(Minghui.org) A 71-year-old woman in Changchun City, Jilin Province was sentenced to five years and fined 10,000 yuan for her faith in Falun Gong, a mind-body practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party since July 1999.
Ms. Xu Yanhua’s sentencing stemmed from her arrest on February 10, 2023, by agents from the Caiyudajie Police Station in Jingyue District, Changchun City. Other details of her prosecution, including her indictment and trial, remain to be investigated. It is also unclear where she is currently detained.
This is not the first time that Ms. Xu, a retired worker, has been targeted for her faith. She credits Falun Gong for restoring her health and enabling her to let go of her resentment towards her ex-husband and supervisors at work. Her simple pursuit of a healthy and happy life, however, was met with repeated persecution over the years. Her son, Mr. Wang Peng, was also targeted for his shared faith and twice jailed for a total of 7.5 years.
Finding Joy in Life Again
Ms. Xu used to suffer from heart disease, neurasthenia, cervical spondylosis, and many other ailments. She had to take pills and injections all the time to alleviate her symptoms. Even so, her conditions worsened from time to time, requiring hospitalization.
Her ex-husband once pushed her down on the concrete ground, causing severe injuries to her hip bone and head. She herself fell one winter day in 1995, while on the way to work. Two places in her sternum fractured as a result. She had to take extended leave of absence and was in unbearable pain every day. But as a single mother, she still must manage to take care of her two school-age children. Her life was beyond miserable.
Her fate changed in 1996 when she took up Falun Gong. Her illnesses and injuries gradually recovered and she never needed medical treatment again.
She had planned to sue her ex-husband for refusing to pay child support or covering her medical expenses which resulted from him pushing her down. But as she learned to live by Falun Gong’s principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, she changed her mind.
According to China’s Labor Law, injuries sustained on the way to work are covered under workers’ compensation. Her supervisors refused to sign on her workers’ compensation claim though after she fell on a snowy road in 1995, for fear of losing a bonus due to compromised workplace safety. Ms. Xu had thought to file a complaint against her supervisors but again chose not to after taking up Falun Gong.
Moreover, Ms. Xu no longer fought for a pay raise or complained about her workload.
Her son, Mr. Wang, witnessed her change and became a Falun Gong practitioner too. In 1997, he was admitted to a trade school and his sister to a four-year college. He landed a job at Jilin Chemical Fiber Factory after graduation. He worked hard and was named an exemplary employee not long after his hire. He never hesitated to help those in need, including his coworkers and friends.
Once a broken family, Ms. Xu and her two children found joy in life again, thanks to Falun Gong. Their happy life didn’t last long though, as the communist regime was set on crushing the life-transforming practice. Ms. Xu and Mr. Wang, in particular, were repeatedly targeted for their faith during the past 24 years.
Son Targeted Even Before Persecution Officially Began
In March 1999, Mr. Wang’s supervisors gave him an ultimatum: either stop practicing Falun Gong or get fired. They said he must make a decision in one month. After careful consideration, Mr. Wang decided to choose Falun Gong. He was then terminated from his job.
Son’s Earliest Arrest
The Huadian City Police Department arrested Mr. Wang in November 2001 and tortured him on and off during the next few weeks. He went on a hunger strike in protest. About two weeks later, the police notified his mother to pick him up, on the condition that she pay 8,000 yuan. By that time, he had become beyond recognition after two weeks of a hunger strike. Ms. Xu paid the money and took her son home.
Son Sentenced to Six Years Following Arrest in 2005
Mr. Wang was arrested again in March 2005, by more than ten officers led by Li Xingtao from the Changchun City Police Department’s Domestic Security Office. The police broke into the home he shared with Ms. Xu and confiscated a large amount of valuables. Ms. Xu was forced to sign and fingerprint some paperwork.
Mr. Wang was tortured and not allowed to sleep for five straight nights while being held at Changchun City Police Department. About three weeks later, he was moved to Tiebei First Detention Center in Changchun. He and a few other detained practitioners went on a hunger strike and were force-fed a high-concentration of saline water through a tube inserted through their noses to their stomachs.
The detention center guards also subjected Mr. Wang to the straitjacket torture and tied him up with ropes as shown in the image below.
After the police submitted Mr. Wang’s case to the Changchun Automotive Economic Trade and Development Zone Procuratorate, Ms. Xu talked to the chief prosecutor and urged him to dismiss her son’s case. The chief prosecutor said he understood that Falun Gong practitioners broke no law but that he couldn’t make any decision in Falun Gong cases.
Mr. Wang’s case was later assigned to Luyuan District Court. Ms. Xu then talked to the court president and urged him to uphold justice for her son. The court president also said he had no say whatsoever in Falun Gong cases as the Political and Legal Affairs Committee and the 610 Office, both extra-judicial agencies tasked with overseeing the persecution, would call the shots.
The Luyuan District Court sentenced Mr. Wang to six years in December 2005. While he was serving time at the Shiling Prison in Siping City, Ms. Xu was denied visits with him and was also threatened by the guards.
Mother Targeted While Son in Prison
While Mr. Wang was still in prison, the Changchun City Police Department attempted to arrest his mother. They went to her old residence in 2007 without knowing she had already moved away. A relative of Ms. Xu’s was living there.
The police shut off electricity to the home and staked it outside. As soon as the relative opened the door, the police barged in.
Mother and Son Both Arrested in 2022, Son Given 1.5 Years in Prison
Ms. Xu was arrested by officers from the Caiyudajie Police Station in May 2022. She lived away from home after being released.
On July 20, 2022, deputy chief Cao Hui of Caiyudajie Police Station led an officer to Mr. Wang’s home to search for Ms. Xu. She was not at her son’s home, but Cao raided Mr. Wang’s home on the grounds that he also practiced Falun Gong.
Cao called in two more officers and turned Mr. Wang’s home upside down (see images below). They confiscated his Falun Gong books, computer and cell phone. They arrested him, his wife, and a guest (also a Falun Gong practitioner).
Mr. Wang was put on criminal detention at Weizigou Detention Center (also known as Changchun City Public Security Supervision Center).
The Kuancheng District Court held a hearing at the detention center on November 21, 2022 and sentenced Mr. Wang to one and a half years.
Ms. Xu was seized by the police on February 10, 2023, and secretly sentenced thereafter.
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