(Minghui.org) A total of 310 incidents of Falun Gong practitioners being arrested or harassed for their faith were reported in January and February 2024. The 192 arrest cases included 143 that took place in January 2024 and 44 in February 2024. The 118 harassment incidents consisted of 83 cases in January 2024 and 35 in February 2024.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) since 1999. Countless practitioners have been harassed, arrested, sentenced, or tortured for upholding their faith over the past 25 years of persecution. But due to strict information censorship in China, the persecution cases can’t always be reported in a timely manner, nor is all the information readily available.

The newly-reported cases took place in 21 provinces and 4 centrally-controlled municipalities (Beijing, Chongqing, Shanghai, and Tianjin). Jilin reported the most combined arrest and harassment cases (48), followed by 41 in Shandong and 40 in Liaoning. Five other regions also had double-digit cases between 12 and 35. Another seventeen regions had single-digit cases between 1 and 9.

Among the 310 targeted practitioners, 56 were 60 years old or older at the time of their arrests or harassment, including 20 in their 60s, 27 in their 70s, and 9 in their 80s. An 84-year-old woman was taken into custody in early January 2024 to serve a four-year term handed down in 2021. A 65-year-old woman who had been bedridden for over four years was carried away by the police from her bed. A 72-year-old woman who lost her right foot due to toxic injections in detention was harassed and faces prosecution again.


Three Women in Their 80s Targeted

Ms. Zhao Hongzhi, an 84-year-old resident of Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, was arrested at home on January 6, 2024 while cooking dinner. Her son confirmed two days later that she was taken away by officers from the Nanhu Police Station. He demanded to see her, but the police refused.

Ms. Zhao’s son received a call from the local procuratorate on the evening of January 10 saying that his mother had been admitted to prison to serve a four-year term given in 2021, which she wasn’t required to serve at that time due to the pandemic.

On January 17, 2024, another 84-year-old woman, Ms. Guo Meiying of Beijing, was arrested at home by more than ten officers. The police claimed that she was recorded by surveillance camera while distributing Falun Gong materials. They raided her home without a search warrant. As she failed the required physical examination to be admitted to the local detention centre, the police allowed her to serve the five-day detention at home.

In Jinzhou City, Liaoning Province, Ms. Wang Guixia, 80, who had been out on bail, was issued a formal arrest warrant and taken back into custody on February 5, 2024. She is now facing indictment while being held at the Jinzhou City Women’s Detention Centre.


Infirm Not Spared 

Ms. Li Shulian, a 65-year-old Yan’an City, Shaanxi Province resident, has been bedridden since early 2020. She was carried away from her bed by the police on January 3, 2024. It’s not clear where she is currently held or whether the police intended to pursue prosecution.

Ms. Li was previously arrested on December 15, 2019. She fell into critical condition after three months of torture at the Yulin Detention Centre. By the time she was taken back home, she had been reduced to skin and bones. She was incontinent, with bedsores on her back and buttocks. Her memory declined significantly and she couldn’t remember events that happened one or two days before. When her family took her to the hospital, the doctor refused to treat her due to the severity of her condition.

Ms. Li wasn’t the only one in her family who suffered persecution for practicing Falun Gong. Both she, a former vocational school lecturer, and her husband, Mr. Cao Huashan, a former middle school teacher, were repeatedly arrested and incarcerated over the past two-plus decades. Her husband’s latest arrest came only one day after hers, while he was living in displacement to avoid the police. The family confirmed in June 2020 that he was secretly sentenced to Weinan Prison. But it’s not clear how long his prison sentence was.

When Ms. Li and her husband were both detained in 2007, their daughter was fired by her workplace due to their shared faith in Falun Gong. She developed a severe medical condition, but couldn’t afford treatment. She passed away at an unknown time.


Repeatedly Targeted

Ms. Song Huilan’s case is an example of the repeated persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. Ms. Song, a 72-year-old resident of Jiamusi City, Heilongjiang Province, was injected with unknown drugs while held at the Tangyuan County Detention Centre in February 2011. Her right foot suffered severe tissue necrosis as a result. It blackened and fell off on May 25, 2011.

Ms. Song was arrested again on September 29, 2021, after being reported for distributing calendars bearing information about Falun Gong in a local park. Although the police promised her daughter that they would not pursue any further prosecution of Ms. Song when they released her on October 25 that year, they deceived her daughter into signing a “released on bail pending trial” form on April 8, 2023, effectively starting the prosecution of Ms. Song. Two police officers showed up at Ms. Song’s home on February 6, 2024, ordering her to go the Xiangyang District Court to sign a new “released on bail” form. She refused to go and the police returned several times to harass her.


Normal Life Disrupted

Mr. Yu Tianjian, of Dalian City, Liaoning Province, has been facing constant police surveillance since he was released after a short detention five years ago.

Mr. Yu was arrested in June 2018 for talking to people about Falun Gong. After he was taken to the Ganjingzi Brainwashing Centre, the authorities found several “experts” to talk to him, attempting to force him to renounce Falun Gong. He remained firm in his faith.

When he was released six days later, the police rented a place near his apartment to monitor him. He found himself being followed whenever he went out. His neighbors were also encouraged by the police to monitor him. Every year on May 13, the anniversary of Falun Gong’s public introduction, his neighbor would leave his door open to keep an eye on Mr. Yu.

When Mr. Yu travelled to Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province for work in 2022, the authorities in Dalian informed the police in Guangzhou to harass him. His manager at work was also harassed, resulting in his being terminated. The surveillance and harassment continued when Mr. Yu returned to Dalian.

Also facing constant police harassment, Ms. Zhong Fangqiong, 59, from Chengdu City, Sichuan Province, was forced to live away from home around January 2024 to avoid further persecution.

The harassment of Ms. Zhong started on September 26, 2022, when she was temporarily staying at her brother’s home in Jianyang City, Sichuan Province. Several police officers harassed her almost every day between October 14 and 22, 2022. The harassment continued in 2023, including one incident on April 26, and another series of events in June, which eventually forced her to go into hiding. Prior to her latest persecution, Ms. Zhong was detained many times and sentenced twice for a total of 11 years.

The following are three additional cases of outright arrests.

Shaanxi Woman Detained for Practicing Falun Gong, Two Siblings Arrested for Seeking Her Release

Ms. Yang Qiaoli, a Tongchuan City, Shaanxi Province resident, has been detained since her arrest on January 9, 2024. She is now facing indictment after the Yintai District Procuratorate recently issued a formal arrest warrant against her.

During Ms. Yang’s arrest, the police knocked her down and beat her. After she was admitted to the local detention centre, two guards hit her with a stick while out of sight of surveillance cameras when she failed to recite the detention centre rules.

Ms. Yang’s lawyer went to the detention centre to see her on the morning of February 19, 2024. The meeting was cut short within ten minutes, after a guard spotted the “no lawyer visits” note in Ms. Yang’s case file.

As Ms. Yang’s husband works out of town, she is the sole caregiver for their two school-aged children and her 90-year-old widowed father. Her arrest left her children and their grandfather in a dire situation.

Ms. Yang’s younger brother, Mr. Yang Xijing, and her two older sisters, Ms. Yang Meili and Ms. Yang Mei’e, decided to try to get her released given her family situation. The three siblings went to the police on February 18, 2024 to seek her release, but only her brother was allowed inside. When Mr. Yang gave the police a copy of a document stating that no law in China has criminalised Falun Gong, the police accused him of promoting Falun Gong and knocked him down. They pressed his face against the ground so hard that his skin was lacerated.

After Mr. Yang left the police department building, he told his sisters about what happened to him. Ms. Yang Meili went inside the courtyard, but the door was shut tight. She knocked on the door, and the police came out to accuse her and her brother of “disrupting public security organs” and intentionally causing trouble. The two siblings were then given 15 days of administrative detention.

60-Year-Old Beijing Woman Arrested Two Times in Less Than Two Years

Ms. Zhang Baoling, a 60-year-old Beijing resident, was arrested twice between mid-2022 and early 2024 for practicing Falun Gong. She was first arrested on June 19, 2022, after being reported for distributing Falun Gong informational materials. She was detained for 36 hours before being released on bail.

The Fengtai District Procuratorate called Ms. Zhang on June 5, 2023, and ordered her to report to them in two days. She did not go because she was visiting her ill brother in their hometown.

The police arrested Ms. Zhang on February 23, 2024, on grounds that she had violated a condition of her bail by visiting her brother. She did not eat when offered dinner that night. The police took her to a hospital for a physical exam and she was found to have dangerously high blood pressure of 214/115 mmHg (a normal range is 120/80 mmHg or lower).

Despite her condition, the police still took her to the Fengtai District Detention Centre, where her blood pressure was found to be even higher. After the detention centre declined to admit her, the police ran to different offices in the detention centre, trying to persuade them to accept Ms. Zhang. The detention center was adamant about not admitting her. She was released on bail at 2:30 a.m. on February 24.

Former Train Engineer Arrested for Talking to People about Falun Gong

Mr. Xie Mingguang, a former train engineer from Wuhan City, Hubei Province, was arrested in Lichuan City in the same province on February 8, 2024. His arrest came after he was reported for talking to people about Falun Gong during a short stay in Lichuan. The police deceived him into opening his door by pretending to be property management personnel. They ransacked his temporary residence in Lichuan and took away many of his Falun Gong-related items.

On February 9, the day before the Chinese New Year, the Lichuan police called Mr. Xie’s wife, telling her that they would release him in 15 days. But on February 23, the day before his scheduled release, the police ordered his wife to sign his detention notice, saying that Mr. Xie had been put on criminal detention and would be transferred to the Lichuan City Detention Center soon. It’s not clear whether he had been released at the time of writing.

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