(Minghui.org) oGate is software developed by Falun Gong practitioners for Chinese residents to overcome the internet blockade and access overseas information. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) spent lots of time tracking down the practitioners involved, and a massive wave of arrests was made across several provinces in China.
Since July 2021, key technical personnel supporting oGate in China have been arrested, with servers confiscated. Overseas servers were also attacked and have ceased to operate. The homes of some overseas technical personnel were also broken into by people with unknown identities.
Through torture and hard drive decryption, as well as additional information gathered under duress from arrested practitioners, the CCP has arrested more practitioners. This may have become a “serial case” directly supervised by the Ministry of Public Security to both persecute practitioners inside China and to collect information on overseas practitioners.
Based on information collected, police arrested Mr. Chen Xinye, a practitioner in Shenyang City of Liaoning Province, at 8 p.m. on July 22, 2021. The arrest occurred when Mr. Chen went to pick up his wife Ms. Chen Lihui at Yanjia Chicken Rack, the restaurant where she worked.
Over 20 plainclothes police officers arrived and they arrested the couple as well as 12 other people including staff members, some of their family members, and customers.
Inside the restaurant, police handcuffed all 14 people and forced them to get into half squat positions. Officers spent about two hours searching the restaurant and took away the security camera upon leaving.
Mr. Chen, then 45, was from Diaobingshan City, Liaoning Province. After beginning to practice Falun Gong, he followed the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance to be a good citizen. His parents moved to live with him and were taken good care of.
Because of his belief in Falun Gong, however, Mr. Chen was sentenced twice, once in 2008 and another in 2012, with a four-year term each. During the detention at the Kangjiashan Prison and Benxi Prison, he was severely tortured in both places.
Through physical abuse and mental torture after this recent arrest, police obtained information on practitioners responsible for the development and maintenance of oGate. After the secret detention of over 5 months, Mr. Chen was released on December 27, 2021, and returned home.
Following a long period of internet monitoring and tracking, police launched a massive wave of arrests on October 9, 2021, in at least four provinces or province-level cities. They are Shanghai, Hebei Province, Hunan Province, and Liaoning Province.
Police in Changning District of Shanghai arrested Mr. He Binggang and Ms. Zhang Yibo on October 9, 2021, and brought their case to Fengxian Court on June 10, 2022. Both of them have been kept at the Changning Detention Centre for over 8 months despite being in poor health. Mr. He is paralysed in all four limbs and Ms. Zhang has a lump in her chest.
Mr. He, then 46, had obtained a certificate for computer application software engineering as a senior programmer when he was 16. Because of academic excellence, he was admitted to Fudan University in 1994 without a college entrance exam. Four years later, he started graduate studies in Fudan University at 22.
Because of his belief, Mr. He’s education was terminated by Fudan University in 2000 and he was detained. Xuhui Court sentenced him to 6 years of detention in 2001 and he was transferred to the notorious Tilanqiao Prison.
After his release in 2007, he started a computer store called Yuwen Science and Technology. Wang Jue, domestic security manager of Changning Police Department, arrested him again in April 2010. Due to torture during detention, Mr. He suffered from spinal cord compression which led to his paralysis. Despite his disability, Changning Court sentenced him to a five-year term in April 2011.
Ms. Zhang, then 46, has a Master’s degree and lived in Huaihai Road in Huangpu District. She used to suffer from numerous illnesses and they were healed after she began to practice Falun Gong. Once a business manager for a foreign firm, she was often praised by the company management for her performance. Xuhui Court sentenced her to an 18-month term in 2009 for practicing Falun Gong.
Hebei Province police arrested Mr. Zhou Li and Wang Bingcheng in Shijiazhuang City, also on October 9, 2021. Xinhua Police Department, Chang’an Police Department, and Zhaolingpu Police Station were involved. Wang’s mother and another practitioner named Liu Peng were also arrested.
Mr. Zhou received a Master’s degree in botany from Beijing University in 2000. Because of practicing Falun Gong, he was persecuted numerous times and was unable to continue studying overseas as planned. Over the years, he was kept at a detention center for 6 months and was sentenced to a 7-year term. In addition, he received a two-year labor camp term and was once forced to stay away from home.
Officers from Yuhuatai Police Department in Changsha City, Hunan Province arrested Ms. Zhang Bing at work on October 9, 2021. They then ransacked her home and confiscated Falun Gong books, a laptop computer, and her cell phone. She is currently held at the Changsha Fourth Detention Centre.
Liaoning police arrested Ms. Guo Xuhong at around 4 a.m. on October 9, 2021, when she went to work. Ms. Guo is a practitioner in Faku County, and the officers were from Shenyang Police Department, as well as Faku Department. All of them were plainclothes police who drove their personal cars, and they kept Ms. Guo at Caili Hotel in Xinmin City.
Officers also took Ms. Guo’s husband to the police station to interrogate him, asking about Ms. Guo’s daily activities. He was not released until he signed a document. Police then ransacked Ms. Guo’s home.
Liaozhong Procuratorate issued a criminal arrest order against Ms. Guo on November 24 and kept her at Shenyang First Detention Centre. The physical abuse during detention led to liver damage. As a result, her entire body turned yellowish and she was on the verge of death. Ms. Guo was released on bail due to her poor health on the evening of December 31, 2021.
Besides those listed above, additional practitioners were also arrested for their involvement in oGate, including some in Harbin City (Heilongjiang Province), Liaoning Province, Hunan Province, and Chongqing.
Here we would like to remind overseas practitioners, as well as those who had come abroad from China, to learn the lesson and pay attention to security issues. We cannot take for granted or take chances; otherwise, the CCP may take advantage of such loopholes. We need to protect the safety of practitioners in China and reduce the losses. It is our responsibility to support practitioners in China in their efforts to oppose the persecution.
We would also like to warn those officials who follow the CCP’s persecution policy for their own personal gain. Freedom of belief is protected by the Constitution and there are no laws in China that ban Falun Gong.
Although former CCP leader Jiang Zemin claimed to “eradicate Falun Gong in three months” in 1999, the practice is still deeply rooted in people’s hearts even after 23 years. This is because Falun Gong’s principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance are in line with traditional values and no political regime, even the CCP, can defeat it. In fact, anyone who persecutes innocent Falun Gong practitioners could be held accountable at a later time, both legally and morally.