(Minghui.org) When Mr. Wei Junren finally returned home on August 13, 2022, after serving 20 years for tapping into cable TV to expose the Chinese Communist Party’s defamatory propaganda against Falun Gong, he was devastated to see his collapsed house.
With nowhere to go, the 54-year-old resident of Jingchuan County, Gansu Province, had to stay in his brother’s home for a few days. However, the police located him and continued to harass him at his brother’s place.
Hiding from the police to avoid the harassment became a new norm in Mr. Wei’s life. Also because of the harassment, no employers dared to keep him, forcing him to keep changing jobs.
Family Torn Apart
During the early days of Mr. Wei’s prison term, his wife entrusted his parents to help care for their two young boys, while she worked in Lanzhou (the capital city of Gansu Province) to support the whole family. But due to accidental gas poisoning, she passed away on January 19, 2006.
Mr. Wei’s two boys both dropped out of school at about 15 years old and left home to make a living.
His elderly parents passed away one after another in 2020, before he was released.
Righteous Action 20 Years Ago
Shortly after the CCP launched the campaign against Falun Gong, an ancient spiritual and meditation discipline, in 1999, the state-owned media (TV, radio, newspapers, etc.) bombarded the entire country with demonising propaganda against the practice to justify the persecution. The actual reason is suspected to have to do with the booming popularity of the practice, with the number of adherents reaching 70-100 million at the time.
Meanwhile, countless practitioners were arrested, detained, tortured or even killed. Having believed the propaganda, the general public turned a blind eye to the relentless persecution and despised Falun Gong practitioners for “causing trouble to the regime.”
With all legal channels to appeal against the persecution blocked to them, Falun Gong practitioners in Changchun City, Jilin Province, the birthplace of Falun Gong, tapped into the local cable system in March 2002 to broadcast programs exposing the illegality and brutality of the persecution.
Inspired by them, practitioners in other provinces, including Liaoning, Gansu, Hebei, Tianjin, Heilongjiang, Beijing, Guizhou, Shandong, Qinghai, and Sichuan, also stepped forward and risked their lives to expose the CCP’s lies by tapping into their local TV signals.
In August 2002, within three days, practitioners successfully broadcast two video clips of the facts about Falun Gong over cable TV in Xining City, Qinghai Province, and in certain areas in the Lanzhou region, Gansu Province. The broadcast lasted half an hour.
Massive Arrest and Severe Sentences
These television broadcasts shocked and infuriated the Chinese officials. At least fifteen Falun Gong practitioners were arrested as a result. They were all tortured and interrogated. Ms. Zhang Rongjuan lost the ability to walk and Ms. Zhang Ping almost died from suffocation and concussion.
Mr. Wei was arrested at his rental home on August 14, 2002, three days before the first video broadcast happened. Though the police initially were not aware of his involvement in the video broadcasts, he was severely beaten during the arrest. A handful of his hair was pulled out. The police also slapped him in the face with a shoe, causing his face to swell up. Then they tied up his legs, stomped on his feet, and handcuffed him behind the back.
Many of his personal belongings were confiscated, including computers, printers, mobile hard drives, cell phones, cash of more than 2,300 yuan, and bank cards with more than 10,000 yuan.
While being held in Lanzhou City Police Department, Mr. Wei was tied up in a “tiger chair” (see illustration below). In addition, the police also wrapped a belt around his neck with the belt tied to the back of the tiger chair, rendering him unable to move his head. At the same time, the police put a torture helmet on him and tightened up the screws to cause him excruciating pain. His wrists were injured and his thumb was numb for more than a year afterward.
The police later discovered his involvement in the video broadcasts. The Chengguan District Court in Lanzhou City, Gansu Province sentenced seven practitioners on October 27, 2002. Among them, Mr. Wei, Ms. Li Wenming, Mr. Wang Pengyun were each given 20 years. Mr. Sun Zhaohai, Mr. Qiang Xiaoyi, Mr. Liu Zhirong and Mr. Su Anzhou were sentenced to 10 to 19 years.
Two practitioners, Mr. Zhang Guangli and Mr. Chang Jubin, were sentenced to 12 and 11 years, respectively, by the Baiyin District Court in Lanzhou City. Another four practitioners in Xining City, Qinghai Province were sentenced by the Xining City Intermediate Court on December 30, 2002: Ms. Zhang Rongjuan was given 20 years, Mr. He Wanji to 17 years, Mr. Li Chongfeng to 15 years, and Ms. Duan Xiaoyan to 7 years.
Among these practitioners, Mr. He, a police officer himself, was tortured to death in Haomen Prison on May 28, 2003. He was 53. Mr. Liu died at the Tianshui Prison in January 2006.
Due to long-term malnutrition and poor living conditions in Xiguoyuan Detention Centre, Mr. Wei developed scabies and ulcers all over his body. He had acute appendicitis in March 2003 and underwent an operation. He was extremely weak and very thin, unable to walk or eat. His family had 1,000 yuan extorted from them to keep him in the hospital for a few more days. However, he was sent back to the detention centre seven days after the operation, when he was still very weak.
He was taken to Lanzhou Prison on November 5, 2003, to serve his term.
Upon his arrival at the prison, five inmates besieged him in the strict-control room and knocked him down. They shaved his head and stripped his clothes off. He was left naked and freezing for more than 20 minutes before he was given a prison uniform.
Later when Mr. Wei was transferred to the 10th ward, since he refused to memorise the prison rules or do the labor work as he maintained his innocence, two inmates were ordered to monitor him all the time and isolated him from talking to anyone. Ward chief Gao Zhendong seized Mr. Wei’s appeal materials and refused to submit them.
The prison officials began an aggressive transformation campaign in November 2006, as an effort to force all practitioners to renounce Falun Gong. They used all means possible, such as solitary confinement, sitting on small stools, deprivation of sleep, hanging up, electric shocks, and beating.
Mr. Wei was put into a dark room where eight inmates in two rotations took turns monitoring him and not allowing him to sleep. The prison guards interrogated him and tried to force him to give up his faith. He told them about Falun Gong and how the persecution was unjust.
Since the guards failed to reason with him, they handcuffed him to a metal ring fixed on the floor of the boiler room and shocked him with four electric batons for more than three hours until he passed out. Later, he was forced to sign a statement renouncing Falun Gong.
Later in March 2007, Mr. Wei declared his renouncing statement void. The prison guards retaliated by depriving him of sleep for more than 20 days.
Mr. Wei was transferred to the 7th Ward in June 2007, and four inmates were assigned to monitor him.
The prison guards repeatedly approached him after 2009 and asked him to plead guilty in exchange for sentence reduction, but he refused to comply.
Mr. Wei was forced to do forced labor during his prison term, including sorting sunflower seeds, peeling garlic, weaving rugs, making clothes, and packing clothes. He was given between 2 and 6 yuan (0.29-0.87 USD) per month, depending on the work he did.
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