Husband of Falun Gong Practitioner Faces Trial in China, Wife and Son in Florida Call for Release

Mr. Zhou Deyong, a senior geological engineer at Shengli Oilfield in Shandong Province, is currently facing trial for supporting his wife in her practice of Falun Gong.

Mr. Zhou and his wife, Ms. You Ling, came to the U.S. to visit their son in late 2019. Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 in early 2020, they could not return to China as planned. In October 2020, Mr. Zhou flew back to China, while Ms. You decided to stay in the U.S. with her son to avoid being targeted again for her faith in Falun Gong. 

On April 23, 2021, six months after Mr. Zhou returned to China, he was arrested in a police sweep along with 10 other practitioners and their family members. The police raided Mr. Zhou’s home and confiscated his wife’s Falun Gong books and some informational materials. He has since been held at the Binhai Detention Center. 

Six of the arrested practitioners have already been tried in the Dongying District Court, including Mr. Geng Shoutian, Mr. He Baiqing, Ms. Meng Yu, Ms. Meng Fanyun, Ms. Guo Hongyan, and Ms. Liu Yanmei. 

Three days after Mr. Zhou’s arrest, his son contacted his congressman in Florida, Gus Bilirakis, who then wrote to Xi Jinping urging him to release Mr. Zhou. Congressman Bilirakis’ letter was also sent to the Shengli Oilfield Administration and Binhai Police Department.

Since his arrest, Mr. Zhou has been denied access to his lawyer. His lawyer had tried to make appointments to visit him since early May 2021 but was turned down each and every time. On May 19, the lawyer went to the police department to demand to see his client. The police agreed to allow him to visit Mr. Zhou the following week on May 26. However, a day before the police canceled the visit, claiming bad weather caused certain electronic devices used for such visits to malfunction.

Despite the police’s attempts to prevent Mr. Zhou’s lawyer from seeing him, the lawyer still travelled to Dongying as scheduled on May 26. Meanwhile, Mr. Zhou’s son called the Dongying District Procuratorate to report on the police’s violation of his father’s visitation right. He also told the authorities that his Representative in the U.S. had written to Xi Jinping about his father’s case. One hour later, the lawyer was informed by the detention center that he could visit Mr. Zhou.

Updated in September:

In addition to Representative Bilirakis, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio has also assisted the effort to rescue Mr. Zhou. Senator Rubio wrote to Secretary of State Antony Blinken in August 2021, to ask on the U.S. government to help free Mr. Zhou. The Department of State, which sanctioned a 610 office agent in 2021, responded by expressing its concern for Mr. Zhou’s safety and detainment.

Perpetrators’ contact information: 

Ren Yaohai (任耀海), prosecutor of Dongying District Court who indicted Mr. Zhou: +86-546-3012109

Zhang Ting (张婷), presiding judge of Dongying District Court in charge of Mr. Zhou’s case: +86-546-8265070, +86-15154638966

Ji Penghui (纪鹏辉), judge of Dongying District Court: +86-546-8265069, +86-15865455757

Yan Xiaohui (闫晓辉), judge of Dongying District Court: +86-546-7035198

Based on an original article by