Reported in January and February 2023: 624 Falun Gong Practitioners Arrested or Harassed
624 incidents of Falun Gong practitioners arrested or harassed for their faith were reported to the Minghui website in January and February 2023.
Among the 380 arrest cases, 2 took place in 2021, 144 were in 2022 and 234 happened in 2023. The 244 harassment incidents included 108 in 2022 and 136 in 2023. Due to strict information censorship in China, persecution cases can’t always be reported in a timely manner, nor is all information readily available.
The newly reported cases took place in 26 provinces and centrally-controlled municipalities. Shandong topped the list with a total of 100 combined arrest and harassment cases, followed by 84 cases in Jilin, 69 in Heilongjiang and 68 in Sichuan. Eleven other provinces also had double-digit cases and another eleven regions had single-digit cases.
109 of the targeted practitioners were 60 or older when they were arrested or harassed, including 32 practitioners in their 60s, 51 practitioners in their 70s, 25 practitioners in their 80s, and 1 practitioner in her 90s.
Some harassment took place prior to the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) annual meetings of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and the National People’s Congress (NPC), which commenced on March 4 and 5, respectively, and last for two weeks.
The police in Luzhou City, Sichuan Province began to harass local practitioners since late February. They took photos of the practitioners to prove that they had done their job to “visit” them. The officers also threatened the practitioners not to go out or talk to people about Falun Gong during the CCP meetings.
Below are a snapshot of select persecution cases in January and February 2023.
The Police’s Unscrupulously Threats
Ms. Han Yuzhen has been living in Shenyang City, Liaoning Province in the past few years to help care for her grandson. In her spare time, she went out to talk to people and raise awareness about the persecution of Falun Gong. While talking to a young woman on January 29, 2023, the woman secretly recorded her and reported her to the police. The police arrested Ms. Han moments later outside a supermarket and took her to the police station.
Police chief Ma sprayed pepper spray on Ms. Han’s eyes, face, and head. She felt her scalp and face burning and she couldn’t open her eyes.
When Ms. Han’s son went to the police station in the afternoon to seek her release, the police accused her of not cooperating with them and refused to release her, unless she admitted fault and renounced Falun Gong.
Chief Ma sprayed Ms. Han with the spicy water again in the afternoon and took her to the hospital for a physical examination. In the police car, Ma stepped on her head, neck and back. Due to her high blood pressure and rapid heartbeat, she was denied admission by the local lockup.
Before the police forced the lockup to take Ms. Han on January 31, she was sprayed with spicy water four times. Her blood pressure also reached a dangerously high level.
The lockup forcibly took Ms. Han’s photo and collected her fingerprints on February 1. She couldn’t turn her body while sleeping, due to the enormous pain in her neck and back. She also needed help when getting up.
Ms. Han had excessive bleeding in her nose on February 2. She felt nauseous and dizzy. Her blood pressure continued to increase. When Ma went there to check on her situation, he slapped her on the back of her head. He also threatened her after taking her to the hospital, “I will torture you to death and bury you here.”
The police then called Ms. Han’s family. Her husband and son were infuriated to see how weak she was. Her husband asked Ma, “Who gave you the right to beat people? You are violating the law yourself!”
Ms. Han suffered terrible pain in her back and had a bloated stomach. After the examination, the police carried her and took her back to the lockup. Her husband tried to stop them, but the police claimed that her detention hadn’t expired yet.
After they returned to the lockup, the guards refused to admit Ms. Han. Ma had to take her back to the hospital, where she was found to have a lumbar disc herniation. Only then did the police agree to release her on bail.
Outside of the hospital, the police intimidated Ms. Han’s son, saying that his father was insulting them and that they would arrest him if he did it again. Ms. Han’s son refuted the police, “My mother was perfectly healthy when she was arrested. Now she is almost paralyzed. If this happened to your mother, how would you feel?” Her son took her home shortly after.
The police in Changchun City, Jilin Province arrested 17 Falun Gong practitioners and their family members on the morning of February 19, 2023. Most of the practitioners had their homes ransacked and their Falun Gong books and informational materials confiscated. The police stayed at some practitioners’ homes, waiting to arrest more practitioners if they came to visit.
According to an insider, the police operation was ordered by the Changchun Political and Legal Affairs Committee, the 610 Office and Erdao District Domestic Security Office. Most of the practitioners had been monitored for months before the arrests. The police even installed surveillance cameras outside of Mr. Lu Jinhua’s home to monitor his daily activities and the practitioners he had contact with.
Mr. Wang Qixue was arrested while visiting Ms. Liu Xiaohua. When Mr. Wang’s son, who doesn’t practice Falun Gong, went to Ms. Liu’s home to look for his father in the afternoon, he was also arrested. The younger Mr. Wang has been released and his father was given ten days at the Weizigou Lockup.
Four officers broke into Ms. Zhang Chunjie’s home and arrested her and her husband. Their over 40 Falun Gong books, a photo of Falun Gong’s founder, informational materials, and a media player were confiscated. Ms. Zhang’s husband has been released.
Ms. Zhang Chunli’s husband was shocked to see seven officers standing outside of their home when he opened the door in the morning. The officers barged in and ransacked their home. Ms. Zhang was arrested and given ten days of detention.
Ms. Wang Min was arrested at work and her cellphone was confiscated. Several Falun Gong practitioners were taken away at the same time.
Other people who were arrested on the same day include Ms. Tang Xiaoyan, her mother and sister Ms. Tang Xiaohong (non-practitioner), Ms. Zhao Guizhi, Mr. Lu Jinhua’s sister, Ms. Liu, Zhang, Lian, and a male practitioner whose name is unknown.
Persecution of the Elderly
Since the onset of the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999, Mr. Guo Deyou, a former model worker in Tianjin, his wife, and their daughter have been repeatedly targeted. The total time they have been incarcerated adds up to 31.5 years.
Just months after their daughter Ms. Guo Chengru, 58, was released from serving a five-year term, they were harassed again while caring for her, who had become emaciated and was in a delirious state due to torture suffered in police custody.
On October 15, 2022, only two months following Ms. Guo’s release, her father Mr. Guo, 86, and his wife Ms. Han Yuxia were arrested while visiting another local practitioner. Over ten officers ransacked their home and confiscated their Falun Gong books, computer and printer.
The police showed up at the couple’s home again on December 5 and ordered Ms. Han to go to the Hexi District Court. She went there, only to be tried for her faith. Ms. Han refused to acknowledge the persecution.
The police came again on December 14 and announced to fine the couple 1,000 yuan each, because of the Falun Gong books found at their home in October. The couple refused to pay the fine.
Two officers harassed the couple again on February 13, 2023. They said that Mr. Guo had been placed on conditional bail and that he wasn’t allowed to leave Tianjin without the police’s permission. They also warned him not to have “illegal” items at home.
Mr. Guo questioned the police what was considered to be “illegal” items. One officer replied, “Cult.” Mr. Guo clarified that no law labels Falun Gong as a cult in China. The police accused him of not cooperating with them and threatened to report him to their supervisor.
A resident of Mudanjiang City, Heilongjiang Province, was arrested at the end of last year for her faith in Falun Gong. After Ms. Jiang Chunmei protested the persecution with a hunger strike, the police released her on bail three days later. She now stays at home to care for her elderly parents and is facing possible prosecution.
Ms. Jiang’s latest arrest came only six years after serving a 14-year term for her faith. Her husband and older son died while she was in prison.
Ms. Jiang, a former lecturer at the Foreign Language Department of Mudanjiang City Normal College, was arrested at home on December 18, 2022. The police ransacked her home and took away one laptop, three cellphones, one tablet, one printer, Falun Gong books, and 550 yuan in cash. She refused to sign any documents provided by the police.
The police forced Ms. Jiang to stand beside her bike and attempted to take her photo as evidence against her. She refused to comply and was forcibly carried into the police car while being blindfolded. An officer punched her nose and chest. For the purpose of processing her criminal detention, the police forced her to do a physical exam and take a COVID-19 vaccine. She went on a hunger strike and was released on bail three days later.
The police indicated during Ms. Jiang’s most recent arrest that they were seeking prosecution of her for her earlier arrest on March 27, 2020, for distributing Falun Gong informational materials. Back then, the police took away her house keys and ransacked the residence she shared with her parents. To avoid the persecution, Ms. Jiang lived away from home to hide from the police, only to be arrested again two years later.
Ms. Jiang and her husband, Mr. Jin Youfeng, were arrested on July 20, 1999, and detained for several days. When they refused to renounce their faith, the police transferred them to the Mudanjiang Detention Center before the mid-Autumn Festival (on September 24). They were detained there for 15 days.
Ms. Jiang was arrested again in March 2000 and placed on administrative detention for 15 days.
On June 22, 2000, Ms. Jiang was arrested and taken to the local detention center. She was placed in criminal detention, and released three months later. At that time, her husband was in a labor camp, leaving their 7-year-old son, Jin Luyi, alone at home.
Ms. Jiang and another practitioner were arrested in November 2001. Their cash and phones worth thousands of yuan were confiscated. The police refused to return their cash and phones when releasing them.
Ms. Jiang and her husband were arrested on October 22, 2003. Mr. Jin was sentenced to 13 years in the Mudanjiang Prison; Ms. Jiang was given 14 years in Heilongjiang Women’s Prison. At that time, their second son, Jin Panpan, was only 15 months old.
Mr. Jin was tortured brutally in the prison. He was beaten, hung up, locked in solitary confinement, exposed to the freezing weather, starved, force-fed, and shocked with electric batons on his private parts. He later suffered from severe tuberculosis but was only released on medical parole ten months later in June 2008.
The couple’s eldest son was in his 20s when Mr. Jin was released. Despite knowing that tuberculosis is highly contagious, he took care of his father day and night. Shortly after Mr. Jin passed away on January 21, 2009, his son also lost his life to the infection. He was only 23.
Ms. Jiang was fired from her job after she was released. She moved to Longjiang County in Qiqihar City in 2018 to care for her parents and did odd jobs to make a living.