(Minghui.org) Since the Chinese communist regime started the persecution of Falun Gong, a mind-body practice also known as Falun Dafa, in July 1999, many of its practitioners have been arrested, detained, and sentenced for refusing to renounce their faith. One of them is Ms. Zhang Guangjie, 58, of Jingmen City, Hubei Province, who has been jailed twice for a total of seven years. In the two decades of persecution, her husband divorced her and her father passed away due to pressure from the persecution.
Ms. Zhang, who is retired from the Jingmen City Petrochemical General Factory, suffered from many ailments, including rhinitis, bronchitis, hemorrhoids, and breast hyperplasia. After she started practicing Falun Gong in July 1996, all her health problems went away.
Ms. Zhang’s mother also suffered from many health issues such as headaches, dizziness, anemia, and nephritis. Ms. Zhang’s daughter had frequent nosebleeds for no reason and no treatment helped. After Ms. Zhang started practicing Falun Gong, her mother’s health improved and her daughter’s nosebleeds stopped.
Over the past two decades, Ms. Zhang has been arrested and detained several times, sentenced twice, and had her home ransacked.
Ms. Zhang was arrested in December 1999 for going to Beijing to appeal and taken back to the technical school at her factory. Three days later, she was transferred to the local detention center.
Sentenced to Four Years Imprisonment
Beginning in July 2001, Ms. Zhang started hanging banners and posting “Falun Dafa is good” in Jingmen City and Jianghan Oil Field in Hubei Province. She was arrested and sentenced to four years. She appealed the verdict but the Intermediate Court upheld it.
In the local detention center, the cell where she was held was cold and humid. Ms. Zhang couldn’t do the Falun Gong exercises to keep herself healthy, and her rhinitis recurred. There was not enough water to drink or use. When her relatives brought food for her, the guards didn’t give her everything. The authorities also didn’t inform her family of her trial.
Ms. Zhang was taken to Wuhan Women’s Prison in March 2002. When she arrived, the guards confiscated the court documents that Ms. Zhang had kept with her. She was monitored every day by two inmates and not allowed to speak to anyone.
Ms. Zhang was forced to do the intensive labor from morning to night. At night, she slept on a big bed with nearly 20 others. With poor sleep, she often felt dizzy. The long hours of sitting during the forced labor also caused her buttocks to become very painful.
Twenty days later, Ms. Zhang was transferred to a team that was specifically in charge of transforming practitioners. She was still monitored by inmates and not allowed to talk to other practitioners. She was forced to read articles that slandered the founder of Falun Gong and made to write thought reports every day.
She was not given any pay for the labor in the beginning. Later, the guards gave her a dozen yuan (about two USD) a month.
Arrested and Detained Again
In 2008, Ms. Zhang was arrested again and held in a hotel in Jingmen City. At night, the police handcuffed one of her hands to the bed. When an officer accused Ms. Zhang of giving people banknotes with information about Falun Gong printed on them (as a creative way to raise awareness about the persecution given the information censorship in China), she tried to reason with him and was shoved and handcuffed.
Ms. Zhang was detained for four days, and her home was ransacked. The police confiscated her computer and forced her to pay 3,000 yuan bond. Although they promised to return the money to her in a year if she didn’t violate the law, the money, which was nearly her income for an entire year, was never returned.
Ms. Zhang was arrested again in August 2010 and held in a hotel overnight. The next day, her home was ransacked and she was taken to Hubei Brainwashing Center, where she was pressured into renouncing her faith against her will.
Ms. Zhang was arrested several times afterwards, either at her home or at the grocery. Two times when she was detained and held in an interrogation room she was handcuffed to a metal chair. She also had her blood drawn and her photos and thumbprints taken. When Ms. Zhang refused to let them draw her blood, the police pinned her down and grabbed her finger. They tried to fabricate false testimony and said they would get her sent to prison at any cost.
Incarcerated for Another Three Years
On March 13, 2016, Ms. Zhang and three other practitioners were arrested for distributing Falun Gong materials in Shayang County, They were held in the Shayang County Detention Center.
Ms. Zhang was taken to Huya Detention Center on March 18, and her arrest was approved on April 21. Her case was submitted to the Shayang County Procuratorate on May 11 and sent to Shayang County Court after June 11. The Shayang County Court informed the four practitioners of the indictment on June 17.
A hearing was first scheduled for September 9. Many local practitioners heard about the trial and gathered at the courthouse that morning to show their support. The court decided to cancel the hearing minutes before it started and had 25 of the waiting practitioners arrested.
The hearing was rescheduled for September 23, 2016, and the practitioners’ family members were allowed to attend. The defense lawyers entered not guilty pleas for the practitioners.
Ms. Zhang was later sentenced to three years and another practitioner was sentenced to two years. Each of them was also fined 5,000 yuan. They appealed the verdict.
On December 11, 2017, Ms. Zhang’s mother went to Jingmen Intermediate Court and was told by the judge that he would not reduce Ms. Zhang’s sentence, adding that he planned to send her to Wuhan Women’s Prison. The Intermediate Court upheld both practitioners’ sentences on December 19, 2017.
When Ms. Zhang’s mother went to Huya Detention Center to visit her on January 2, 2018, she learned that Ms. Zhang had already been secretly transferred to Wuhan Women’s Prison on December 29, 2017.
Ms. Zhang returned home on March 12, 2019, after serving a three-year term.
While Ms. Zhang was being persecuted for her faith, her husband couldn’t handle the pressure from the police, who went to his workplace to investigate him and obtain “evidence,” negatively affecting his work and life. He got angry and divorced her.
During the time Ms. Zhang was in prison, her parents endured tremendous pressure and were on the verge of collapse when their relatives and friends gave them the cold shoulder.
Ms. Zhang’s daughter was preparing for her high school entrance exams and couldn’t concentrate due to the mental pressure.
In 2004, Ms. Zhang’s father got into an accident on his way home and broke his legs. He couldn’t walk or eat and had to depend on his wife, who also had to care for their granddaughter. After he recovered enough to walk with a cane, the three of them went to the prison to visit Ms. Zhang and brought her some food, but not all of it was allowed to be given to Ms. Zhang.
Ms. Zhang’s father ended up in critical condition in October 2014 and had to have a leg amputated after a major surgery. He recited “Falun Dafa is good” to alleviate the intense pain. Someone reported him and the police came to harass him. Nearly 80, he was terrified and traumatized and passed away shortly after.