(Minghui.org) A total of 624 incidents of Falun Gong practitioners being arrested or harassed for their faith were reported in January and February 2023.
Among the 380 arrest cases, 2 took place in 2021, 144 were in 2022 and 234 happened in 2023. The 244 harassment incidents included 108 in 2022 and 136 in 2023. Due to strict information censorship in China, persecution cases can’t always be reported in a timely manner, nor is all information readily available.
The newly reported cases took place in 26 provinces and centrally-controlled municipalities. Shandong topped the list with a total of 100 combined arrest and harassment cases, followed by 84 cases in Jilin, 69 in Heilongjiang and 68 in Sichuan. Eleven other provinces also had double-digit cases and another eleven regions had single-digit cases.
One hundred and nine of the targeted practitioners were 60 or older when they were arrested or harassed, including 32 practitioners in their 60s, 51 practitioners in their 70s, 25 practitioners in their 80s, and 1 practitioner in her 90s.
One 85-year-old practitioner who was sentenced last year after the judge changed her age was taken back into custody on February 8. She held a hunger strike to protest and was in serious condition. An 86-year-old former model worker, his wife and daughter have been repeatedly harassed in the past few months. The latest round of harassment was a continuation of the persecution the family has suffered, having been incarcerated for a combined 31.5 years.
The targeted practitioners included some small business owners, including a textile factory owner and a former glass shop owner. Also arrested was a former college lecturer who has served 14 years behind bars and lost her husband and son in the persecution.
Following the practitioners’ arrests, the police threatened them, saying things like, “I will torture you to death and bury you here” and “We don’t need any legal basis to harass you!”
Some harassment took place prior to the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) annual meetings of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and the National People’s Congress (NPC), which commenced on March 4 and 5, respectively, and last for two weeks.
The police in Luzhou City, Sichuan Province began to harass local practitioners since late February. They took photos of the practitioners to prove that they had done their job to “visit” them. The officers also threatened the practitioners not to go out or talk to people about Falun Gong during the CCP meetings.
Below are a snapshot of select persecution cases in January and February 2023.
The Police’s Unscrupulously Threats
Ms. Han Yuzhen has been living in Shenyang City, Liaoning Province in the past few years to help care for her grandson. In her spare time, she went out to talk to people and raise awareness about the persecution of Falun Gong. While talking to a young woman on January 29, 2023, the woman secretly recorded her and reported her to the police. The police arrested Ms. Han moments later outside a supermarket and took her to the police station.
Police chief Ma sprayed spicy water on Ms. Han’s eyes, face, and head. She felt her scalp and face burning and she couldn’t open her eyes. Ma also handcuffed her.
When Ms. Han’s son went to the police station in the afternoon to seek her release, the police accused her of not cooperating with them and refused to release her, unless she admitted fault and renounced Falun Gong.
Chief Ma sprayed Ms. Han with the spicy water again in the afternoon and took her to the hospital for a physical examination. In the police car, Ma stepped on her head, neck and back. Due to her high blood pressure and rapid heartbeat, she was denied admission by the local lockup.
Before the police forced the lockup to take Ms. Han on January 31, she was sprayed with spicy water four times. Her blood pressure also reached a dangerously high level.
The lockup forcibly took Ms. Han’s photo and collected her fingerprints on February 1. She couldn’t turn her body while sleeping, due to the enormous pain in her neck and back. She also needed help when getting up.
Ms. Han had excessive bleeding in her nose on February 2. She felt nauseous and dizzy. Her blood pressure continued to increase. When Ma went there to check on her situation, he slapped her on the back of her head. He also threatened her after taking her to the hospital, “I will torture you to death and bury you here.”
The police then called Ms. Han’s family. Her husband and son were infuriated to see how weak she was. Her husband asked Ma, “Who gave you the right to beat people? You are violating the law yourself!”
Ms. Han suffered terrible pain in her back and had a bloated stomach. After the examination, the police carried her and took her back to the lockup. Her husband tried to stop them, but the police claimed that her detention hadn’t expired yet.
After they returned to the lockup, the guards refused to admit Ms. Han. Ma had to take her back to the hospital, where she was found to have a lumbar disc herniation. Only then did the police agree to release her on bail.
Outside of the hospital, the police intimidated Ms. Han’s son, saying that his father was insulting them and that they would arrest him if he did it again. Ms. Han’s son refuted the police, “My mother was perfectly healthy when she was arrested. Now she is almost paralyzed. If this happened to your mother, how would you feel?” Her son took her home shortly after.
While harassing a married couple in Suizhou City, Hubei Province for their faith in Falun Gong, the police claimed that they didn’t need any legal basis for the persecution.
Ms. Jiang Hongyan received a call from Tong Chunlin, the village women’s federation director, on February 21, 2023, who asked her whether she was home. Shortly after the call, Tong led four people, including her assistant, two police officers, and one township government official, to Ms. Jiang’s home.
A tall police officer said he was from the Wanhe Police Station and that his last name was Chen. He added that Ms. Jiang didn’t have the right to ask for his personal information. Ms. Jiang later confirmed that his name was Chen Bingyang.
The other police officer and the government official said they shared the same last name of Wang, but without giving further information about themselves.
Officer Chen defamed Falun Gong and emphasized that since they live in China, they must follow the Chinese Communist Party.
Mr. Liu questioned Chen, “What’s the legal basis for you to come to my home?”
“What legal basis? We don’t need any legal basis!” Chen blurted out.
After the police left, the couple asked Tong the reason for the police harassment. Tong responded that the police only asked her to take them to find the couple. They were her superiors and there was no way for them to tell her anything else or for her to defy their order.
The police in Fushun City, Liaoning Province threatened to sentence a local resident to three to five years after she was arrested for talking to people about Falun Gong.
Ms. Liu Pintong, 52, was arrested on February 3, 2023, three years after she finished serving an eight-year prison term. The police first gave her 15 days at the Nangou Detention Centre. On February 8, they forced her family to take them to her home for a raid.
Ms. Liu’s family called Jiao Chen, the deputy head of Shuncheng District Domestic Security Office, on February 14 to inquire about her case. Jiao claimed that due to Ms. Liu’s earlier arrest in May 2022 for distributing Falun Gong materials and for talking to people about Falun Gong, they were planning to sentence her to three to five years.
When Ms. Liu’s 15-day administrative detention expired, Jiao put her under criminal detention and transferred her to the Liushan Detention Centre.
Ms. Liu was previously arrested on March 3, 2012, also for raising awareness about the persecution of Falun Gong. The police forced her son to sign the fabricated case document on her behalf. She was sentenced to eight years and almost died of kidney failure due to the torture in prison.
Four Falun Gong practitioners in Macheng City, Hubei Province, including Ms. Yan Qing’e, Ms. Tao Xiai, 69, Ms. Cao Guirong, in her 60s, and Mr. Hao, were arrested on January 31, 2023, after being reported for raising awareness about the persecution of Falun Gong.
While interrogating the four practitioners, a tall officer didn’t only beat Ms. Tao, but also twisted her arm and slammed her hand against the table. Her hand became swollen and bruised. The officer hit her head against the wall, causing her to become disoriented. She and other practitioners were forced to press their fingerprints on the case documents.
The police ransacked all four practitioners’ homes and confiscated their Falun Gong books. The police harassed Ms. Yan a few more times after she was released on the same day.
Ms. Tao was released on February 17, 2023, after 17 days at the Macheng City Detention Centre. Mr. Hao is still held at the Macheng City Detention Center and Ms. Cao has been transferred to the Huanggang City Detention Centre.
Four Gongzhuling City, Jilin Province residents were arrested on February 6, 2023 for their faith in Falun Gong. Three of them developed various symptoms, but the police refused to release them.
Mr. Luan Dewu, Ms. Wang Li, Ms. Liu Guijie and Mr. Zhang Qian were arrested by officers from the Shuanglong Town Police Station on February 6 and taken to the Gongzhuling City Lockup to serve a 13-day administrative detention.
The police informed Ms. Liu’s family of her arrest two days later, but didn’t allow them to visit her, despite their strong requests.
Ms. Liu’s family found out on February 10 that a dresser had been rummaged through and her computer had gone missing. Her daughter, Ms. Li Jing, reported the incident to the police, believing that some officers had raided their home. Shortly after, several plainclothes officers showed up and dragged Ms. Li to the police car. They hit her on the head as she resisted getting into the car.
At the Daling Town Police Station, the police questioned Ms. Li about whether she practiced Falun Gong herself and how long her parents had been practicing. The police also confiscated two work cell phones and examined her call records. They took her car to the police station. They continued to interrogate and intimidate her before allowing her to go home. It’s not clear whether they returned her car.
In the local lockup, Ms. Liu developed dangerously high blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat and was hospitalised. Mr. Zhang was also taken to the hospital after he held a hunger strike for six days.
An officer from the Shuanglong Town Police Station contacted Ms. Liu’s family on February 11 and told them that they were planning to release her. But when the family rushed to the hospital the next morning, the police changed their mind. They said that they weren’t in charge of her case and directed the family to the Gongzhuling City Domestic Security Office if they had any questions about her case.
On February 19, the lockup called the four practitioners’ families and asked them to pick up their loved ones the next morning at 8:30 a.m. but before the practitioners’ families arrived, the police came in the early morning and took Mr. Luan and Ms. Wang to the same hospital where Mr. Zhang and Ms. Liu were staying for physical examinations. The police also ordered the hospital to discharge Mr. Zhang and Ms. Liu the same day.
All four practitioners were taken to the Jiutai City Detention Centre in the evening for criminal detention. Ms. Liu, Mr. Zhang, and Ms. Wang were all denied admission due to their poor health. The police had to take them back to Gongzhuling.
The police took the practitioners to the hospital for another physical examination on February 21, before forcing the Jiutai Detention Center to accept them for a short quarantine.
Ms. Liu, Mr. Zhang, and Ms. Wang are currently held in the Gongzhuling City Detention Center. The whereabouts of Mr. Luan isn’t clear.
The police in Changchun City, Jilin Province arrested 17 Falun Gong practitioners and their family members on the morning of February 19, 2023. Most of the practitioners had their homes ransacked and their Falun Gong books and informational materials confiscated. The police stayed at some practitioners’ homes, waiting to arrest more practitioners if they came to visit.
According to an insider, the police operation was ordered by the Changchun Political and Legal Affairs Committee, the 610 Office and Erdao District Domestic Security Office. Most of the practitioners had been monitored for months before the arrests. The police even installed surveillance cameras outside of Mr. Lu Jinhua’s home to monitor his daily activities and the practitioners he had contact with.
Mr. Wang Qixue was arrested while visiting Ms. Liu Xiaohua. When Mr. Wang’s son, who doesn’t practice Falun Gong, went to Ms. Liu’s home to look for his father in the afternoon, he was also arrested. The younger Mr. Wang has been released and his father was given ten days at the Weizigou Lockup.
Four officers broke into Ms. Zhang Chunjie’s home and arrested her and her husband. Their over 40 Falun Gong books, a photo of Falun Gong’s founder, informational materials, and a media player were confiscated. Ms. Zhang’s husband has been released.
Ms. Zhang Chunli’s husband was shocked to see seven officers standing outside of their home when he opened the door in the morning. The officers barged in and ransacked their home. Ms. Zhang was arrested and given ten days of detention.
Ms. Wang Min was arrested at work and her cellphone was confiscated. Several Falun Gong practitioners were taken away at the same time.
Other people who were arrested on the same day include Ms. Tang Xiaoyan, her mother and sister Ms. Tang Xiaohong (non-practitioner), Ms. Zhao Guizhi, Mr. Lu Jinhua’s sister, Ms. Liu, Zhang, Lian, and a male practitioner whose name is unknown.
Persecution of the Elderly
Ms. Cai Zefang, an 85-year-old Nanchong City, Sichuan Province, resident, was arrested after she went out on February 8, 2023. After Ms. Cai started a hunger strike to protest the arbitrary arrest on February 18, the authorities took her to the Nanchong City No. 2 People’s Hospital. The police keep her chained to the bed and force-fed her. There are two officers in the room to monitor her around the clock.
Over the past two years, Ms. Cai has been frequently targeted for her faith. Following her arrest on January 29, 2021, for talking to people about Falun Gong, the police submitted her case to the procuratorate and continued to harass her.
Ms. Cai was notified by the procuratorate on November 8, 2021, that she had been indicted. She appeared in court on January 3, 2022, charged with “undermining law enforcement using a cult organisation,” the standard pretext used to criminalise Falun Gong. The persecution she suffered before was listed as evidence for the prosecution and she was accused of being a repeat offender.
The judge summoned Ms. Cai on February 9, 2022, to pronounce the year-and-a-half prison sentence. She was also fined 3,000 yuan. When Ms. Cai asked the judge why her age was changed from 84 to 75, the judge responded that 75 was 80.
Ms. Cai was taken to the Nanchong City Detention Centre that evening. When the guards refused to admit her, the police took her home around 3 a.m.
The police took Ms. Cai to the detention centre again on February 16. Due to her dangerously high blood pressure (220/180 mmHg), the guard still refused to admit her and the police had to take her home.
Three officers showed up at Ms. Cai’s home on April 24. They held her arms, dragged her to the police car, and drove her to the police station. She started a hunger strike to protest the persecution and was released at around 8 p.m. The police ordered her to report to their station whenever she was summoned.
The court ordered two police officers to arrest Ms. Cai again on May 16. They took her to the hospital for a physical exam and then to a detention facility without a sign on the door in the evening. When the guards refused to take her, the police spent an hour trying to persuade them otherwise, but to no avail. They had to take Ms. Cai home at midnight.
It’s not clear if the police will enforce Ms. Cai’s latest sentence.
Since the onset of the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999, Mr. Guo Deyou, a former model worker in Tianjin, his wife, and their daughter have been repeatedly targeted. The total time they have been incarcerated adds up to 31.5 years.
Just months after their daughter Ms. Guo Chengru, 58, was released from serving a five-year term, they were harassed again while caring for her, who had become emaciated and was in a delirious state due to torture suffered in police custody.
On October 15, 2022, only two months following Ms. Guo’s release, her father Mr. Guo, 86, and his wife Ms. Han Yuxia were arrested while visiting another local practitioner. Over ten officers ransacked their home and confiscated their Falun Gong books, computer and printer.
The police showed up at the couple’s home again on December 5 and ordered Ms. Han to go to the Hexi District Court. She went there, only to be tried for her faith. Ms. Han refused to acknowledge the persecution.
The police came again on December 14 and announced to fine the couple 1,000 yuan each, because of the Falun Gong books found at their home in October. The couple refused to pay the fine.
Two officers harassed the couple again on February 13, 2023. They said that Mr. Guo had been placed on conditional bail and that he wasn’t allowed to leave Tianjin without the police’s permission. They also warned him not to have “illegal” items at home.
Mr. Guo questioned the police what was considered to be “illegal” items. One officer replied, “Cult.” Mr. Guo clarified that no law labels Falun Gong as a cult in China. The police accused him of not cooperating with them and threatened to report him to their supervisor.
During a police sweep of local Falun Gong practitioners in Huaihua City, Hunan Province on August 29, 2022, a 75-year-old landlord was harassed and had her property ransacked. Some of her tenants were terrified by the police raid and moved out, which directly affected her rental income.
Ms. Li Faxiu received a call from a woman on August 29, 2022. The woman asked whether she still had units for rent in her apartment building (which she owns and where she also lives). She said yes and the two agreed to meet outside of the building. A man in his 40s joined the woman, but the two didn’t look like a couple.
As they were approaching Ms. Li’s own apartment unit, the man suddenly stopped and said to Ms. Li, “I’m the police.” He quickly showed her his ID and put it back before she saw anything on it. He snatched her key and opened the door.
In no time, several officers in police uniforms also showed up. Some were videotaping and photographing Ms. Li. Some held the tool prepared to pry open her door. There were also a few armed officers. They held Ms. Li on the ground and also arrested three other Falun Gong practitioners who happened to be at her home.
The police spent the next few hours searching Ms. Li’s apartment building and harassed her tenants. The home of her tenant (also a Falun Gong practitioner) on the fourth floor was ransacked as well. The practitioner tenant’s Falun Gong books, photos of Falun Gong’s founder, informational materials, and media players were confiscated.
Several of Ms. Li’s tenants have since moved out.
The three practitioners arrested at Ms. Li’s home were taken to the police station. One of them was released that night and the other two were released the next day. The police also attempted to arrest Ms. Li but relented after over two hours of standoff. They forced her to sign her name on a piece of blank paper before they left.
At 7 a.m. on January 20, 2023, two days before the Chinese New Year, four officers in Maoming City, Guangdong Province staked out Ms. Liao Yuying’s home. As no one left home after a while, the police knocked on the door and Ms. Liao’s daughter-in-law let them in, without knowing they were police.
As soon as the police rushed in, they began to search the residence that Ms. Liao, 84, shared with her son and daughter-in-law. Her Falun Gong books were confiscated. As Ms. Liao was bedridden due to the pain in her feet, the police attempted to carry her away but then relented due to the severity of her condition.
The police demanded Ms. Liao’s daughter-in-law go with them to the police station to sign her case document, but she refused to comply. Her son then questioned the police whether they had a proper search warrant. One officer showed him a piece of paper, but the lower part was folded and no official seal was visible. The son asked the police, “Isn’t this a fake form?” The police kept silent and stopped asking his wife to sign the paperwork.
Before the police left, they tore off the decorated couplets with messages about traditional values that Ms. Liao just received a few days ago.
This is the fourth time that Ms. Liao has been harassed in the past 12 months for her faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Over a dozen officers broke into Ms. Liao’s home on April 21, 2022. As she refused to let them in, they broke in by prying open her door with pliers. They searched her home and confiscated her Falun Gong books and a photo of Falun Gong’s founder. After Ms. Liao was taken to the police station, some officers stayed and changed the lock on her front door.
At 5 p.m., one officer returned with a residential committee staff member and searched Ms. Liao’s home again and confiscated more Falun Gong-related items, including a piece of artwork she had on the wall and her exercise suit. According to her neighbors, the police loaded several bags and a big box with items confiscated from her.
The police broke into Ms. Liao’s home again on June 9, 2022. As she wasn’t home, the police installed a new lock on her front door, kept two keys for themselves, and handed the other two to her neighbor to pass on to her. To avoid further persecution, Ms. Liao has lived away from home.
Due to her declining health and systemic pain, Ms. Liao was unable to live on her own and thus returned home on July 4. After a few days of rest, she finally could walk again. Yet the police showed up a week later on July 11 and threatened to tie her up and arrest her. She was forced to live away from home one more time.
Since 2016, Ms. Pan Chengying, a 49-year-old former middle school teacher in Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province, has been twice sentenced to two years for talking to people about Falun Gong. She was arrested again on January 5, 2023, and is being held in the Nanjing City Detention Centre.
Ms. Pan used to work at the Lishui County No.1 Middle School. She was beloved by her students and won several awards. But because she upholds her faith in Falun Gong, she has been repeatedly targeted over the past two decades.
Ms. Pan was first arrested on October 10, 2007, and held in a brainwashing center for sharing information about Falun Gong online.
The Lishui County 610 Office and the Domestic Security Office seized Ms. Pan at her school on March 4, 2009, during the communist regime’s National People’s Congress and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. She was given one year in the Judong Forced Labor Camp.
Ms. Pan was arrested again on June 8, 2012, after being reported for talking to people about Falun Gong. Her home was ransacked.
Her next arrest was on May 17, 2016, outside her home. She was held in the Baima Brainwashing Centre. In one week, the police ransacked her home three times and confiscated two computers, several printers, and other equipment she used to produce Falun Dafa informational materials. Another 20,000 yuan in cash with messages about Falun Dafa printed on the bills (as a way to raise awareness about the persecution due to the strict information censorship in China) was also taken. She was transferred to the Nanjing City Detention Centre on June 20.
Ms. Pan was tried in the Lishui District Court in May 2017. Her lawyer entered a not-guilty plea for her. She was sentenced to two years in the Nanjing Women’s Prison. Her school fired her when she was released in June 2018.
Only a year after her release, she was arrested again on June 24, 2019, also after being reported for talking to people about Falun Gong. The Yuhua District Court sentenced her to two years with a 20,000 yuan fine in late May 2020.
A resident of Mudanjiang City, Heilongjiang Province, was arrested at the end of last year for her faith in Falun Gong. After Ms. Jiang Chunmei protested the persecution with a hunger strike, the police released her on bail three days later. She now stays at home to care for her elderly parents and is facing possible prosecution.
Ms. Jiang’s latest arrest came only six years after serving a 14-year term for her faith. Her husband and older son died while she was in prison.
Ms. Jiang, a former lecturer at the Foreign Language Department of Mudanjiang City Normal College, was arrested at home on December 18, 2022. The police ransacked her home and took away one laptop, three cellphones, one tablet, one printer, Falun Gong books, and 550 yuan in cash. She refused to sign any documents provided by the police.
The police forced Ms. Jiang to stand beside her bike and attempted to take her photo as evidence against her. She refused to comply and was forcibly carried into the police car while being blindfolded. An officer punched her nose and chest. For the purpose of processing her criminal detention, the police forced her to do a physical exam and take a COVID-19 vaccine. She went on a hunger strike and was released on bail three days later.
The police indicated during Ms. Jiang’s most recent arrest that they were seeking prosecution of her for her earlier arrest on March 27, 2020, for distributing Falun Gong informational materials. Back then, the police took away her house keys and ransacked the residence she shared with her parents. To avoid the persecution, Ms. Jiang lived away from home to hide from the police, only to be arrested again two years later.
Ms. Jiang and her husband, Mr. Jin Youfeng, were arrested on July 20, 1999, and detained for several days. When they refused to renounce their faith, the police transferred them to the Mudanjiang Detention Center before the mid-Autumn Festival (on September 24). They were detained there for 15 days.
Ms. Jiang was arrested again in March 2000 and placed on administrative detention for 15 days.
On June 22, 2000, Ms. Jiang was arrested and taken to the local detention center. She was placed in criminal detention, and released three months later. At that time, her husband was in a labor camp, leaving their 7-year-old son, Jin Luyi, alone at home.
Ms. Jiang and another practitioner were arrested in November 2001. Their cash and phones worth thousands of yuan were confiscated. The police refused to return their cash and phones when releasing them.
Ms. Jiang and her husband were arrested on October 22, 2003. Mr. Jin was sentenced to 13 years in the Mudanjiang Prison; Ms. Jiang was given 14 years in Heilongjiang Women’s Prison. At that time, their second son, Jin Panpan, was only 15 months old and still breastfeeding.
Mr. Jin was tortured brutally in the prison. He was beaten, hung up, locked in solitary confinement, exposed to the freezing weather, starved, force-fed, and shocked with electric batons on his private parts. He later suffered from severe tuberculosis but was only released on medical parole ten months later in June 2008.
The couple’s eldest son was in his 20s when Mr. Jin was released. Despite knowing that tuberculosis is highly contagious, he took care of his father day and night. Shortly after Mr. Jin passed away on January 21, 2009, his son also lost his life to the infection. He was only 23.
Ms. Jiang was fired from her job after she was released. She moved to Longjiang County in Qiqihar City in 2018 to care for her parents and did odd jobs to make a living.
Chinese version available