In November 2020, at least 754 Falun Gong practitioners were arrested and 1,284 harassed for their faith, bringing the year-to-date arrest and harassment cases to 5,933 and 7,192, respectively.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is an ancient spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Among the 2,038 arrested and harassed practitioners, 285 had their homes ransacked. Twenty-six practitioners and their relatives had a total of 689,110 yuan confiscated by the police, ranging from 1,000 yuan to 220,000 yuan each, with an average of 10,302 yuan per person.
A total of 144 targeted practitioners, including 64 arrested and 80 harassed, were over the age of 65, with the oldest above 90 years old. Thirty-one practitioners were in their 80s.
Ms. Cui Weiwei of Changchun City, Jilin Province, was arrested on November 9, 2020, and police confiscated more than 200,000 yuan in cash and a large amount of personal belongings from her during a house raid.
Jilin, Shandong, Heilongjiang, Hebei, and Liaoning were the top five provinces with the most practitioners arrested. Three hundred and fifteen practitioners were harassed in Hebei in the past month, followed by 176 practitioners being harassed in Heilongjiang Province.
Since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched its “zero-out” campaign earlier this year to try to force every Falun Gong practitioner on the government’s blacklists to renounce their faith, many practitioners and their family members have been harassed by the authorities. When the practitioners refused to comply, the authorities threatened to ransack their homes or prohibit their children from attending school. An official from the Political and Legal Affairs Committee even told the practitioners directly that “the law serves the ruling class.”
The authorities also conducted group and individual arrests simply because the practitioners refused to give up on practicing Falun Gong.
In Daqing City, Heilongjiang Province, 14 practitioners were arrested in two days and many of them had their homes ransacked. Their personal belongings were also confiscated.
In Baoding City, Hebei Province, a vice president of the Dawu Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Group was arrested in the middle of the night by armed officers. The police also arrested the founder of the company, some of his family members, and several other executives. The vice president was targeted for practicing Falun Gong while the founder was targeted for criticising the CCP.
Ms. Gao Qiongxian, 81, of Kunming City, Yunnan Province, was arrested again on November 3, a week after her arrest on October 27. The police pried open her door and took her to the local detention centre. After she failed the required physical exam, the police extorted 1,000 yuan from her before releasing her.
The authorities also used various methods to arrest the practitioners. In Zhuozhou City, Hebei Province, the police department spent more than 10,000 yuan to rent a two-floor residential house with the purpose of setting up a brainwashing session to persecute practitioners. When the police took the local practitioners to the brainwashing session, their family members and local neighborhood committee members were told to follow along so as to force the practitioners to renounce their faith. If the practitioners refused, their family members might be implicated.
Police officers who have successfully arrested a practitioner are rewarded. In Gaomi City, Shandong Province, three officers from Xiazhuang Township Police Station were each awarded 3,600 yuan for arresting a practitioner on November 13, 2020. The practitioner was released on November 27.
Below are snapshots of some of the arrests and incidents of harassment. Due to the information restrictions 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.
Over a dozen police officers gathered outside an apartment unit in Jilin City, Jilin Province on the evening of November 17, 2020 and spent the next two hours trying to pry open the door with crowbars and hammers.
The police finally broke in past 11 p.m., and Ms. Sun Yazhen was taken away around midnight from her sister’s home, where she had been staying to avoid being persecuted for practicing Falun Gong.
The 60-year-old woman is currently detained at a brainwashing centre in the Jinqiao Hotel, hosted by the 610 Office.
Ms. Sun began to practice Falun Gong in 2004. When she talked to people about Falun Gong at a shopping mall on February 3, 2018, she was arrested. Her home was later ransacked and she was taken to the Jilin City Detention Centre. She was later sentenced to 1.5 years in prison with three years probation. After seven months of detention, she was released.
However, she was under close surveillance upon returning home and was ordered to report to the residential committee every month. Since Ms. Sun showed no intention of giving up her belief, eight people from the local 610 Office and the residential committee suddenly dropped by her home one day in March 2019. They videotaped her home and searched around to look for Falun Gong related materials, attempting to further persecute her.
Ms. Sun’s relatives have also been persecuted for practicing Falun Gong. Her brother-in-law was given two years of forced labor in 2001; her brother-in-law’s son (aka her nephew) was tortured to death at the age of 30; her nephew’s wife was twice sentenced to a total of three years of forced labor; her brother-in-law’s sister became mentally disordered after being forced to drink drugs that damage central nervous system while detained in the labor camp and her husband divorced her.
A mother and daughter in Hefei City, Anhui Province were arrested one after another in November 2020 for their faith in Falun Gong. Ms. Shen Mengting is currently held in a hotel-turned-brainwashing centre, and her mother Ms. Zhou Ping’s whereabouts is unknown.
The police stayed outside of Ms. Zhou’s home between November 17 and 19, 2020. They cut her Internet cable, the doorbell wire, and also asked her nephew to knock on her door, in attempts to lure her to open the door.
Ms. Zhou kept her door shut and said it was her freedom of belief to practice Falun Gong, and the officers were violating her human rights.
Ren Mianhui, the Domestic Security Office director, said to her from outside, “What human rights? Don’t talk about that with us. What we do is to deprive you of your rights. We are the rights. We will force you to change your mind and stand with the Communist Party.”
Ms. Shen was arrested on her way back home after work at around 5:40 p.m. on November 19, 2020. She was arrested on her way back home after work. Her personal vehicle was impounded.
After her daughter’s arrest, Ms. Zhou went to the Domestic Security Office and 610 Office every day to demand her daughter’s release.
On the morning of November 26, Ms. Zhou found her daughter’s car in her neighborhood. She also learned not long after that her daughter had been taken to the brainwashing session in a Vienna Hotel after her arrest.
Ms. Zhou went to the Vienna Hotel to look for her daughter at 10 a.m. on November 26, but she never returned home afterwards.
Ms. Zhou’s husband knew she must have also been arrested, but the police refused to provide any information about her.
This is the second time that both Ms. Zhou and her daughter have been arrested for their faith this year. They were previously arrested on January 7, 2020, and detained for 13 days, after the police saw them distributing Falun Gong materials through surveillance cameras.
A married couple and one of their relatives, all residents in Shouguang City, Shandong Province, were recently arrested by the police for their shared faith in Falun Gong. The police forcibly took their photos, fingerprints, and blood samples.
Mr. Zhang Keliang was arrested at work at around 1 p.m. on November 11, 2020. The police confiscated his key and went to his home in an attempt to arrest his wife, Ms. Wang Zhongyun.
As Ms. Wang locked the door from inside, the police weren’t able to break in. They waited in the hallway of her apartment building from 1 p.m. until the next morning.
At around 9 a.m. on November 12, the police used a scissor lift to climb into Ms. Wang’s home on the fifth floor. Eight officers ransacked the place, and arrested Ms. Wang and their relative Ms. Fan Huili, who had been visiting since the day before.
After taking Ms. Wang and Ms. Fan to the Shengcheng Police Station, where Mr. Zhang had already been sent, the police went to ransack Ms. Fan’s home.
Later at the police station, the police ordered the three practitioners to have their fingerprints and photos taken, and give blood samples. When Ms. Wang refused to comply, a young officer forcibly grabbed her hand and pulled her finger. The officer stabbed a needle hard into her finger. Ms. Wang fainted right away. The police then drew her blood.
When Ms. Fan also refused to cooperate, three officers held her down on the floor while a fourth pulled her arm and attempted to open her fist and straighten her fingers. She screamed because of the pain. The police stabbed her finger with the needle four times, but no blood came out. Only then did they give up.
The three practitioners were released on the morning of November 13. Ms. Fan’s arms and legs were sprained as she struggled with the police. She had trouble walking and was unable to lift her arm.
Ms. Wang Meihong, a senior engineer in her 60s at Heilongjiang Geological Exploration Institute, was arrested on November 23, 2020, near Heilongjiang University in Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province, for talking to people about Falun Gong.
Officers arbitrarily detained her for 15 days at the Yaziquan Detention Centre. Prior to the latest incident, Ms. Wang was arrested in October 2003 and tortured in prison for 11 years for not renouncing her belief.
Ms. Wang endured a great deal after the persecution started. Officers from the Xinhua Police Station arrested her at her aunt’s home in Mudanjiang City on October 22, 2003. Six officers beat her and dragged her from the seventh floor to the first floor and threw her into a police vehicle.
At the police station, an officer grabbed her by the hair and pulled her to the second floor, ripping out a lot of hair in the process. Another officer repeatedly smacked her face with a heavy book.
Two dozens officers took turns interrogating Ms. Wang around the clock while she was shackled to an iron chair for three days and was not allowed to sleep.
Five months later, a judge at the Aimin District Court sentenced Ms. Wang to 11 years in prison. She was put in Heilongjiang Women’s Prison on March 24, 2004. A captain forced her to stand all day when she was not put to work.
Ms. Wang worked in a room with two big machines that operated at a temperature as high as 180 °C (400 °F). It was especially exhausting in the summer and it took a toll on her health over time.
The prison authorities transferred Ms. Wang to another ward in November 2006 where she had to sit still on a small stool for a long time every day, which injured her buttocks, back and legs. A prisoner was assigned to watch her and follow her around the clock, no matter what she did. She couldn’t talk to other practitioners there without being berated.
The persecution worsened in February 2008. The authorities put Ms. Wang in the 6th Ward and a felon with a record of assaulting practitioners was also transferred to that ward. The ward was cold and damp and Ms. Wang suffered back pain, heart problems, and developed a cough. One day, while Ms. Wang was meditating on her bed, a guard and the felon dragged her down from the bed and attacked her. In the process, her right knee hit the ground so hard that it caused permanent damage.
The prison authorities separated Ms. Wang from other practitioners in December 2011 and had two prisoners monitor her every move. She couldn’t talk to other practitioners and had to ask for permission for simple activities such as purchasing necessities.
Ms. Wang’s husband, Ms. Yu Zonghai, is also a Falun Gong practitioner. He was arrested on November 12, 2001 and later sentenced to 15 years and locked in Mudanjiang Prison, where he suffered beatings and tortures.
In 2006 his tear duct ruptured after a beating. The guards poured cold water on him in winter 2009. They broke his rib and legs during the violent beatings. His chest was so injured that he had trouble breathing. Most of his teeth were knocked out. The shocks from electric batons caused severe damage to his heart and head. Despite all the physical injury, he still was made to do hard labor.
The couple’s daughter, Ms. Yu Minghui, was taken to a brainwashing centre when she was 12 years old. She had to travel between Harbin Women’s Prison and Mudanjiang Prison to see her parents. The guards often denied the visits because her parents refused to give up Falun Gong.
The young girl’s grandfather (Mr. Yu’s father), a healthy man, worried about his son’s safety and was terrorised by the authorities. He died amidst the persecution of his son and daughter-in-law.
Ms. Wang Guofen, a retired teacher in Changchun City, Jilin Province, was arrested and detained for a week for her faith in Falun Gong. Ms. Wang’s 87-year-old mother-in-law was also harassed and intimidated by police.
A group of officers knocked on Ms. Wang’s door at around 6 p.m. on November 16, 2020, but Ms. Wang refused to open the door.
At 6 a.m. on the next morning, five officers came in two police cars. One officer knocked on Ms. Wang’s door again, pretending to be conducting a census. Not knowing this was a trick, Ms. Wang’s mother-in-law opened the door, only to have five officers rush in.
Without showing their IDs, the officers asked Ms. Wang whether she still practiced Falun Gong. She didn’t directly answer them but instead tried to explain that practicing Falun Gong was within her right to freedom of belief and didn’t violate the law.
The officers refused to listen and continued to search her home. Three of her Falun Gong books, a laptop computer, a cellphone, a radio, and her ID were confiscated. Her home was left in a mess, and her clothes were taken out from the closet and thrown on the floor.
When Ms. Wang’s mother-in-law said to the police that no one would cook for her if they arrested Ms. Wang, one officer threatened her and blamed her for using her age as an excuse.
Four officers carried Ms. Wang from her home on the fourth floor into the police car. Still in pajamas, she wasn’t allowed to change clothes.
Ms. Wang was then taken to the Gongnong Police Station and locked in a room. One officer was assigned to monitor her. In the afternoon, the police brought her to the hospital for a physical examination before sending her to the police department and forcibly taking her photos and fingerprints.
When Ms. Wang’s mother-in-law went to the police station to deliver clothes for her, the police told her that if she wanted her daughter-in-law to be released soon, she should sign a statement to renounce Falun Gong for her, or they wouldn’t release her. It’s not clear whether the elderly woman was forced into cooperating.
Ms. Wang was then taken to the Weizigou Detention Centre and detained there for seven days. She has been released at the time of writing. She said the police never showed her any legal notices or told her to sign any forms.
Just two months before the arrest, Ms. Wang received harassing phone calls from the Communist Party secretary of her residential committee.
Cases of Harassment
Ms. You Xiuying received a notice from the Shanghai Social Security Office in late November 2020 and was asked to report to them within five days with documents of her previous imprisonment for practicing Falun Gong. The notice warned that her pension would be stopped if she failed to come on time to verify her one-year prison sentence in 2016.
Knowing that the five-day deadline was only an excuse, and that the authorities might just suspend her pension whether she showed up or not, the 76-year-old Shanghai resident still went to the social security office because she wanted to explain that there is no legal basis to deprive her of her hard-earned pension benefits.
Ms. You said to the social security office personnel that she didn’t do anything wrong in upholding her faith. The entire prosecution of her following her arrest in 2016 was illegal and she had never signed any documents or received any formal imprisonment notice from the court.
Despite Ms. You’s appeal, the social security office staff insisted that they had to follow their supervisor’s orders, and suspended her pension.
Ms. You was previously arrested in 2006 and given one year of forced labor for demanding the release of her sister, Ms. You Xiuyun, who also practices Falun Gong and was arrested.
Ms. You Xiuying was arrested again on August 26, 2016, and sentenced to one year in prison. Because she refused to renounce Falun Gong, the authorities sent her to a brainwashing center for prolonged persecution after her term ended. The police and community workers continued to harass her after she returned home.
Ms. You’s husband, in his 80s, suffers from poor health and has been given several critical condition notices in the past decade. When Ms. You was imprisoned, he struggled to care for himself. As he was living in an apartment on the sixth floor, his son rented an apartment on the first floor for him. After Ms. You was released in August 2017, the authorities forced the landlord to terminate their lease and their son had to look for another apartment for them. Ms. You’s husband recently had another surgery due to a brain condition.
Mr. Wang Chengtang, 86, and his family in Jinchang City, Gansu Province have been repeatedly harassed by local officials in recent months for his faith in Falun Gong.
Mr. Wang’s son received a call on October 23, 2020, from Liu Guoshuang, the CCP secretary of their village. Liu said that township officials demanded he have a talk with him about getting his father to give up Falun Gong.
That afternoon Mr. Wang’s son met with three township officials and told them that it was his father’s personal choice to practice Falun Gong, and that he couldn’t represent him. He added that his father has been enjoying very good health because of practicing Falun Gong.
The officials threatened to withhold the elderly man’s pension if he refused to give up his practice. Mr. Wang’s son still insisted that he couldn’t comply with their request.
Liu also called Mr. Wang’s daughter-in-law and tried to pressure her. She also refused to comply and said that Liu should talk to Mr. Wang himself.
Four days later, on the morning of October 27, 2020, three officers knocked on Mr. Wang’s door, pretending to be conducting a census. It’s not clear whether Mr. Wang opened the door for them.
Another two officers came to harass Mr. Wang again on October 29, but Mr. Wang didn’t let them in.
On November 10, Liu visited Mr. Wang himself. Mr. Wang’s daughter, Ms. Wang Shuhua, kept Liu out of the door. Liu said to them from the hallway that the township officials would give Mr. Wang 3,000 yuan if he agreed to renounce Falun Gong. He added that it was an order from the provincial level officials.
Not long after Liu left, two more village officials stopped by one after another under the pretense of conducting a census.
An hour later, Wu Jinzhang, the Party secretary of Ningyuan Town, knocked on Mr. Wang’s door. As Wu had previously come to harass Mr. Wang in July, Ms. Wang refused to let him in. Wu said he came just by himself and he asked to talk to Mr. Wang. After Wu promised not to take photos of Mr. Wang or call in the police, Ms. Wang opened the door for him.
Just as Wu sat down, Kang Shenghong, another township official, knocked on the door and shouted Ms. Wang’s name. She questioned Wu, “Didn’t you say you came by yourself? Who is the person outside?”
Wu shouted back, “Kang Shenghong, stop shouting. I’m leaving soon!” He turned around and said to Ms. Wang, “See, I didn’t let him in. You don’t have to open the door for him.”
Ms. Wang said to Wu, “It’s a heavenly principle that good and evil will be rewarded accordingly. There is always a price to pay when people do bad things.”
Wu laughed and said, “I’m leaving now. I didn’t have anything important. Just checking if he is doing well.”
“My father is fine,” Ms. Wang replied and then opened the door for Wu.
Before she realised it, five police officers rushed inside. One of them held a video recorder and videotaped Ms. Wang.
After two of the officers denied that they were with the police, Ms. Wang said, “I know you. Your family name is Liao and you are Wang.”
With nothing to hide, the four officers held Ms. Wang and the fifth went to Mr. Wang’s room.
The police carried Ms. Wang to their car and took her to the village committee office. She demanded to talk to village secretary Liu Guoshuang, but was told he wasn’t in the office. It’s not clear whether Ms. Wang has been released at the time of writing.
Police officers knocked on Ms. Miao Cui’s door on November 9, 2020. The 63-year-old woman, who was still struggling with the aftereffects of a stroke she suffered seven years before, slowly made her way to open her front door and saw the officers outside.
The officers appeared shocked to see the burns on her legs. Ms. Miao, a resident in Yueyang City, Hunan Province, had accidentally burned herself on September 30, 2020, when her hands were so weak and shook so much that she poured a kettle of boiling water on her legs instead of into a thermos. When she took off her pants, a large area of her skin that stuck to her pants also came off, so she had to wear shorts after that. The sores on her legs still oozed and bled occasionally a month later.
With her security door still closed, several officers shouted at her to let them in. She refused to. One officer threatened to take her photo and another told her to sign a statement to renounce her faith in Falun Gong.
Ms. Miao told them the basic facts about Falun Gong and asked them not to harass her anymore. Since the Chinese communist regime started to persecute Falun Gong in 1999, she has been arrested several times for upholding her faith. She was sentenced to prison twice, once for three years and again for six years. She almost died several times from torture.
The officers eventually left.
The “Zero-out” Campaign
After the Political and Legal Affairs Committee (PLAC), an extra-legal judiciary agency tasked with persecuting Falun Gong, initiated the “Zero-out” campaign across the country, the authorities in Inner Mongolia, Zhejiang Province, Hunan Province, Hebei Province, Tianjin, and Chongqing have been carrying out the orders from the PLAC to force all practitioners to renounce their faith.
On the morning of November 17, a group of officers shut off the Internet, electricity, and water supplies to Ms. Jiang Chunya’s home. They waited outside her home and attempted to arrest her when she came out. By 2:00 p.m., when Ms. Jiang, 49, still refused to step outside, the police ordered a locksmith to open her door, and they broke in.
Without a search warrant, the police ransacked Ms. Jiang’s home. She was taken to the local police station and interrogated overnight. When the police released her the next morning, they refused to return her cellphone and computer.
This was the second time that the police have attempted to trick Ms. Jiang in order to arrest her. On September 16, 2019, a female officer knocked on Ms. Jiang’s door and claimed that she had a ceiling leak in her kitchen. When Ms. Jiang agreed to have the officer come in to check her kitchen pipes, three male officers showed up and arrested her. She was taken to a local brainwashing centre and held there for weeks.
Practitioners Targeted Regardless of Age
In Cangzhou City, Hebei Province, the authorities threatened Ms. Wang Xiuying, a 70-year-old resident of Cang County. Ms. Wang was collecting firewood in the yard of her village home on November 16, 2020 when one police car stopped at her door and four police officers came out. They checked with her to confirm that this was her house. She realised why they came and confronted them courageously, “It is me. I practice Falun Gong!”
One police officer shouted, “Arrest her, take her away!”
Ms. Wang said, “I did not commit any crime, why are you arresting me? I just do Falun Gong exercises to keep fit. Did I bother anyone? Why don’t you go arrest those corrupt officials?”
The officer said, “Someone reported that you distributed Falun Gong brochures and calendars. Did you post the stickers on the utility poles? We need to search your house.”
“I don’t have any materials.” She blocked the door and then locked it.
One police officer challenged her, “If you don’t have anything in your house, why are you afraid of us searching your home?”
She responded, “Even though I don’t possess anything illegal, I can’t let you search my place, since it is unlawful. Everyone in the village knows that all of my illnesses were cured through practicing Falun Gong, including severe heart problems, low blood pressure, and back and leg pain.”
Another police officer said, “Your children’s future was ruined because of your practice.”
She refuted, “My children are fortunate since I stay healthy. So they don’t have to take care of me or pay expensive medical bills for me.”
The four officers could not argue with her any longer, and then left.
In Chongqing, a 77-year-old woman was subjected to seven harassment visits in three weeks. Ms. Liu Changxiu lives in Rongqiao Peninsula in Nan’an District and is a retired worker from Chongqing Changjiang Electric Group. The police arrested her on October 21, 2020, while she was telling others why the persecution of Falun Gong was wrong. She was released 11 hours later.
The next day two officials from the local community went to Ms. Liu’s home in the morning and again in the evening. Ms. Liu refused to cooperate with them.
An officer and a local official came to Ms. Liu’s home on November 3 and looked around. Three days later two people came but she wasn’t home. The same two people who came on November 3 showed up again on November 10 while she was preparing lunch. She refused to go with them to the police station. Two days later two people came to see her and she wasn’t home.
On the morning of November 13, seven officers and local officials broke into Ms. Liu’s home. They claimed that they just wanted to see her. She warned them their trying to force her to give up her practice was unconstitutional, and that it was her right to practice Falun Gong.
Some practitioners’ family members were also harassed. In Fengcheng City, Liaoning Province, the authorities went to Ms. Jiang Hong’s home on the morning of October 27, 2020. Only Ms. Jiang’s daughter was home. They asked her to sign a statement renouncing Falun Gong for her mother, but she refused.
Ms. Jiang’s daughter said, “Falun Gong cured my mother’s diseases. How can she not practice it?” When Yang Guang attempted to force her to sign the statement, she said, “You do not have the right to force me to sign it.” She also shared that Falun Gong does not get involved in politics. It’s the Chinese Communist Party that initiated the persecution, and citizens have the right to voice their concerns.
Just then, Ms. Jiang came home. Yang asked her to sign the statement renouncing Falun Gong. Ms. Jiang said, “No, I will not sign it. If I sign it, it would not do any good to you.” She then clarified the facts about Falun Gong to them.
The next day, Yang and Zhou went to Ms. Jiang’s granddaughter’s workplace to harass her, and threatened that it would impact her future if she didn’t sign the statement for Ms. Jiang. The granddaughter also refused to comply.
- In October 2020, 1,077 Falun Gong Practitioners Were Targeted for Their Faith
- 964 Falun Gong Practitioners Targeted for Their Faith in September 2020
- 1,184 Falun Gong Practitioners Targeted for Their Faith in August 2020
- 1,410 Falun Gong Practitioners Targeted for Their Faith in July 2020
- 5,313 Falun Gong Practitioners Targeted for Their Faith in First Half of 2020
- 938 Falun Gong Practitioners Targeted for Their Faith in May 2020
- 1,178 Falun Gong Practitioners Targeted for Their Faith in April 2020
- 747 Falun Gong Practitioners Targeted for Their Faith in March 2020
- The Persecution of Falun Gong Continues in China Despite Coronavirus Pandemic
- 194 Falun Gong Practitioners Targeted for Their Faith in January 2020
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