always at the top.

In addition to his excellent work in teaching, he is always doing anything he can proactively, such as cleaning the classroom or maintaining the school’s garden. He is always on hand to help colleagues.

Currently his students and his students’ parents are looking forward to Mr. Zhang’s return to school.

A Good Husband and a Good Son

After losing her job due to the persecution, Ms. Ren stays at home to care for the children. Mr. Zhang became the sole breadwinner for his small family, and he also supports his parents and grandfather.

Mr. Zhang’s mother, in her 70s, was often hospitalized because of various diseases. Mr. Zhang and his wife took care of her every time.

When Mr. Zhang’s father had a rectal rerouting surgery, each of his sons contributed 5,000 yuan. Without any savings, Mr. Zhang and his wife borrowed money to cover their share. His father also asked for 1,000 yuan a month from each son after he reached 60. He is currently 76. No matter how difficult it was for Mr. Zhang and his wife, they never complained, and simply tried to save every penny to take care of the family.

When Mr. Zhang’s grandfather had Alzheimer's more than ten years ago, he couldn’t take care of himself. He spent the last ten months of his life at Mr. Zhang’s house. Mr. Zhang and his wife took good care of him without complaint.

Mr. Zhang’s financial condition improved after his neighbors approached the couple and asked for help with their children’s homework. They knew the couple were teachers and good people. So Mr. Zhang tutored nearby middle school students at night for the lowest fee and with the most effort. With his help, many kids were accepted by top high schools.

Mr. Zhang’s arrest dealt a heavy blow to his elderly parents, especially his ailing mother. In the first few months, she cried almost every night and couldn’t sleep. Every day she moves to the back of her house with crutches and stares at the entrance of the village hoping for the early return of her son.

Mr. Zhang’s family is calling on the international community to lend a helping hand to help him regain his freedom as soon as possible and resume the teaching he loves.

Related Article:

Arrested in a Police Sweep, Eight Jilin Residents Tried for Their Faith

Chinese version available

Category: Accounts of Persecution