At least 70 people in Hebei province formed a human wall and signed an appeal letter to oppose the abduction of a Falun Gong practitioner in mid-June. This is the latest in a string of cases of Chinese citizens publicly voicing support for Falun Gong, particularly in northeastern China. The petition is the fourth to come to light in the last two months.
Red ink thumbprints of dozens of Chinese in Hebei province to protest the abduction of their neighbor who practices Falun Gong
At 6 a.m. on June 9, 2012, approximately ten security agents forced their way into the home of 58-year-old Mr. Li Zhen (李真) in Tangshan’s Kaping district, according to accounts of the incident conveyed to the Chinese-language Falun Gong website Minghui.org. The agents were from the 610 Office, an extralegal police force focused on persecuting Falun Gong, and the local Communist Party Political and Legislative Affairs Committee.
When Li’s wife screamed for help, dozens of neighbors came out, forming a human wall in an attempt to prevent the abduction. The standoff reportedly lasted for two hours before officers forced a shoeless and shirtless Li into a car in handcuffs and drove away.
Neighbors and friends on the scene spontaneously signed their names to paper to publicly express indignation over the incident. They added thumbprints in red ink, a practice historically used to make legal documents official (see photo).
Mr. Li and his wife, Ms. Wang Xiulan (王秀兰) have both been abducted and imprisoned numerous times over the last decade for their practice of Falun Gong. Despite the persecution, both are highly regarded by their neighbors and Li is seen as a local hero. In 2010, he rescued a drowning man in a nearby river when other bystanders hesitated to jump in.
One elderly neighbor was in tears seeing Li being taken away. She reportedly held onto one of the abducting officers and cried, “Such a good person. Are you really going to take him away?”
Such grassroots efforts to stop the abduction and torture of Falun Gong practitioners are on the rise, although in some cases signatories have been persecuted themselves.
“This is the nineteenth known case of ordinary Chinese citizens courageously stepping forward to condemn the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in the last several years,” said Falun Dafa Information Center director Levi Browde. “These actions show that not only has the 13-year propaganda campaign against the peaceful spiritual practice failed, but the voice of the people is increasingly on the side of Falun Gong.”
The Falun Dafa Information Center urges officials in Hebei province with a sense of justice to challenge the authority of the 610 Office and the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee and stop the illegal abduction, imprisonment and torture of Falun Gong practitioners. The Center also urges foreign media and diplomats in China to closely monitor and report on this case to help ensure the timely release of Mr. Li Zhen as well as the protection of his courageous family and friends who have publicly supported justice, at great risk to themselves.
Location of the incident: Wenxingjiayuan Community in the Kaping District of Tangshan City, Hebei Province.
Individuals involved in Mr. Li Zhen’s abduction:
Liu Jianguo, secretary of Tangshan City Politics and Law Committee: +86-13831518989 (Cell)
Sun Shaodong, deputy director of Tangshan Police Department: +86-13832985959 (Cell), +86-13911295959 (Cell)
Yang Jinshan, director of the Kaiping District 610 Office: +86-13513399099 (Cell)
Liu Jincheng, director of Tangshan Detention Center: +86-13832981619 (Cell)