(Minghui.org) A vocational school teacher in Jinan City, Shandong Province has been repeatedly harassed since 2019 for her faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been targeted by the Chinese Communist Party since 1999. When Ms. Chang Xinhong, 56, refused to renounce her faith, the police constantly came to her home or called her. They threatened to harass her every year and said that her child would also be barred from working for the government (government jobs are considered very stable jobs, which people compete for).

Harassment from 2019-2020

In June 2019, Lu Xin, an officer from the Huayuan Police Station, called Ms. Chang and asked her to sign a statement to dissociate herself from Falun Gong. “If you sign it, we won’t bother you anymore and your child won’t be implicated.”

Ms. Chang said to him that she hadn’t done anything wrong in practicing Falun Gong and refused to sign the statement. 

Officer Lu called Ms. Chang’s husband a few times in 2020 and attempted to have him pressure her. Lu also called Ms. Chang and asked her to sign the statement. She refused again.

Harassment in 2021

Xu Jigui, the chairman of the union at Laiwu Technical Institute, where Ms. Chang worked, talked to her on May 11, 2021. Xu said that he was approached by the Laiwu District Political and Legal Affairs Committee, an extra-judiciary agency tasked with overseeing the persecution, and was ordered to collect the names of all employees who have practiced or are still practicing Falun Gong. 

Xu said the school was asked to contact every practitioner on the list to find out whether they agreed to renounce Falun Gong. For those who signed the renunciation statement, the restriction of their taking subways or trains would be lifted and their children wouldn’t be implicated. 

When Ms. Chang argued that the Chinese Constitutions protects citizens’ freedom of religious belief, Xu responded that the central communist government doesn’t allow people to practice Falun Gong. He added that for members of the Chinese Communist Party, their spiritual belief should be the Party itself. 

Ms. Chang said to Xu, “I am not doing anything wrong in following Falun Gong’s principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. The list of cults published by the State Department and Public Security Bureau didn’t name Falun Gong. Falun Gong is a Buddha school practice. It’s legal for me to practice it.” 

Xu replied, “It’s not only your business. It affects the school too. If we can’t get the award (because of you) we are applying for, each employee will lose at least a 20,000-yuan bonus. Wouldn’t everyone hate you then?”

“It’s wrong for the authorities to have the implication policy. They are turning the public against Falun Gong.”

The next day, Xu found Ms. Chang and said to her that he reported their conversation to the school principal Tao and the Laiwu District Political and Legal Affairs Committee. They agreed that as long as Ms. Chang doesn’t participate in any Falun Gong activities, it’s her freedom to do anything at home to keep fit. Ms. Chang still refused to sign the required statement to renounce her faith.

A month later on June 10, an officer from the Huayuan Police Station called Ms. Chang and asked her to come to their office, but without explaining why. As Ms. Chang kept asking, the officer revealed that it was for her to sign a statement to renounce Falun Gong and they would remove her from the government’s list and stop contacting her if she did. Ms. Chang again sternly refused. 

Several of the school leadership, including Xu, Fu Ping, the deputy secretary of the college, Sun Ying, head of the propaganda department, and Ren Lei, chair of the department Ms. Chang belongs to, held a meeting with her on July 8. They said that they just received a confidential document just issued by the central government. They had all read it and were then delivering the message on behalf of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee. 

The officials said that according to the newly issued document, if Ms. Chang still didn’t write the required guarantee statement before August 10, they would take her to a brainwashing center for further “education” in mid-August. If that still failed to transform her, they would arrest her and fire her. They were given the deadline by the end of August 2021 to finish the task. It’s not clear whether Ms. Chang was taken to the brainwashing center or lost her job as a result.

Harassment in 2022

The police called Ms. Chang again on May 23, 2022, still asking her to write the renouncing statement. 

Led by Wang Zihuai of the Laiwu District Education Bureau, five officers went to Ms. Chang’s home on June 1 and repeated that the government doesn’t allow her to practice Falun Gong. If she wanted to keep fit, they said, she could find other ways to do it. 

Ms. Chang tried to clarify to them that Falun Gong teaches people to be good and that it’s a Buddha school spiritual practice. She also said that she used to have many ailments, including breast cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and chronic gastritis. The physical torment left her desperate about life. Practicing Falun Gong gave her a new life and helped her to better handle relationships with her family, especially her mother-in-law. The officers kept saying that the government doesn’t allow it and they urged her to give it some more thought.

Past Persecution

Since the Chinese communist regime began to persecute Falun Gong in 1999, Ms. Chang has been subjected to non-stop harassment for upholding her faith. 

In the first few months of the persecution, she wasn’t allowed to work and was put on a furlough. Then the school moved her to a printing factory with the minimum salary. Only six months later did they allow her to teach again. 

Ms. Chang later went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong and was arrested. She was detained until the end of 2000. When she went back to work after receiving a call from the school, she was arrested by the police and detained. After she escaped, her school leadership deceived her into going back, by promising to allow her to resume work. She returned to the school, only to be arrested again and given three years of forced labor. Many of her ailments relapsed due to the abuse in the labor camp and she was released on medical parole. 

After staying at home for a few months, Ms. Chang began to work at the school library. She was arrested again in November 2002 prior to the 16th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party and held in a brainwashing center for weeks.