(Minghui.org) A 58-year-old resident of Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province, has been detained since his arrest eight months ago for his faith in Falun Gong, a mind-body practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party since July 1999.

Mr. Zhao Dehua was arrested on July 31, 2023 and is currently held at the Shuangcheng District Detention Center in Harbin City. The details of his arrest and detention remain to be investigated.

Mr. Zhao is not the only person in his family targeted for practicing Falun Gong. His mother, Ms. Wang Ying, and his wife, Ms. Liu Fengjie, were both also arrested for their faith. His wife Ms. Liu died in 2001, at the age of 38. His mother died four years later. 

Mr. Zhao’s latest arrest has dealt yet another blow to his two daughters, aged around 26 and 33, who grew up witnessing the persecution of their parents and grandmother. 

Mr. Zhao’s late wife Ms. Liu Fengjie

Mr. Zhao’s late mother Ms. Wang Ying

Mr. Zhao and his two daughters

Taking Up Falun Gong

Mr. Zhao was born into a poor farmers’ family and is the eldest of four children. He quit school after completing the 9th grade and started farming to help his parents. After he grew up, he married Ms. Liu, who like him, was hot-tempered and stubborn. She fought with her mother-in-law all the time. There was a great deal of strife and disharmony in the family, sometimes resulting in physical altercations.

The family’s fate changed on January 17, 1999, when Mr. Zhao started practicing Falun Gong. He quit smoking in just three days. His wife and mother were in awe of Falun Gong and joined him in the practice. Both women learned to be more considerate and no longer quarreled with each other. Ms. Wang also recovered from her tracheitis, emphysema, and late-stage gastroptosis. 

Mr. Zhao’s Three Prior Arrests

Mr. Zhao was arrested three times prior to his latest persecution.

First Arrest

Mr. Zhao, his wife, and mother, as well as the couple’s two young daughters (aged 2 and 9 at the time), went to Beijing to appeal for the right to practice Falun Gong on December 31, 2000. They were all arrested. 

The Beijing police burned Mr. Zhao with cigarettes and forced him to stand outdoors in the cold for more than five hours. When he urged them to stop persecuting Falun Gong practitioners, they poured boiling water into his trousers in response. They beat him so severely that his head was swollen to the point of becoming deformed.

The family of five were taken back to Heilongjiang Province the next day. The two girls were picked up by relatives, and the three adults were held at the Shuangcheng District Second Detention Center, where they spent the Chinese New Year (January 24, 2001). 

Two months later, Mr. Zhao was transferred to the Xinxing Township Brainwashing Center. (His wife and mother’s situation will be presented in the next section “Wife and Mother Die Less Than Four Years Apart.”) On his first day there, chief Kong Qingman of the Xinxing Township Police Station directed officers Zhang Yunlong, Yu Zhenbo, Bai Chunwu, Guo Weidong and Bai Yuqiao, as well as two ruffians hired to persecute Falun Gong practitioners, to torture him. They beat Mr. Zhao savagely, causing his hands and feet to swell badly. He feet were so swollen that he couldn’t put on his shoes. Then they handcuffed him to a heating pipe to burn him.

The police returned the next morning. They stripped Mr. Zhao naked and beat him until he almost died. After he recovered a little, they resumed the torture. Officer Bai Yuqiao burned his chest with a lit candle. Another officer pricked Mr. Zhao’s fingers with a metal pin, causing bleeding and excruciating pain. They forced him to step on a photo of the founder of Falun Gong and also used a PVC pipe to beat him until he was unable to move. They then left him handcuffed to a bed.

On the fourth day, officer Bai Chunwu stripped Mr. Zhao naked again. Upon seeing bruises everywhere on his body, Bai decided to stop beating him.

Several days later, officer Zhang ordered Mr. Zhao to write statements to renounce Falun Gong. When he refused to comply, Zhang opened the windows to freeze him. 

Chief Kong later confiscated the 300 yuan in cash Mr. Zhao had on him. Later, Mr. Zhao managed to get 50 yuan back.

Mr. Zhao was taken back to the Shuangcheng District Second Detention Center, where he was kept in a damp cell with no sunlight. He developed extremely itchy scabies. Six weeks later, he was brought back to the Xinxing Township Brainwashing Center. 

Mr. Zhao was finally released in mid-May of 2001. He had to pay a 4,000-yuan fine before he was allowed to leave. 

Second Arrest

Mr. Zhao was arrested again on March 1, 2002 and taken to the Shuangcheng District Second Detention Center. He had to share a small 10 square meter cell with 46 other inmates. He was tortured during the day and had difficulty sleeping at night under such terrible conditions. He was released on July 10, 2002. 

Third Arrest

The Harbin City Police Department inspected its subordinate cities and counties in early 2014 and discovered Falun Gong messages posted on public walls in Minjiatun Village, Shuangcheng District. Mr. Zhao was named a “suspect” and arrested on April 25, 2014.

Officer Wang Yubiao from the Shuangcheng District Domestic Security Office, deputy chief Che Zhaodong from the Xinxing Township Police Station, and manager Ai Guoliang of Minjiatun Village raided Mr. Zhao’s home. They confiscated all his Falun Gong books and informational materials, as well as 500 yuan in cash. 

Mr. Zhao was given 15 days of detention at the Shuangcheng District Detention Center. His daughters were forced to pay 400 yuan for his food expenses before he was released. 

Wife and Mother Die Less than Four Years Apart

After being arrested with Mr. Zhao in Beijing on December 30, 2000, his wife and mother were also taken to the Shuangcheng District Second Detention Center the next day. They were transferred to the Xinxing Township Brainwashing Center one month later. About seven or eight officers from the Xinxing Township Police Station went to the brainwashing center to torture Mr. Zhao’s wife. They beat Ms. Liu savagely and ordered her to step on the photo of the founder of Falun Gong. She refused. 

Both Ms. Liu and Ms. Wang were released around late February 2001, after 50 days of detention at the brainwashing center. Each was also forced to pay a 4,000-yuan fine. 

Upon returning home, the two women were shocked to find that the local government had seized two-thirds of the family’s farmland and leased it to other villagers. They learned later that the government gave the rental income of 4,000 yuan to the 610 Office, which used that money to pay the fine for having local Falun Gong practitioners appeal in Beijing. 

Ms. Liu struggled to support her two daughters and mother-in-law. She began to sell vegetables to make a living. On August 12, 2001, she went out to sell vegetables and was hit by a car. She died not long afterwards. Her daughters were only 3 and 10 at the time. Her mother-in-law, who had also suffered severe injury during the 2001 detention, never fully recovered and died on January 9, 2005. 

The local authorities still harassed Mr. Zhao frequently after the deaths of his wife and mother. Several times he had to live away from home with his two daughters to avoid arrest.

Related Reports:

The Persecution of Practitioner Mr. Zhao Dehua and his Entire Family in Shuangcheng City (Photos)

A Chinese Farmer Manifests the Meaning of Spiritual Belief With His Life (Photos)