Reported in the First Half of 2022: 2,707 Falun Gong Practitioners Arrested or Harassed for Their Faith
According to information collected by Minghui.org, 2,707 incidents of Falun Gong practitioners being arrested or harassed for their faith were reported in the first half of 2022.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999. Countless practitioners have been arrested, harassed, sentenced, and tortured for upholding their faith. But due to strict information censorship in China, the persecution cases can’t always be reported in a timely manner, nor is all the information readily available.
Among the 1,447 arrests reported, nine took place in 2020, 245 in 2021, and 1,193 in 2022. Of the 1,260 harassment incidents, one was in 2020, 241 in 2021, and 1,018 in 2022. A total of 662 practitioners remain in custody and 943 had their homes ransacked.
Weeks ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics in February 2022, the authorities especially targeted practitioners in Beijing and Zhangjiakou City, two of the three zones to host the snow sports, to prevent them from speaking out about China’s human rights abuses during the games.
Other cases of harassment were reported prior to the Party Congress in Shanghai, held between June 25 and 27.
The targeted practitioners came from 28 provinces and municipalities. Shandong (418), Sichuan (323), Hebei (297), Heilongjiang (222) and Hubei (200) reported the most combined cases of arrests and harassment. Jilin, Liaoning, and Hunan also reported triple digit cases. Eighteen other regions had double-digit cases.
The practitioners came from all walks of life, including college professors, police officers, company managers, teachers, doctors, accountants, and bank employees. A total of 399 practitioners, 241 arrested and 158 harassed, were 60 and above, with three practitioners in their 90s.
While the “Zero-out” harassment campaign targeting every practitioner on the government’s blacklist that was started at the height of the pandemic has slowed down in 2022, practitioners are actually being treated worse than ever, and some practitioners have died hours or days after their arrests. One woman died two hours after her arrest and another 14 hours later. A third woman died three days after being arrested and another one eight days. Two more practitioners were traumatized by the latest harassment and passed away shortly after.
Other practitioners also reported being beaten by the police following their arrests, resulting in serious injuries, including fractures, bruising, and swelling.
After a practitioner was assaulted by the same man twice in two months while distributing Falun Gong materials, the police let the assailant go and interrogated the practitioner instead.
The authorities also disrupted the practitioners’ daily lives, including breaking into a female practitioner’s bedroom in the middle of the night to arrest her, covering some practitioners’ peepholes on their doors and their security cameras, as well as cutting off power and Internet to their homes. Some practitioners reported that the authorities set up surveillance cameras around their homes to monitor them.
In Guangdong Province, the police changed the lock on an 84-year-old woman’s door without her consent. When she was forced to live away from home to avoid being persecuted, the authorities kept calling her neighbors and asking if she had returned.
In some cases, the authorities used the pandemic as an excuse to arrest or harass the practitioners, claiming they needed to check their coronavirus test results or give them vaccinations. While arresting six practitioners in Hebei Province for reading Falun Gong books together, the police said, “We’re in a pandemic, and you are violating the law by having an illegal gathering.”
In addition to the local police and residential committees that have been on the front lines in carrying out the persecution policies, the general public was also mobilized to report on the practitioners. In the first half of 2022, a teacher deceived a practitioner’s son into telling her their address, claiming she needed to make a home visit, and the former tenants of another practitioner reported on her for telling them about Falun Gong.
Examples of the various kinds of cases of persecution reported in the first half of 2022 are presented below:
88-year-old Woman Dies Two Hours Following Arrest
An 88-year-old woman in Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province, died two hours following her arrest on April 13, 2022, for practicing Falun Gong. The police prevented her family from ordering an independent autopsy and withheld the death certificate. Her body is being held in a funeral home.
Ms. Cui Jinshi was reading a Falun Gong book at home on April 13, 2022, when several officers broke in and arrested her. Two officers dragged Ms. Cui from her apartment on the second floor to the ground floor. Then they suddenly let go and she fell down.
At 5:45 p.m., Ms. Cui’s son, Mr. Piao Hu, got a call from the police telling him his mother had been taken to the 242 Hospital emergency room. Moments after he arrived, the doctor pronounced Ms. Cui dead. Mr. Piao went into the operating room and saw his mother’s body. Her face was pale, her throat was cut open, and she was only wearing one shoe.
The police ordered a local funeral home to take Ms. Cui’s body away and didn’t allow her family to see her until two days later. Nearly four months after Ms. Cui’s death, her body was still in the funeral home. Because the police refused to provide her death certificate and other paperwork, the family is unable to order an independent autopsy or even have her cremated so that she can rest in peace. (Link)
Authorities Monitor Man after Release from 7-Year Prison Term
By the time Mr. Zhou Xiangyang finished serving seven years in prison, he had become so weak that he couldn’t get out of a car on his own. The Tianjin resident now lives with his parents in Matuo Village, Changli County, Hebei Province, yet the authorities still won’t leave him alone. To continue monitoring him, they installed 12 surveillance cameras around the homes of his parents and brother and the parents of his sister-in-law, who all live in the same village. Authorities also stop cars coming in and going out of the village every day to question them.
Mr. Zhou, a former modern cost engineer, went on a years-long hunger strike that started on the day of his arrest on March 2, 2015, and continued until he was released on March 1, 2022. At one point his organs failed, but he survived and returned home alive.
In Binhai Prison in Tianjin, the guards subjected Mr. Zhou to disgusting forms of torture and sexual abuse. Guards shocked him with electric batons and sprayed his eyes with pepper spray. They also instigated inmates to torture and sexually assault him, including pinching his nipples, squeezing his genitals, putting their fingers in his anus, plucking his eyelashes, smashing his fingernails, pushing in his rib cage, prying out his teeth, and force-feeding him urine. (Link)
Detained Art Teacher Denied Family Visits
An art teacher in Shijiazhuang City, Hebei Province, has been detained incommunicado since her arrest on January 23, 2022, for practicing Falun Gong.
Ms. Pu Xingchi, around 45, earned a degree in fine arts at Hebei Normal University and became an art teacher at Qingyun Art School after graduation. She was arrested at home on January 23 while teaching an online class. The police harassed her prior to the arrest.
Ms. Pu is being held in the Panlonghu Hotel, but her elderly parents and daughter, who is in her early 20s, haven’t been allowed to visit her yet. The police are also monitoring her daughter, who is attending college in Tianjin. (Link)
Heilongjiang Woman Faces Prosecution after Being Reported by Her Former Tenants for Telling Them about Falun Gong
Ms. Sun Tairong, a 52-year-old Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province resident, was arrested on January 20, 2022, after being reported by her two former tenants for talking to them about Falun Gong. The two young men had rented her apartment in preparation for civil service exams required for government jobs, the most steady jobs in China with a decent income.
Thinking that it wasn’t easy for the younger generation to start their careers, Ms. Sun offered her tenants many additional services, including providing free high-speed WiFi and waiving the early termination fee if they decided to move out before their lease expired.
During their stay Ms. Sun told the tenants about how she had benefited from practicing Falun Gong and that it should not be persecuted. The two young men reported her to the Nangang District Political and Legal Affairs Committee, an extra-judiciary agency tasked with overseeing the persecution of Falun Gong. The police followed Ms. Sun for a period of time and then arrested her.
The police interrogated Ms. Sun for 53 hours following her arrest and ordered her family to persuade her to give up Falun Gong. She refused to give in and also asked her family not to blame the two young men for reporting her.
Ms. Sun is now in the Yaziquan Detention Center. The authorities have prevented her lawyer from visiting her, citing the pandemic as an excuse. Her arrest was approved on February 16 and she is now facing prosecution. (Link)