Florida State Delegation Requests the Department of State for the Release of Zhou Deyong, Husband of Florida Residents

Zhou Deyong and his wife in Arizona on vacation, January 2020. Zhou's wife and son currently reside in Florida.

Zhou Deyong and his wife in Arizona on vacation, January 2020. Zhou's wife and son currently reside in Florida.

Last year, Zhou Deyong (周德勇), a Falun Gong practitioner, was detained by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and imprisoned under bogus charges. Zhou’s family resides in Florida.

Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Rick Scott, Rep. Gus Bilirakis, Rep. Bill Posey, Rep. María Elvira Salazar, Rep. Brian Mast, Rep. Mike Waltz, and Rep. Val Demings co-signed a letter seeking the release of Falun Gong practitioner Mr. Zhou Deyong.

U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rick Scott (R-FL), along with U.S. Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Bill Posey (R-FL), María Elvira Salazar (R-FL), Brian Mast (R-FL), Mike Waltz (R-FL), and Val Demings (D-FL) urged the U.S. Department of State to raise Zhou’s case with diplomatic counterparts in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and sanction the CCP officials responsible for committing human rights abuses against the Falun Gong and other religious groups. 

They also requested Secretary Blinken to sanction CCP officials for its genocide and heinous human rights crimes against humanity, and also for Nicholas Burns, the U.S. Ambassador to China, to raise Mr. Zhou’s case with his Chinese counterpart and demand his unconditional release.

Letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
  • “Mr. Zhou was detained by authorities on April 23, 2021 in Dongying, Shandong, although police did not provide an arrest or search warrant. In addition to taking Mr. Zhou into detention, these security officials also raided his home and confiscated Falun Gong materials that reportedly belong to his wife, You Ling, a Falun Gong practitioner who resides in Florida. Mr. Zhou was formally tried on August 25, 2022 on the charge of ‘organizing and using a cult to undermine implementation of the law.’”
  •  “As you know, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has instigated a now 23-year effort to forcibly eliminate Falun Gong from China… We ask that you employ the tools available to you to sanction CCP and PRC officials responsible for the horrific human rights abuses targeting Falun Gong practitioners.” 
  • “We request an update on whether you have raised [Mr. Zhou’s] case, the PRC’s response as well as information on how the Department of State is ensuring that the PRC is being held accountable for atrocities more broadly, including crimes against humanity and genocide.”     

On August 26, 2022, Representative Bilirakis also sent a letter to Xi Jinping, head of the Chinese Communist Party, to end the 23-year-long persecution of Falun Gong.

Rep. Gus M. Bilirakis expressed his concern about Mr. Zhou Deyong. He noted that Mr. Zhou endured “numerous civil rights violations,” and called on the Chinese authorities to issue a “fair and just resolution to his improper arrest and detainment.”

Based on a press release by Senator Rubio here.

More information about Zhou Deyong’s illegal arrest and trial in the article below:

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