(Minghui.org) Despite being extremely weak after undergoing a surgery, Ms. Tang Zhuyin, a 70-year-old resident of Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province, was forced to appear in Ranghulu District Court on June 22, 2021, for her faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) since 1999.

Ms. Tang Zhuyin

Ms. Tang has been detained for more than a year in Daqing No. 2 Detention Center after she and six other Falun Gong practitioners were arrested on April 7 and 8, 2020, respectively, while making phone calls to the public about how the CCP has been using similar tactics from the persecution of their faith to cover up the coronavirus epidemic. Their homes were ransacked.

Court Hearing

After the practitioners’ arrests were approved (their families didn’t receive the notice), their case was submitted to Ranghulu District Procuratorate and later moved to Ranghulu District Court.

On December 29, 2020, the practitioners were scheduled to appear in court via a video hearing. Before the hearing started, the court used the pandemic as an excuse to prevent the practitioners’ families from attending; the court also blocked the practitioners’ lawyers from entering a not guilty plea for their clients, with the excuse that they passed a coronavirus hot-spot on their way to Harbin, even though their coronavirus test was negative. At the same time, five court-appointed lawyers were allowed to attend the hearing, who were instructed to enter guilty plea for the practitioners.

With practitioners’ families and lawyers’ strong protest, the hearing was eventually canceled and postponed.

The seven practitioners were tried in the detention centers by the Ranghulu District Court via a video hearing on June 22, 2021. Their families and lawyers attended the hearing in the courtroom. One practitioner, Mr. Li Lizhuang, opposed the video hearing, but the judge ignored his request, despite a new policy that the judge couldn’t force the virtual hearing to proceed if the defendant opposed it. The judge also made fun of Mr. Li for trying to protecting his own legal rights.

Having undergone a surgery, Ms. Tang has a drainage bag attached and has been put on an IV every day. The judge forced Ms. Tang to stand trial although she was extremely weak.

When Ms. Tang was wheeled out by two bailiffs, she couldn’t sit properly as she was too weak. Her lawyer criticized the judge and police for the inhumane treatment of his client. Afterward, Ms. Tang was taken back to her cell in the detention center.

In the afternoon, the judge instructed the police to wheel Ms. Tang back to the hearing again. Ms. Tang was extremely uncomfortable, sometimes leaning on her sides. She also spoke with much difficulties. When her daughter protested to the judge about the mistreatment of her mother, she was dragged out of the courtroom by the bailiffs.

The prosecutor Feng Guang accused the practitioners of making tens of thousands of phone calls to the public while being outdoors and in an organized fashion between January and April 2020, but without providing any phone records or having any witness to support his claim.

The practitioners’ lawyers acknowledged that their clients made phone calls to the public to inform them of the persecution, while walking outdoors to avoid having their locations tracked by telephone companies or the police. But during the nearly 100 days between January 1 and April 8 (when they were arrested), China was experiencing the peak of the pandemic and practitioners were only allowed to leave home every few days for a very short period of time. There was simply no way for them to make tens of thousands of phone calls during the very limited time during that period.

As the lawyers were talking, the judge frequently interrupted them. 

A lawyer later argued that there is no legal basis for the court to sentence Falun Gong practitioners. The judge ordered the bailiff to remove him from the courtroom, with the excuse that he “openly made a reactionary comment that was anti-government and anti-China.” 

When another lawyer, Mr. Dong Qianyong, just raised his hand, the judge ordered the bailiffs to remove him. “I haven’t started talking yet!” the lawyer protested. The bailiffs thus let go of his arms.

Prior Arrests

This is not the first time that Ms. Tang has been arrested.

After the persecution of Falun Gong started, Ms. Tang went to her local government on July 22, 1999 to appeal for Falun Gong and was arrested. The authorities dispatched buses to take her and other practitioners to a local arena and left them under the scorching sun for a day. Most practitioners were released that evening after the authorities collected their names and addresses. 

On the next morning, Ms. Tang went to the park to do the Falun Gong exercises as usual. She was arrested again and ordered to write a statement to renounce Falun Gong.

In September 1999, Ms. Tang was arrested for going to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong, and was sent back to the Harbin City. She was held at Harbin City No. 2 Detention Center for 15 days. 

Ms. Tang was arrested two more times, in January and November 2000, respectively, when she went to Beijing again. When traveling to Beijing, she took along her new cell phone that she bought for 3,000 yuan. The phone was confiscated by the plainclothes police. During her one night stay at the Chaoyang District Detention Center in Beijing, the guards forced her to buy bedding for 300 yuan, but never gave her the bedding after she paid for it.

Ms. Tang was taken back to Harbin City on the next day. Ms. Tang and four other practitioners who were also arrested had to pay for the police’s travel expenses. En route to Harbin City, the police forced the practitioners to stay on an upper berth, though the practitioner had each bought their own ticket, while the police took the remaining berths.

After returning to Harbin City, Ms. Tang was detained for three months and then released. Her husband was forced to pay 3,000 yuan to the police department. The chief of the security department told her husband that the money would be returned after a year if Ms. Tang didn’t travel to Beijing. A year later, her husband went to ask for the money but was told that Ms. Tang had to visit personally. The money was not returned in the end.

Torture in Labor Camp

Ms. Tang was arrested again on April 8, 2001. The officers of Huayuanjie Police Station forced her to sit on a metal chair for one day while interrogating her. The police didn't allow her to sleep and opened the windows to freeze her. An officer hit her legs and knees with a metal club. She trembled in pain. 

Ms. Tang was later given two years of forced labor without due process.

Torture tool used on Falun Gong practitioner: Metal chair

Ms. Tang was arrested again on August 10, 2006 and given another one and a half years of forced labor. She was held at Wanjia Forced Labor Camp for a year, and later held in Qianjin Forced Labor Camp for half a year.

When being held in the labor camps, Ms. Tang was forced to sit on a small stool every day from morning until night, and made to listen to the propaganda attacking Falun Gong. She was also forced to do unpaid labor work such as making paper bags, picking Popsicle sticks, and wrapping shoe soles. She had to work until midnight if she couldn’t finish the daily quota. She and other practitioners were also forced to pave a brick road under the scorching sun.

Torture illustration: Sitting for a long time

In 2002, the director of the Wanjia Forced Labor Camp transferred male guards to the female cells. One day, two male guards locked Ms. Tang in a room and forced her to squat down. The guards then shocked her head, arms and hands, particularly on areas where she had scabies and pus, with electric batons.

Torture re-enactment: Shocked with electric batons

In October 2006, a guard took Ms. Tang to an empty room and forced her to sit on a stool. The guard then tied Ms. Tang’s hands behind her back while another guard put the other end of the rope through the window and pull the rope down forcefully until Ms. Tang could no longer lift up her hands. The first guard took away the stool, causing Ms. Tang to be hung up in the air. At that moment, Ms. Tang felt her body was tearing apart. Another guard then shook Ms. Tang’s legs violently while the first guard shocked her arms and hands with electric batons. 

Torture illustration: Hanging up in the air

After Ms. Tang returned home, the community police harassed her several times, and requested her to report to the police station once a week. The community authorities monitored her; her workplace also stopped giving her salary.

A Good Person

Ms. Tang is a retiree from the Harbin Tungsten Platinum Material Factory. On April 25, 1995, she met a friend who told her about Falun Gong. On hearing that Falun Gong has health benefits and teaches people to improve their moral character, Ms. Tang borrowed Falun Gong’s main text, Zhuan Falun, from her friend to read. The next morning, she went to the exercise site near her home and started practicing Falun Gong. Her many illnesses, including heart disease, stomach disease, arthritis and migraine headaches, were soon cured. 

Ms. Tang lives by Falun Gong’s principles, Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance to be a good person by always putting others before herself. She got rid of her bad temper and her relationship with her husband became harmonious. She also got along well with her in-laws.

At work, Ms. Tang stopped competing for self-interest. She gave up the chance to have her salary increased after hearing that her coworkers needed the salary increment more than her. 

When the factory wanted to retrench workers, Ms. Tang put others before herself and volunteered to give up her job. 

Related reports:

Harbin, Heilongjiang Province: Twelve Arrested in Same District in Two Days, Six Face Prosecution

Seven Heilongjiang Residents Tried for Raising Awareness of Religious Persecution

Related article in Chinese:


Chinese version available

Category: Accounts of Persecution