Faces to Remember, Questions to be Answered
An artist, a teacher, and a lawyer are three unlikely faces to draw attention on the international stage. Yet, for adhering to the truth, the artist, Mrs. Xu Na, is facing an eight-year sentence, a U.S. citizen will continue to live in fear for her detained mother, and a righteous lawyer may face disciplinary action.
The cases of Ms. Xu Na, Ms. Deng Cuiping, and Mr. Song Yushen are three in countless cases that typify the persecution of Falun Gong.
Twenty-two years after a crackdown against Falun Gong in China began, Falun Gong adherents continue to be arrested, tortured, and even murdered for practicing their belief and disseminating truthful information. Their families are broken and those who offer support are sometimes retaliated against.
Below is a more detailed overview of the cases.
Ms. Xu Na
“Xu Na and others are not only innocent but also meritorious.”
Artist Xu Na was sentenced to eight years in prison earlier this month for providing photos and information of Beijing during the early pandemic to an overseas Chinese language newspaper. Her defense lawyer Xie Yanyi was barred from defending her at the trial on Oct. 15, 2021.
She had been arrested alongside 10 other Falun Gong practitioners on July 19, 2020, who had also engaged in citizen journalist activities.
For being steadfast in her faith, Xu Na has been repeatedly imprisoned over the past two decades. Her husband, the late Mr. Yu Zhou, was killed by torture in custody shortly after the pair were arrested at an Olympic checkpoint in 2008. Xu would be barred from attending her husband’s funeral and endured cruel torture at the Beijing Women’s Prison.
Xu said in a memoir:
“in the Beijing Women’s Prison, it’s worse to be alive than dead. Repeatedly, you go through long sessions of torture… Various tortures were invented, such as splitting, pulling the legs 180 degrees apart, ordering three prisoners to sit on the legs and back of the victim and press down repeatedly. The police are proud of this invention: ‘This method is good because the pain is unbearable, but it doesn’t break the bones. [so it’s harder for people to know we’ve tortured them.]’’”
Many of Xu and her husband’s friends who practiced Falun Gong died in prison. Xu also witnessed the death of a 29-year-old female doctor in custody.
Ms. Deng Cuiping
“We cannot just keep silent for our own safety and let this go. Our consciences don’t allow us to do that. We have to speak out and seek justice. Otherwise the persecution will go on and bad things will continue to happen to good people.”
On Dec. 27, the CECC highlighted the case of Ms. Deng Cuiping, a former primary school teacher in Yuxi city, Yunnan Province.
Deng was arrested in a small group arrest on July 2016, and the group was charged with “organizing and using a heretical religion to undermine implementation of the law”. In reality, the practitioners had been distributing materials that detailed the persecution of her faith.
Since the outset of the persecution, Ms. Deng has faced repeated ordeals for her faith. She was suspended from her workplace and sent to an “education center.” In 2000, after her younger sister who also practices Falun Gong disappeared, Ms. Deng demonstrated on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square and was detained for a month.
Ms. Deng would practice her faith in secret in the following years, but continue to distribute materials on the Chinese regime’s persecution of her faith to the populace. She was reported in April 2006, and sentenced to three years in prison in September 2006.
According to Ms. Deng’s daughter, she was forced to sit in the same position on a small stool for hours at a time during her detainment, damaging her legs and hips.
Even deadlier torture was also taking place in the prison. Ms. Deng’s friend, Ms. Shen Yueping, was subject to continual shocking with electric batons and drugged. Yueping passed away in a hospital in July 2009, about eight months after Ms. Deng was released.
After her release, she continued to quietly distribute materials despite the great risk.
Her daughter Iris Lu explained, “We cannot just keep silent for our own safety and let this go. Our consciences don’t allow us to do that. We have to speak out and seek justice. Otherwise, the persecution will go on and bad things will continue to happen to good people.”
In July of 2016, Ms. Deng was arrested again. She was given a six-year prison term at the notorious Second Women’s Prison of Yunnan Province seven months later. Her health is in rapid decline. Her daughter, who lives in Florida, has repeatedly petitioned for her mother’s release.
Deng was featured in the “Free China’s Heroes” initiative chaired by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China(CECC) and was mentioned in a letter from Senator Marco Rubio to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken this August.
However, Deng remains incarcerated to date.
Mr. Song Yusheng
“On the surface, [they] are punishing lawyers, but they are silencing all voices from citizens. It’s a signal [they are] moving further toward brutality and degeneration.”
Human rights lawyer Song Yusheng has been accused of “malpractice” for representing a 70-year-old Falun Gong practitioner in Heilongjiang province.
Song had prepared a defense for the elderly Ms. Song Liqin, who had been arrested on Sept. 11, 2019. The security agent Feng Haibo confiscated her keys and raided her home while she was not present. Falun Gong materials, cellphones, and 6,000 yuan in cash were confiscated.
Two years after his client’s arrest, Song was summoned to a hearing with the Disciplinary Board of the Beijing Lawyers Association, an organization linked to the Chinese Communist Party. They charged him with “malpractice” during his client’s trial for speaking in a politically sensitive manner.
According to the Board’s own rules, however, malpractice can only apply to a lawyer’s conduct, not his speech in the courtroom.
Song’s trial reflects the concerning trend, as superficially they are punishing lawyers, but in reality “they are silencing all voices from citizens,” a Chinese human rights lawyer said in a comment to the Epoch Times.
“It’s a signal [they are] moving further toward brutality and degeneration.”
The Cost of Truth
The aftermath of the 2008 Beijing Olympics was devasting. Over 8000 Falun Gong practitioners had been arrested, and over 100 were still incarcerated at the beginning of the Rio Games in 2016.
Even more alarmingly, is the unbridled depravity the Chinese Communist Party has been able to engage in during its aftermath. The persecution of different faiths, ethnic groups, and truthful citizens continues. The multibillion-dollar organ transplant industry in China has also grotesquely murdered countless innocent victims.