According to information collected by Minghui.org, 538 Falun Gong practitioners were arrested for their faith in May 2020, and 310 of them remain in custody at the time of writing. The same month also recorded 400 practitioners harassed for their faith, including a 92-year-old professor and a 9-year-old girl.
The May data brought the number of year-to-date arrest cases to 2,136 and harassment cases to 1,950, for a total of 4,086 cases against Falun Gong practitioners for their faith. Due to the strict information blockade in China, the number of Falun Gong practitioners persecuted for their faith can’t always be reported in a timely manner, nor is all the information readily available.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a traditional spiritual discipline based on the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. It has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) since 1999.
Among the cases that took place in May, the police ransacked the homes of 248 practitioners and extorted or confiscated 229,375 yuan from 27 practitioners, averaging 8,495 yuan per person.
The arrest and harassment cases in May took place in 26 provinces and municipalities. The provinces of Shanxi, Shandong, Hebei, Sichuan, and Hubei have the most arrest and harassment cases.
Some practitioners were targeted for talking to people about Falun Gong. Some were arrested for studying the teachings of Falun Gong together. There were also practitioners targeted around “sensitive days” as deemed by the CCP, including its annual political meetings and World Falun Dafa Day.
Some of the arrested practitioners were beaten and had their fingerprints and blood samples forcibly taken by police. Two sisters were ordered to report to the police every day and forced to wear ankle monitors after they were released.
While harassing Mr. Wang Guizhen, a farmer in Changle County, Shandong Province, on May 28, a police officer shouted, “This is the Communist Party’s world. It’s not okay for you to practice Falun Gong!”
Targeted Prior to the CCP’s Political Meetings
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the CCP’s biggest political meetings (known as the “Two Sessions”) in Beijing–the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference–were postponed from March to May 22. Prior to the meetings, police around China arrested practitioners in attempts to prevent them from going out to raise awareness about the persecution.
In Xi County, Shanxi Province, the police arrested more than 100 practitioners on May 17, 2020, which came only days after Xi Jinping’s visit to Taiyuan City in the same province on May 11 and 12.
The authorities in the provinces of Shandong and Heilongjiang posted a 1,000-yuan reward for people who reported a Falun Gong practitioner and 5,000 yuan for each officer who arrested a practitioner.
In Dalian City, Liaoning Province, traffic police stopped and searched every car at the entrance of Beile Highway on May 8, 2020. Two practitioners, surnamed Guo and Zhang, were found to have 9,000 banknotes printed with messages about Falun Gong in their trunk. They were arrested and interrogated at the police station.
The police released them after their families paid their bail bond. (Due to censorship, many Falun Gong practitioners use grassroots methods to raise awareness of the persecution of their faith, including printing messages on paper currency.)
Police in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, harassed practitioners in Huangpi District. Ms. Wang Wenqing, nearly 80, was harassed twice within a week by three officers, who attempted to take her photo.
Falun Gong was first introduced to the public on May 13, 1992. Since May 13, 2000, Falun Gong practitioners around the world have celebrated this anniversary as World Falun Dafa Day. But similar to the CCP’s political meetings mentioned above, such dates are often considered “sensitive” by the regime, and the authorities often intensify the persecution around this time to prevent practitioners from stepping up their efforts to expose the persecution.
On May 13 this year, 37 practitioners were arrested and 35 were harassed. Ms. Zhang Zhiwen, a Yuzhou City, Henan Province, resident who was arrested on May 13, died in custody four days later.
Five officers and local officials broke into Ms. Yang Shuxian’s home in Kunming City, Yunnan Province on May 13, accusing her of distributing Falun Dafa fliers the day before.
Ms. Yang was a professor at Kunming University of Science and Technology in Yunnan Province. The authorities turned her place upside down and confiscated all of her Falun Dafa books and materials. She remains in custody at the time of writing.
While Ms. Xu Renxian and five other practitioners gathered in her house in Yantai City, Shandong Province, on May 13, over 20 officers charged in without warning. The police arrested all six practitioners and ransacked the place. Four of them were later released. Ms. Xu and another practitioner Ms. Bi Jiancai’s whereabouts remain unknown.
Seventeen practitioners, mostly in their 70s, in Yuechi County, Sichuan Province, were arrested between May 12 and May 13. One of them was released while the rest remained in custody. The police ransacked the house of one of them, Mr. Zhao (first name unknown), three times.
Officers from Nanshan Police Station in Chongqing warned Ms. Zhou Liangrong on May 12 not to leave her home the next day. The next day, several officers broke into Ms. Zhou’s home early in the morning and told her that she would be placed under surveillance for six months. Two men were assigned to monitor her.
On the same day, authorities in Nanping Town went to the home of Ms. Zhou’s sister, Ms. Zhou Liangzhi, to harass her.
Another practitioner in Chongqing, Ms. Yang Qin, 66, was followed and arrested on May 13. The officers held her against the police car and tied her hands behind her back with electric wires. They tied her hands so tight that the wire cut deep into her flesh. Then the police ransacked her home and took her to the hospital for a check-up. She was denied admission by the detention center for having high blood pressure.
New Rounds of Brainwashing Sessions
In recent month, authorities across China have ordered new rounds of brainwashing sessions to pressure Falun Gong practitioners to renounce their faith.
In Cangzhou City, Hebei Province, the Political and Legal Affairs Committee (PLAC) issued a seven-page classified document about a new campaign. The PLAC, an extrajudicial agency given the power to override law enforcement and judiciary agencies in China, has been responsible for orchestrating and executing the persecution policies against Falun Gong.
A June 15 deadline was given for the authorities to find venues for the brainwashing classes. Religious leaders, psychological counselors, and former practitioners of Falun Gong who quit the practice under pressure, were recruited as speakers.
In Linyi City, Shandong Province, it was reported that agents from the 610 Office, an extralegal agency created specifically to persecute Falun Gong, were receiving training in preparation for the brainwashing sessions.
Some practitioners received phone calls and were ordered to attend the one or two-week “study sessions.” A female practitioner surnamed Gong, around 40 years old, was forcibly taken away from her home to the brainwashing session on May 10.
In Guizhou Province, the authorities continued their “Zero Out” campaign to pressure the practitioners to renounce their faith. Many practitioners who were arrested in recent months were taken to the brainwashing classes held at “Qingzhen Hotel,” where they were ordered to sign statements to renounce Falun Gong.
Ms. Wang Huaxiu, a widowed mother to a son with brain damage, was harassed by the residential committee staff at home on May 23, 2020. That staff member threatened to take her to the “Qingzhen Study Centre” if she didn’t sign a statement to renounce Falun Gong. Ms. Wang refused to comply.
More Arrest and Harassment Cases
Vice President of Finance and Father-to-Be Arrested
Mr. Wang Jinzhang, the vice president of finance at Xinhua Distribution Group in Shanghai, was working alone in his office on a Sunday afternoon on May 31, 2020, when a group of police officers suddenly broke in. They searched his office and found a few copies of Falun Gong flyers. Then they took him to the police station while another group of officers ransacked his home at the same time.
Mr. Wang’s heavily pregnant wife went to the police station in the evening and pleaded for his release, but to no avail.
As Mr. Wang’s mother, also a Falun Gong practitioner, is currently residing outside of China, the police accused him of having connections with “foreign forces” to sabotage China. They threatened to check his bank account and see if he had received funding from “foreign forces.” They also said that it would be considered “organised crime” if two members of a household are found to practice Falun Gong.
Mr. Wang is currently detained at Huangpu District Detention Centre.
Forced to Wear Ankle Monitors
Two sisters in Anhui Province, Ms. Shu Yulan and Ms. Shu Yulian, were arrested on May 2 after being followed by the police while distributing materials about Falun Gong. Due to their high blood pressure, the detention centre refused to accept them. The police released them afterwards but ordered the sisters to report to them at the police station every day.
To further restrain the sisters’ personal freedom, the police forced them to wear ankle monitors, which track their locations and record their conversations at home.
Financial Extortion and Confiscation
Mr. Cao Xifeng and his wife Ms. Zhang Xiuli, of Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province, were arrested at home on May 1. The police ransacked their home and confiscated their Falun Gong books, computers, printers, as well as 50,000 yuan in cash.
The police interrogated the couple for a day. They beat and slapped them in the face when they refused to answer questions. As the local detention centre refused to accept the couple due to the coronavirus pandemic, the police had to release them a day later. The couple have since been forced to live away from home to avoid further persecution.
Ms. Wang Biansheng, a 71-year-old resident of Hejian City, Hebei Province, was arrested on May 13 for talking to people about Falun Gong. Her family has been extorted out of 20,000 yuan by the police while trying to rescue her, but she is still detained in a local hotel at the time of writing.
Elderly Arrested for Studying Falun Gong Teachings Together
On the afternoon of May 11, a group of 20 police officers broke into Ms. Hou Yuelan’s home in Liangshan County, Shandong Province. Ms. Hou, in her 70s, was studying Falun Gong books with seven other practitioners, including Ms. Fan, in her 90s; Ms. Qi Guie, in her 50s and her mother, in her 80s; Ms. Li Xiangsheng, in her 70s, Ms. Wang Guirong, in her 50s, and Ms. Chen Qiuxiang, in her 50s. Another practitioner’s name is unknown.
While all eight practitioners were released around 1 a.m., the police summoned them back to the police station during the day, ransacked their homes, and detained them until 8 p.m.
Mr. Chen Shuyi, a 66-year-old resident of Laishui County, Hebei Province, was arrested at home for his faith in Falun Gong on May 25, 2020. The police also took his daughter-in-law, Ms. Yang Cuiling, to the local police station for interrogation.
The police deceived Mr. Chen’s son, Mr. Chen Shuai, into going to the police station, where they interrogated him about where his father got the Falun Gong materials. He was so nervous and frightened that he passed out. He and his wife were both released in the evening.
The older Mr. Chen was taken to Laishui Detention Centre on the afternoon of his arrest and put in criminal detention. His family received his detention notice on June 2. The authorities reportedly sent his computer to Beijing for decryption in order to obtain evidence to charge him.
The day after his arrest, the police harassed Ms. Yang at home and her husband at work. They also installed a surveillance camera outside their home. One officer stayed outside to monitor them. The young parents and their kindergarten-age son, who share the same home with Mr. Chen, have now been forced to live away from home to hide from the police.
After a Changsha City, Hunan Province resident was arrested for spreading information about her faith in Falun Gong, the police also targeted her 19-year-old son and interrogated him.
Ms. Chen Yanjun, 51, was arrested around 5 p.m. on May 8, 2020, after being reported for talking to people about Falun Gong. The police brought her back to her home at 10 p.m. Officers confiscated her Falun Gong books and related materials. The police also arrested her son, Mr. Zhuang Yongbin, and brought him to the police station.
The police interrogated Ms. Chen and her son in separate rooms overnight. When Ms. Chen requested to use the restroom, the officers didn’t let her and verbally attacked Falun Gong. They threatened her with the safety of her son in attempts to force her to answer their questions.
Because Mr. Zhuang got slightly emotional during the interrogation, the police slapped him in the face. His hands were bruised after he was handcuffed for over 10 hours.
Mr. Zhuang was released around 1 a.m. on May 10. Having spent 27 hours in custody, he was traumatized and still in fear after a few days.
The police put Ms. Chen in criminal detention on May 10. She is currently held at Changsha City No.4 Detention Centre.
Less than ten months after Ms. Cai Xinou finished serving a one-year sentence for practicing Falun Gong, the Changsha City, Hunan Province resident was arrested again for her faith. Her husband, incapacitated with brain disease, is now left at home alone and struggles to care for himself.
A group of police officers turned off Ms. Cai’s power around 5 p.m. on May 14, 2020 and arrested her when she came into the hallway of her apartment building to check her electrical panel. The police then broke into her home and confiscated her Falun Gong-related materials. It’s reported that the police targeted Ms. Cai after seeing her distributing Falun Gong materials through surveillance cameras.
The 55-year-old woman was put in criminal detention the next day. She held a hunger strike for more than a week to protest the persecution.
Prior to her latest arrest, Ms. Cai served four labor camp terms for a total of six and a half years and one year in prison for upholding her faith.
While she was serving the prison term, the guards denied Ms. Cai medical treatment despite a fracture to her left leg due to falls prior to her arrest on July 30, 2018. Her left leg became paralysed, and she couldn’t move it for a month.
Ms. Chen Yawen, of Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province, gave a person a card with a QR code to access uncensored information about the coronavirus pandemic, only to be held by the person and reported to the police on May 4, 2020.
When Ms. Chen refused to answer questions, officers threatened to step on a photo of Falun Gong’s founder. The officers also forcibly collected her fingerprints and forced her to press her fingerprint on the interrogation record when she refused to sign it.
The police confiscated Ms. Chen’s Falun Gong-related materials at home and her family’s computer, and they tore off the stickers on her wall that said “Falun Dafa is good; Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance is good.” Ms. Chen was released the next afternoon.
Mr. Qi Yanming, a 57-year-old Jilin City, Jilin Province resident, distributed informational materials about Falun Gong in a residential area in mid-May 2020. He was noticed by two residents, who approached and beat him. They forcibly took him to the local police station. The police ransacked his home and his clothing store. His computer and printer were confiscated.
Due to the pandemic, the local detention centre refused to accept him, and he was released on bail. The police recently submitted his case to Jilin City Procuratorate, and he is facing prosecution for his faith.
While the city of Chibi in Hubei Province was locked down during the pandemic, a nine-year-old girl posted some self-adhesive stickers in her neighborhood with information about people recovering from the virus by reciting the phrases “Falun Dafa is good; Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance is good.” Because of this, she was reported and harassed by the police and staff from the local residential committee on May 6, 2020.
The officers knocked on the door of the little girl’s home. They showed her mother, Ms. Yang Zhenhuan, the photo of the child putting up the stickers and took their Falun Gong books. They threatened to arrest the little girl and her mother. The child was traumatised and often cried after the officers left.
Many of the family’s relatives, who were influenced by the communist regime’s demonising propaganda against Falun Gong, have chided the little girl’s parents for “teaching her to do bad things.”
Practitioners in Their 80s and 90s Harassed
Mr. Zhao Qian, a 92-year-old retired college professor in Yinchuan City, Ningxia Province, was harassed at home and brought to the police station for interrogation in mid-May.
Mr. You Jun, a 91-year-old resident of Guiyang City, Guizhou Province, was harassed by officers on May 12. The police confiscated his printer and had two people stay outside his apartment building to monitor him afterwards.
On May 23, three plainclothes officers attempted to pry open the door of Ms. Suo, a resident of Shenyang City, Liaoning Province. Ms. Suo, in her 80s, thought it was her son. As she opened the door, the officers ran away, leaving the tools by her door.
Ms. Suo called her son and told him about the incident. But as soon as her son arrived, the three plainclothes officers followed him into her home. They identified themselves as the police and said that someone had reported Ms. Suo for practicing Falun Gong. They attempted to arrest Ms. Suo but relented after her son spoke up for her.
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