(Minghui.org) A former prison officer in Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province was arrested on June 10, 2021 and is now facing prosecution for his faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Mr. Hou Xicai received a call from police officer Zhang Wen on June 10 and was ordered to go to the local police station to pick up his computer and other personal belongings confiscated during an earlier arrest. Mr. Hou went there, only to be arrested again.

Mr. Hou was previously arrested at around 7 a.m. on April 19, as soon as he left home for work. He was detained for one month at the Harbin City Detention Center and released on bail on May 19, after paying a 2,000-yuan bail bond. It’s not clear what has triggered his latest arrest, which has been approved by the authorities.

Other Falun Gong practitioners in Harbin whose arrests were formally approved at the same time as Mr. Hou and who are now facing prosecution include Ms. Tuo Wenxia, her daughter Ms. Niu Xiaona, Ms. Ren Yulin, Ms. Ma Shuhua and Ms. Wang Chunyan.

Prior Persecution

Mr. Hou, 53, used to work in the financial department of the Mudanjiang City Prison in Heilongjiang Province. He took up Falun Gong in 1996 and credits the practice for broadening his mind and enabling him to take personal interests lightly.

After the persecution started in 1999, Mr. Hou’s workplace pressured him into renouncing Falun Gong. Since then, he was never promoted again at work, due to his “bad record” of having practiced Falun Gong. During sensitive dates related to Falun Gong, his supervisor also closely monitored him. If any “extreme behavior” (spreading information about the persecution) was noted, his supervisor would summon him for a talk.

Although Mr. Hou was forced to sign a statement to renounce Falun Gong, he never stopped practicing at home. On March 31, 2008, he was arrested after the authorities found out that he helped a local Falun Gong practitioner download Falun Gong materials from Minghui.org. His computer was confiscated and never returned. 

Police officer Peng Fuming tied Mr. Hou on a tiger bench and didn’t allow him to move during the interrogation. He was also denied restroom use and slapped in the face. The officer threatened to force-feed him with spicy water and ordered him to kneel down in submission, but he refused to comply.

When Mr. Hou was taken to the detention center, the guards stripped off his clothes for a body search. They shaved his head and forced him to wear an inmate's uniform. He was forced to get up at 4 a.m. and worked over ten hours each day with barely any break. The work included sorting chopsticks and making crafts. Despite the intensive labor, the guards only provided a small amount of porridge or other poor food, and he was always hungry.

Mr. Hou was assigned to live in a cell with inmates carrying contagious diseases. He was not allowed to take a shower, and he had lice on his body. The toilet was inside the sleeping area and was never cleaned, leaving the room with a filthy smell all the time. 

The Xi’an District Court held a secret hearing for Mr. Hou and fellow practitioner Mr. Dai Qihong (also a former prison officer) at the detention center on January 20, 2009. The judge later sentenced Mr. Hou and Mr. Dai to four and five years, respectively. Both of them were also fired by the Mudanjiang City Prison shortly after.

Mr. Hou was transferred to the Jiamusi Prison in July 2009, where he was subjected to continual beatings, verbal abuse and constant monitoring.

In February 2011, the prison established a Strict Management Team to transform practitioners who remained firm in their faith. Within approximately ten days, three practitioners, including Mr. Qin Yueming, Mr. Yu Yungang and Mr. Liu Chuanjiang, were tortured to death.

On February 17, 2011, Mr. Hou submitted a letter to the guards on the Strict Management Team, urging them to stop persecuting practitioners. Upon learning of the letter, Reng Yanfeng, the head of the 2nd Ward where Mr. Hou was staying, kicked him and dragged him to his office. He savagely beat him, especially on his face and temple. When Mr. Hou collapsed on the ground, Ren went up and kicked him two more times, shouting, “Don’t pretend. Get up!” 

After Mr. Hou was helped by other inmates to walk back to his cell, Ren searched his bedding and storage locker to see if he had written any other letters. Ren then grounded all the practitioners in the 2nd Ward to their cells, in order to prevent them from speaking up.

By the time Mr. Hou was released four years later, he has sustained severe injuries from torture. His wife was also forced to divorce him.

Perpetrator’s contact information:
Zhang Wen (张文), officer of the Harbin Railroad Police Department: +86-13936563123

Related reports:

Practitioners Mr. Hou Xicai and Mr. Dai Qihong Sentenced to Imprisonment

Practitioners Are Persecuted in Mudanjiang Prison

Chinese version available

Category: Accounts of Persecution