(Minghui.org) In the months leading up to the Chinese Communist Party’s 20th Congress held between October 16 and 22, 2022, the authorities ramped up the harassment of Falun Gong practitioners across the country, causing tremendous distress for them and their family members.

Below are a few of the common tactics used by the regime to target Falun Gong practitioners.

Cellphone Surveillance

Almost all Falun Gong practitioners in China who were once detained for upholding their faith have their cellphones, landlines, and social media accounts monitored by the police.

Practitioners who were initially never harassed or arrested often became new targets and put under strict surveillance when they contacted those who were on the government’s blacklist.

Sometimes the police show up at the door of the newly-targeted practitioners with the excuse of alerting them to scams, only to collect their personal information during the interactions.

To avoid being monitored, many practitioners tried not to use cell phones. But given the big-data surveillance and the mandatory checks for the “Health Code” under the pretext of pandemic prevention, not carrying a cell phone has made their lives difficult.

Here is an example that shows the extent of the cellphone surveillance. A practitioner often received calls from a friend, who invited the practitioner to her home. Not long after, the residential committee staff members called the friend and asked for her personal information. The staff members then asked the friend if she practiced Falun Gong. Realizing that she was being harassed because she had contact with the practitioner, the friend stopped calling her and her family members also became hostile towards the practitioner.

Flagged IDs

In addition to monitoring the practitioners’ cellphones, the police also flagged their IDs, though not explicitly marking them as a “Falun Gong practitioner.” A practitioner reported that while he was renewing the license plate for his car, the system showed that he was a “drug addict,” a label that would certainly get him stopped at security checks were he to take any mode of long-distance transportation.

Many practitioners were stopped by the police and had their bags searched after having their IDs scanned while going through the security check at train and bus stations. Some were arrested and even sentenced after the police found Falun Gong materials in their bags.

In recent years, the train and bus stations have begun to require IDs when people buy tickets, making it convenient for the police to track the practitioners’ whereabouts.

Some practitioners received harassing phone calls from the police when they checked into hotels while traveling. The police would ask what they were doing out of town. Sometimes the police even went to the hotels to harass or arrest them there.

Harassed at Home

The most common harassment was for the residential committee staff members and police to go to the practitioners’ homes and order them to sign statements to renounce Falun Gong. Some had their photos taken or were videotaped by the police.

The authorities often promised them that, if the practitioners signed the statements, they wouldn’t harass them anymore. But when there was a major event in town, the practitioners were still harassed and monitored. Some were also ordered to report to the police station or residential committee every day as a way to prevent them from going to Beijing to appeal.

If the authorities couldn’t find the practitioners, they harassed their family members, causing conflicts in the family.

Arrests and Detention

Several group arrests were reported in September 2022 when the police accused the practitioners of having “illegal assemblies” to study the Falun Gong teachings together. Many of the arrested practitioners were in their 60s or older.

Some police officers deceived the practitioners’ family members by claiming they were taking their loved ones for “advanced education,” hiding the fact that they were holding the practitioners in brainwashing centers.