11 Beijing Falun Gong Practitioners Remain Detained Despite Return of Cases Against Them for Insufficient Evidence Again

After the Beijing police submitted cases against eleven Falun Gong practitioners a second time, the procuratorate returned them again in January 2021, still citing insufficient evidence.

The eleven practitioners remain detained at the time of writing, and they are:

  • Ms. Xu Na (a widowed artist)
  • Mr. Li Zongze
  • Mr. Li Lixin
  • Ms. Jiao Mengjiao
  • Mr. Liu Qiang
  • Ms. Meng Qingxia (48, a painter and teacher)
  • Ms. Zheng Yanmei
  • Ms. Deng Jing
  • Ms. Zheng Yujie
  • Mr. Zhang Renfei
  • Ms. Li Jiaxuan

They were arrested around July 20, 2020, the 21st anniversary of the beginning of the persecution of the spiritual discipline Falun Gong by the Chinese Communist Party.

Some of the arrested have been persecuted before, but most of them are young practitioners in their 20s, who had recently graduated from prestigious universities in China. Some are artists and musicians.

All of them were taken by officers from their respective local police stations to the police department in the Dongcheng District before being transferred to the Dongcheng District Detention Centre. Ms. Deng, in particular, was held in the police department for 37 days before their transfer to the detention centre.

Another two practitioners, Ms. Wang Yu and Ms. Fu Wen, were also targeted in the police sweep but had their cases dismissed later on.

The police kept most practitioners’ families in the dark of their situation, and no formal detention notices were ever sent out.

The authorities approved the eleven practitioners’ arrests on August 28, 2020, with the charge of “undermining law enforcement,” the standard pretext used to frame Falun Gong practitioners.

In early November 2020, their lawyers learned that their cases had been submitted to the Dongcheng District Procuratorate. Prosecutor Zhang Li didn’t provide copies of their case documents as promised and only allowed the lawyers to take photos and hand-copy sections from the documents at the procuratorate. Most of the prosecution evidence consisted of photos of the practitioners’ daily lives, taken without their knowledge.

The prosecutor returned the cases to the Dongcheng District Police Department for insufficient evidence in late November. The police resubmitted them between December 2020 and January 2021, only to have the prosecutor return them again in late January 2021, still citing insufficient evidence.


Additional Information about Mr. Li Zongze’s Arrest

After Mr. Li Zongze was arrested at his residence on July 19, 2020, it took his family two weeks to find out that he was being held at the Dongcheng District Detention Centre.

On August 3, his parents went to the Hepingli Police Station to inquire about his case. They questioned officer Wu Weiyang why the police did not send them a copy of the detention notice. Wu printed a copy for them but demanded that they date their signature retroactively as July 20 instead. Wu also refused to give them the keys to Mr. Li’s rental apartment.

Mr. Li’s family hired a lawyer to represent him. When the lawyer went to officer Wu and asked for Mr. Li’s keys, Wu threatened to arrest Mr. Li’s parents. The police also refused to provide any updates about Mr. Li’s case when his parents called them later on.

When Mr. Li’s family finally entered his rental apartment two months later, they were shocked to find his place in a mess. The fridge door was left open the entire time and food was spilled all over the kitchen floor.

After they later confirmed that the police had submitted his case to the Dongcheng District Procuratorate, the prosecutor rejected their request to review his case documents.

In early January 2021, the police informed Mr. Li’s family that his arrest was approved on in August 2020 and his case was submitted to the procuratorate on October 21. But his family didn’t receive any official documents with the progression in his case.

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