(Minghui.org) A 78-year-old woman in Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, has remained in the Shenyang City First Detention Center since her arrest on September 20, 2023, for her faith in Falun Gong, a mind-body practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party since July 1999.

According to an eyewitness, Ms. Zhang Yujin, a retired professor at Shenyang Ligong University, was seen outside her apartment building at around 8 a.m. on September 20, 2023, when a police cruiser (a white mini-van) pulled up. A black sedan (with a private license plate) soon came and two black-clad men got out. They talked to Ms. Zhang and went inside the apartment building with her.

About half an hour later, another police cruiser (a white sedan) pulled up. One officer got out and made a phone call. The two black-clad men then escorted Ms. Zhang and a boy around 17 or 18 out of the building. The eyewitness (a neighbor) didn’t recognize the boy as a member of Ms. Zhang’s family. The police were also seen loading their cruisers with items confiscated from Ms. Zhang’s home.

At around 9:30 a.m., the eyewitness saw another cruiser come and then drive away with the first three vehicles (the white mini-van, the black private car, and the white sedan).

According to insiders, the arresting officers were from the Wanlian Police Station in the Shenhe District of Shenyang City. They took Ms. Zhang to the Shenyang City First Detention Center, where she remains.

Ms. Zhang credits Falun Gong for giving her an illness-free life but she has been repeatedly targeted for her faith over the past 24 years. In particular, she served two forced labor terms totaling four years.

Taking up Falun Gong

Ms. Zhang could not sit up before she was six years old and she also suffered from scoliosis (a curved spine) and facial deformity. After she grew up, she paid particular attention to her diet and exercise regimen as she was determined to have a strong and healthy body. Despite her best efforts to keep fit, she ended up with a strange condition in which she vomited violently for no reason from time to time. It became worse after meals as she would throw up everything she had eaten until she vomited bile. Her esophagus bled and her whole body went into spasms as a result of the projectile vomiting. She sought medical care but nothing helped.

Her strange condition disappeared, however, shortly after she took up Falun Gong in June 1997. Her other symptoms were also gone, and she got to enjoy an illness-free life.

As a physical education professor, Ms. Zhang incorporated Falun Gong into her curriculum, which her students really enjoyed. Her school administration was also very supportive and provided audio and video equipment for her to set up a Falun Gong exercise site on campus.

Ms. Zhang also reported that she learned to be a better person following Falun Gong’s principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. She had been resentful of her mother-in-law for 18 years, but after she took up Falun Gong, she realized she should be a respectful daughter-in-law. She said to her husband that she wanted to visit his mother. His jaw dropped and asked, “You don’t hate my mother anymore?”

Targeted After 4.25 Peaceful Appeal

After 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners staged a peaceful appeal outside of the State Council’s Appeals Office in Beijing on April 25, 1999, then-leader of the communist regime Jiang Zemin issued a secret order to all government agencies and state-owned enterprises to investigate their employees who were Falun Gong practitioners. The order instructed the employers to do whatever it took to have their employee practitioners turn in their Falun Gong books and renounce their faith.

Ms. Zhang’s school told her she was no longer allowed to mention Falun Gong in her classes. The exercise site on campus was also harassed by campus security guards. The school administration had numerous talks with Ms. Zhang in an attempt to make her give up Falun Gong.

Arrested in Beijing in September 1999

Jiang formally launched the persecution of Falun Gong on July 20, 1999. When the new school year started in early September that year, Ms. Zhang’s school again ordered her to renounce Falun Gong or she would not get any retirement benefits when she retired.

Ms. Zhang did not budge and went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong a few days later. She was arrested and taken to the Shenyang Government Liaison Office in Beijing. Two days later, officer Zhao from the Wulihe Police Station in Shenyang and director Zhang from her school’s public safety department picked her up from Beijing. They lied to her that they would drop her off at school when they got to Shenyang, but they took her straight to the Shenhe District Police Department.

Ms. Zhang escaped from the police department, and the police and her school hunted for her everywhere. They ordered her family, parents-in-law, relatives, and neighbors to report to them as soon as they spotted her.

The school also dispatched two physical education teachers to look for Ms. Zhang in Beijing. She managed to go to her hometown in Jinan City, Shandong Province in November 1999 without being caught. However, she was soon arrested in Jinan when she had a gathering there with a few local Falun Gong practitioners she had just met.

The police took Ms. Zhang to the Jinan City No. 1 Detention Center. She was not allowed to talk to anyone or do the Falun Gong exercises. Several officers came to interrogate her every day. They asked who arranged for her to come to Shandong Province.

Twenty days later, officer Dong from the Shenyang City Police Department and directors Zhang and Hu from Ms. Zhang’s school’s public safety department picked her up from the detention center. They kept her handcuffed during the entire trip back to Shenyang, about 600 miles from Jinan.

They took her straight to the Shenyang City First Detention Center, where she was still interrogated every day about who told her to go to Shandong.

Ms. Zhang was made to sleep on the floor every night and she soon became very weak. One morning she suddenly couldn’t sit up and she also got confused from time to time. The Shenyang City Police Department notified her son that afternoon to pick her up. She was released on a 5,000-yuan bail.

Given Two Years of Forced Labor in 2000

Ms. Zhang went to a printing shop in August 2000 to make copies of a Falun Gong flyer. The shop owner reported her to police and she was taken to the Fangjialan Detention Center in the Dongling District, Shenyang City.

The guards assigned criminal inmates to watch Ms. Zhang to prevent her from talking to people about Falun Gong or doing Falun Gong exercises. Every once in a little while, the inmates also stripped her to her undergarments to humiliate her.

Ms. Zhang was forced to sleep on the cold cement floor and use a chamber pot in the cell. Sometimes the cell held so many people that she couldn’t even find a space to lie down to sleep. The cell smelled awful.

The guards beat and forced Ms. Zhang to stand or squat for long periods of time.

Ms. Zhang was given two years of forced labor in September 2000 and transferred to Masanjia Forced Labor Camp.

The labor camp guards ordered all detained practitioners to sit on small stools with their hands behind their backs and watch videos slandering Falun Gong and its founder. Any practitioner who refused to renounce Falun Gong would be deprived of sleep and family visitations and barred from talking to others or going to the cafeteria to eat. Other punishments included forcing the practitioner to stand facing a wall or squat for long periods of time.

Ms. Zhang said she became confused and wrote a statement to renounce Falun Gong against her will. The guards then ordered her to “work on” still-steadfast practitioners as a way to test whether she had indeed given up Falun Gong.

In addition to brainwashing, Ms. Zhang was also made to do forced labor for more than ten hours a day without pay. She had to process toxic products without adequate protection. The food she was given was moldy.

Arrested in Hometown in Shandong Province in 2003

Ms. Zhang was released from the labor camp in August 2002, only to be arrested in September 2003 when she visited her sister in Laiwu City, Shandong Province.

One officer kicked her down during the arrest. She was also restrained in a metal chair when she was interrogated in the Nanma Police Department. When the police finally let her get up from the chair at night, she had piercing pain in her right ankle. The police took her to Yiyuan County Hospital and she was found to have fractured her right ankle from the arresting officer having kicked her.

In mid-October 2003, security heads Zhao and Hu from Ms. Zhang’s school and two police officers picked her up and took her back to Shenyang. One officer punched her on the nose bridge on the way back. She saw stars and felt dazed for quite a while.

Billed for Treatment of Police-caused Broken Ankle

Ms. Zhang was taken to the Fangjialan Detention Center after being escorted back to Shenyang. Because she was still unable to take care of herself due to her injured ankle, the guards there told her son to take her home on condition that she write a statement to renounce Falun Gong. She refused to comply but was still released on bail. The police kept harassing her at home, claiming they were checking in on her when, in fact, they were seeing if she was ready to be taken back into custody.

After she recovered a bit, Ms. Zhang went to her school and was told by the finance department that the Shenhe District Police Department had deducted 200 yuan from her pay. Days later, the finance department told her that Yiyuan County Hospital in Shandong Province had mailed her (in care of the school) a bill for more than 3,000 yuan. She couldn’t believe that the Shandong police would order the hospital to bill her for the treatment of her broken ankle when they caused her injuries in the first place and had also confiscated more than 2,000 yuan in cash and a phone card (with 30 yuan balance) she had in her purse during the arrest.

The Shandong police have never returned the money to Ms. Zhang. It’s unclear whether she paid the medical bill.

Given Another Two Years of Forced Labor in 2003

In order to avoid further arrests, Ms. Zhang moved to a rental place in the Dongling District of Shenyang City in December 2003. She was arrested by officers from nearby Zhulinqiao Police Station days later and taken to the Shenyang City First Detention Center.

Twenty days later, the police gave Ms. Zhang two years of forced labor and moved her to the Longshan Forced Labor Camp, where she was hounded to renounce her faith against her will after being subjected to beatings, sleep deprivation, electric shocks, and humiliation. She was then made to do hard labor for more than ten hours a day.

Because Yiyuan County Hospital in Shandong Province did a very poor job resetting Ms. Zhang’s ankle bone, her right foot and leg remained numb and cold for months after she was taken back to Shenyang. Her leg hurt so much that she had trouble falling asleep at night.

The Longshan Labor Camp transferred her to the Zhangshi Brainwashing Center in the spring of 2004. The brainwashing center and the labor camp were both merged into Masanjia Labor Camp in the fall of that year so Ms. Zhang served the remainder of her term in the Masanjia Labor Camp.

After Ms. Zhang was released in 2005, the police kept harassing her at home and she was forced to live in the mountains at one point to avoid harassment.

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