In March and April, Falun Gong practitioners in China documented 1,320 cases and relayed them to the overseas Minghui website, which reviewed, verified and published the accounts. The targeted practitioners came from all walks of life and included a college professor, a government employee, a former music teacher, and an artist. Compared to 624 total arrest and harassment incidents reported in January and February 2023, the 1,320 cases newly reported in March and April represented a 116% increase. The uptick was likely triggered by two events deemed sensitive by the Chinese Communist Party—its annual political meetings in March and the 24th anniversary of a peaceful demonstration by 10,000 practitioners that took place on April 25, 1999. During the so-called “sensitive days,” the authorities often intensified the surveillance and harassment of practitioners, in an attempt to prevent them from exposing the persecution to the public, including talking to people in person, distributing materials, or posting information online. Approximately 217 practitioners were 60 or older when they were arrested or harassed, including 55 practitioners in their 60s, 112 practitioners in their 70s, 41 practitioners in their 80s, and 9 practitioners in their 90s. The newly-reported cases took place in 23 provinces and 4 centrally-controlled municipalities (Beijing, Chongqing, Shanghai, and Tianjin). Jilin reported the most combined cases (268) of arrest and harassment incidents, followed by 214 in Shangdong, 106 in Liaoning, and 102 in Hubei. Harassment Leading Up to Sensitive Dates Both of China’s legislative bodies, the National People’s Congress (NPC) and its top political advisory body, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), hold their annual meetings (aka “Two Sessions”) around the same time every year. This year’s CPPCC meeting began on March 4, and the NPC meeting started on March 5. Falun Gong practitioners across China were harassed prior to these “Two Sessions.” From as early as February, police in Luzhou City, Sichuan Province ordered Falun Gong practitioners not to go out or talk to people about Falun Gong during the "Two Sessions.” Local practitioners including Mr. Shi Bangcai, Ms. Tang Xuzhen, Mr. Deng Shimin, Ms. Li Yulan, and Ms. Peng Gongshu were harassed. The police station joined forced with the residential committee, and a top-down order was given to take photos of practitioners they visited. Since the authorities couldn't find Ms. Peng Gongshu after she moved, her ID was revoked to prevent her from traveling. Other notable harassment cases prior to the "Two Sessions' were reported in Shandong Province, Hubei Province, and Beijing. Mr. Qin Wei, an artist in Beijing, was harassed at home three times in April before the anniversary of “April 25 Appeal.” The police took his photos and sometimes called him late at night. Another Beijing resident, Mr. He Xingguo, was monitored by the authorities around the clock during both the “two sessions” in March and three days between April 24 and 26. In Shanghai, a plainclothes officer approached local resident Ms. Pei Shanzhen and demanded to confirm her identity when she went to pay respects to her ancestors during the Tomb Sweeping Festival on April 9, 2023. The residential committee staff members knocked on her door several times on April 22. They said that they were going to monitor her daily life for the next four days, until the April 25 appeal anniversary passed. Other harassment incidents related to the “April 25 Appeal” anniversary were also reported in Anhui Province, and Shandong Province. Three Highlighted Cases Mother of Ireland Resident After Being Suspected of Distributing Information Ms. Cen Hua, a retired associate professor at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, was seized by the police on April 14, 2023, because she was suspected of distributing Falun Gong information. Her 88-year-old mother with Alzheimer’s was also taken to the police station and held there briefly. Ireland resident Ms. Li Songyuan Ms. Cen’s daughter, Ms. Li Songyuan, who currently lives in Ireland, held a press conference in front of the Chinese Consulate on April 17, 2023, calling for the immediate release of her mother. Mr. Richard Boyd Barrett, a member of one of Ireland’s three political parties, attended the press conference and said he supported Ms. Li’s efforts. Mr. Barrett said that the persecution of a group of peaceful cultivators highlighted the true and evil nature of the CCP. He demanded that the CCP immediately release Professor Cen Hua and put an immediate end to the brutal persecution of millions of Falun Dafa practitioners. Shanghai Woman Arrested a Sixth Time for Her Faith A Shanghai resident about to board a train was stopped by railroad police and had her bag searched on April 4, 2023. The police arrested Ms. Ying Yu after discovering a flash-drive with information about Falun Gong. Her home was ransacked later in the day and she has since been held at the Changning District Detention Center. Ms. Ying Yu This is the sixth time that Ms. Ying, around 50, has been arrested for her faith in Falun Gong. Shortly after the onset of the persecution in 1999, Ms. Ying was arrested for going to Beijing to appeal for the right to practice Falun Gong and given a two-year labor camp term. She was also arrested once in 2006, multiple times in 2008 around the Beijing Summer Olympics, and once in 2017. 26-year-old Woman Arrested and Interrogated for Talking to People about Falun Gong A 26-year-old woman in Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province who had taken up Falun Gong not long ago was arrested on February 20, 2023, while talking to people about her faith. Torture illustration: Tiger bench The police tied Ms. Zhang Jue onto a tiger bench torture device, beamed very bright light into her eyes, and interrogated her for the entire night without allowing her to sleep. They took her to the hospital the next day for a physical examination and obtained a blood sample from her against her will. Three officers took her back to where she was arrested and took photos of her to be used as evidence. Ms. Zhang was released on February 27, after being held at the Yongyang Police Station for seven days. Based on an original Minghui article.