Australian Resident on Protection Visa Arrested Upon Returning to China

An Australian resident with a protection visa on the basis of her faith in Falun Gong was arrested in February 2019 upon returning China to spend the Chinese New Year with her family. She is now facing further prosecution after her arrest was approved by the procuratorate.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is an ancient mind-body discipline that gained fast-growing popularity in China after its public introduction in May 1992. It was estimated that between 70 to 100 million people were practicing Falun Gong in the late 1990s. Intolerant of such a large independent civil group, the Chinese communist regime ordered a nationwide campaign designed to eradicate the practice from China in July 1999.

Because of not renouncing her faith, Ms. Yin Sen, 65, a native of Dalian City, Liaoning Province, was repeatedly targeted by the authorities over the years. The persecution eventually forced her to flee China and come to Australia to seek protection.

With her husband and son still in China and unable to leave the country, Ms. Yin decided to take the risk of going back there to see them, after spending three years in Australia.

She was arrested as soon as she arrived at Chinese Customs in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province on February 4, 2019, one day before the Chinese New Year.

After spending almost the entire holiday season at Shenzhen Detention Centre, she was transferred to Yaojia Detention Centre in her hometown of Dalian City on February 13. The authorities are now attempting to file criminal charges against her.

Repeatedly Targeted for Her Faith

Ever since the persecution began in 1999, Ms. Yin has been raising awareness and distributing information about it. She was first reported for talking to people about Falun Gong and had her home ransacked in December 2004.

From then on, the police have harassed her periodically, threatening her to give up Falun Gong.

On February 25, 2011, she was reported again for putting up a sticker bearing information about Falun Gong on her car. She was arrested and kept in detention for 15 days. The police tortured her by tying her to a bed for almost three days. They extorted 1,500 yuan from her before releasing her.

The police arrested her for the third time on December 3, 2015, but she was soon released on bail for health issues. The Shahekou District Court in Dalian held a hearing for her on February 24, 2016, where she testified in her own defense. The judge adjourned the hearing without issuing a verdict.

The police returned and ransacked her home on March 7, two weeks after her court hearing, after finding out that she had filed a criminal complaint against Jiang Zemin, the former head of Chinese Communist Party who ordered the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999. She was held in the detention centre for five days.

After that point, Ms. Yin escaped to Australia on March 22, 2016, and was granted a protection visa that year.

Chinese version available