Liu Zhiming’s Home Raid, Arrest, and Sentencing

Mr. Liu Zhiming, 51, with his nine-year-old son (credit: Minghui)

Mr. Liu Zhiming, 51, with his nine-year-old son (credit: Minghui)

Liu Zhiming was sentenced to three years and six months in prison with a 10,000-yuan fine (approximately 1380 USD) on April 22, 2024 for practicing Falun Gong, an ancient Chinese spiritual practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party since 1999. Mr. Liu’s sentence expires on May 15, 2027. 

Liu Zhiming, a 51-year-old man born in November 1973, was a postal courier and ride-share driver from Kunming City, Yunnan Province, before he transitioned to staying at home full-time to care for his autistic sister and nine-year-old son (who is in elementary school). Liu Zhiming’s family consists of four people (including himself): his autistic sister (for whom Mr. Liu is full-time caretaker), his son, and his wife. Mr. Liu’s parents both previously passed away. 

Cheng Yun, Mr. Liu’s wife, provided the sole source of income for the family of four with her babysitting job, which she lost as a result of Mr. Liu’s sentence. Ms. Cheng is currently searching for another job while caring for her son full-time and trying to release her sister-in-law from the mental hospital to which she was forcibly taken on the day of Liu Zhiming’s arrest. 

During and immediately after Mr. Liu’s arrest on November 16, 2023, his wife was illegally interrogated at the Jinbi Police Station. Without her knowledge, Ms. Cheng’s deposition was used against her husband as prosecution evidence. 

On November 16, 2023, at approximately 7 a.m., several officers from the Jinbi Police Station broke into and raided Mr. Liu’s home and seized his personal property, including his, his son’s, and his wife’s cell phones. Both Mr. Liu’s son and sister witnessed the home raid and his arrest, as documented on Minghui and Weiquanwang (Rights Protection Network). 

The police officers took Mr. Liu to the Xishan District Detention Center in Kunming City, where he was detained for seven days, until his arrest was approved on November 22, 2023. Soon after Mr. Liu’s case was submitted to the Xishan District Procuratorate, he was indicted, and his case forwarded to the Xishan District Court. 

Mr. Liu’s trial was held on April 19, 2024 at the Xishan District Court. It was set to begin at 9:30 a.m. Twenty minutes before the trial was arranged to start, at around 9:10 a.m. on April 19, the defense lawyer that Ms. Cheng had hired to represent Mr. Liu was rejected by the court. The court’s claim was that Mr. Liu’s legal representation was rejected due to a vague notion of “special status.” 

Wife Arrested and Illegally Interrogated Under False Pretenses, Held at Police Station All Day

Cheng Yun, Liu Zhiming’s wife, was born in September 1985, and is now 39 years old. On the day of Mr. Liu’s arrest, at around 7 a.m. on November 16, 2023, at the same moment that police were raiding his house, Ms. Cheng received a phone call from an unknown number. The caller claimed he was a representative from the local bureau of education, initially inquiring about Ms. Cheng’s son’s absence from school. Ms. Cheng, who received the early morning call at the home of her client, where she worked as a live-in babysitter, did not have access to her son’s whereabouts (although she knew he was ill with a fever) and thus told the caller to contact her husband, Mr. Liu, who should be at home with their son. Afraid of disturbing her employer’s family, who was still asleep, Ms. Cheng did not pick up the phone when the unknown number attempted to contact her again shortly after the first call. 

Just minutes after Ms. Cheng received the two phone calls, seven officers appeared at her client’s family home, only two of whom were dressed in police uniforms. One of them cursorily took out an ID and flashed it before immediately putting it in his pocket, leaving Ms. Cheng unable to discern his identity. Just like the unknown callers, the people who knocked on Ms. Cheng’s client’s door claimed to be representatives from the local education bureau, visiting under the pretense of concern about her son’s presence in school. 

Ms. Cheng was thus illegally lured to the Jinbi Police Station by officers who professed to care about her child’s education and claimed that her son had been taken to school by a teacher. The officers also told her they had a form that required her signature, alluding to the welfare of her autistic sister-in-law and alleging to care about reducing the family burden by sending the sister-in-law to a nursing home. 

Upon arriving at the Jinbi Police Station, Ms. Cheng was taken to an interrogation room, where she was questioned in three phases by two officers, both of whom did not reveal their identities. During the first phase of illegal interrogation, the officers continued under the false pretenses which tricked Ms. Cheng into going to the police station. 

The officers claimed that they wanted to help integrate Mr. Liu into the workforce and find psychiatric help for his autistic sister. Additionally, they maintained that it was illegal for Mr. Liu’s and Ms. Cheng’s son to miss school. Professing to care about the welfare and wellbeing of the family, the first hours of interrogation were about the child’s school attendance, Mr. Liu’s employment status, and the psychological state of Mr. Liu’s sister. 

Towards the end of this first interrogation phase, the questions transformed into intrusive queries about Mr. Liu’s daily activities and usual interactions. Ms. Cheng replied truthfully, sharing that her husband spent his days at home, taking care of his autistic sister and nine-year-old son. The babysitting job that the police officers intruded upon, from which they lured Ms. Cheng into the station under false pretenses, was the family’s sole source of income. 

Several hours later, during the second phase of interrogation, the same set of two officers began questioning Ms. Cheng about her husband’s practice of Falun Gong. Her son’s absence from school, the original grounds for the questioning, was not mentioned during this stage of interrogation. The police officers selectively recorded her statements, disregarding context, in a transcript which they forced her to sign. 

After yet another hours-long wait, the two officers reentered for a third phase of interrogation. At this time, they asked Ms. Cheng further questions about Falun Gong and forced her to sign a guarantee promising three things, only two of which she remembers: (1) she must ensure that her son attends school every day, and (2) her son is forbidden from practicing Falun Gong until he turns 18 years old. 

It was around 9 p.m. on November 16, 2023 when Ms. Cheng was finally released from the Jinbi Police Station. Just prior to her release, she was forced to sign a summons. During the course of her illegal interrogation, it was never made clear what the true reasons for the questioning were (while being held at the station all day she had no idea that her husband was being arrested), nor were the identities of the interrogating police officers revealed to Ms. Cheng. At a later date, Ms. Cheng learned that one of the police officers was Liu Wang, but on the day that started with the 7 a.m. unknown phone call at her client’s home, she was completely in the dark. 

Wife Returns Home to Two Community Staff Members Watching Her Son 

Upon arriving home at around 9 p.m. after the interrogation, Ms. Cheng returned home to find two residential committee staffers and her son, but no sign of her husband or Mr. Liu’s sister. Her son reported, contrary to the police officer’s remarks, that he had not gone to school that day. Instead, he had witnessed the raid of his home, the loss and confiscation of his family’s personal belongings, the arrest of his father, and the kidnapping of his aunt. After his father’s arrest, he had been “accompanied” by two community staff members for the rest of the day while his mother was being interrogated. 

Autistic Sister Taken to Psychiatric Hospital Against Her Will, Wife Fired

Mr. Liu’s sister, who suffers from autism and is incapable of taking care of herself, was sent to a mental hospital by community staff members while her brother and Ms. Cheng were at the Xishan District Detention Center and Jinbi Police Station respectively. When Ms. Cheng confronted the residential committee staffers about her sister-in-law’s capture, they claimed that she voluntarily went to the psychiatric hospital. When Ms. Cheng spoke to her sister-in-law a week later, she discovered that she could not stand it at the hospital and wanted to return home. However, in order to be released from the mental hospital, according to the attending physician, three parties must sign paperwork approving of Mr. Liu’s sister’s discharge: Jinbi Police Station, the residential committee, and an unknown government agency. 

From Hua’s Perspective

Additionally, upon returning home after a full day of interrogation, Ms. Cheng discovered that the police had contacted her sister Hua (alias), falsely claiming that Ms. Cheng and her entire family (Mr. Liu, Ms. Cheng and Mr. Liu’s son, and Mr. Liu’s sister) were at the police station. Hua went to the Jinbi Police Station three times, wanting to see her sister and her sister’s family, but was not given further information by the officers, who refused to let her see anyone. 

Bereft of Legal Representation at the Last Minute, Wife’s Illegal Interrogation Transcript Used Against Mr. Liu 

During a final statement submitted to the Public Security Bureau, Ms. Cheng responds to the illegal interrogation by the Jinbi Police Station. In her statement, she expresses how her witness testimony records, used in the case against her husband, should be considered invalid as they were produced under threat, inducement, and deception. As such, the so-called transcript of her illegal interrogation should be considered illegal evidence. The framing of Ms. Cheng as a witness against her own husband, Mr. Liu, only acts as a testament to the police’s illegal summons and interrogation.