September and October 2022: 2,054 Falun Gong Practitioners Arrested or Harassed for Their Faith
2,054 incidents of Falun Gong practitioners being arrested or harassed for their faith were reported in September and October 2022.
Of the 2,054 newly-reported incidents, 659 were arrests, including 34 cases in 2021, 248 between January and August 2022, and 377 in September and October 2022. The 1,395 harassment cases included 8 in 2021, 310 from January to August 2022, and 1,077 between September and October 2022.
The newly-confirmed cases brought the total number of arrests and harassment reported in the first ten months of the year to 3,127 and 3,462, respectively. Due to strict information censorship in China, these incidents are often not reported in a timely manner, nor is further information readily available.
The Chinese Communist Party’s 20th Party Congress was held between October 16 and 22, 2022. As a result, the number of arrests and incidents of harassment of Falun Gong practitioners began to increase months before, beginning in July. Compared to the combined arrest and harassment cases in June (564), the total recorded cases in July (1,039) almost doubled. Between July and October, a total of 2,202 harassment cases were confirmed, which was 1.74 times the number of 1,260 incidents reported in the first half of the year.
Among the newly-confirmed cases of persecution in September and October 2022, six provinces registered triple-digit cases, including Hebei (441), Shandong (295), Sichuan (188), Heilongjiang (184), Jilin (139), and Hubei (139). Eighteen other provinces or municipalities had cases in the double-digits and three regions had single-digit cases. The location of one harassment case wasn’t known.
A total of 211 of the targeted practitioners were 60 or older at the time their cases were confirmed, including 62 in their 60s, 101 in their 70s, 44 in their 80s, and 4 in their 90s. Many of the practitioners were professionals, including government agency directors, professors, doctors, an engineer, and an interior designer.
From northern provinces such as Liaoning, Jilin, and Hebei, to municipalities including Beijing, Shanghai, and Chongqing, as well as southwestern provinces including Sichuan and Yunnan, the authorities harassed Falun Gong practitioners by ordering them to stay home, sign statements to renounce their faith, or taking them to brainwashing centers in the months leading up to the 20th Party Congress.
During most of the harassment incidents, the police took photos of the practitioners against their will. If the targeted practitioners were not home, the police took photos of their family members instead, as well as the exterior of their homes.
Some officers tore down Falun Gong decorations at the practitioners’ homes. Some deceived the practitioners by saying that they came to check their Health Code (an e-passport type of application that tracks one’s travel history and potential exposure to COVID-19), but left without checking those of family members.
When practitioners refused to comply, authorities threatened to take away jobs, pensions, and the future of their children and grandchildren. This brought tremendous mental distress to practitioner families and caused much discord.
In Shanghai, the authorities arranged for officers to stay outside practitioners’ homes to monitor their daily activities beginning in late September.
Modern Day Surveillance
The Chinese Communist Party launched the cellphone app “Health Code” in early 2020, claiming it was to track COVID-19. However, many human rights experts expressed concerns that the app would be used as a surveillance tool for the authorities to target dissidents and faith groups.
In one recent case, a Falun Gong practitioner in Shuangliu County, Sichuan Province, reported that she was harassed by the police, who arbitrarily turned her “Health Code” from green to yellow and forced her to sign a statement promising not to be against the Party.
Ms. Li Caiqiong, 59, went to visit a friend at her tailor shop on the afternoon of September 28, 2022. Not long after, someone called her name from outside and said, “Your health code is now yellow. The government requires you to have the COVID-19 DNA test. If you don’t, your code will turn red.”
Li came out and saw it was Luo Long, the director of the local residential community. She suspected that Luo had found her with the location tracking function of the “Health Code” app. Li refused to go with Luo but Luo and another young official forced Li into their car and took her to the hospital anyways.
After the test, Li was unable to go home but was instead forcibly taken to the Dongsheng Police Station. Not long after, three officials came and introduced themselves as members of the Chengdu City Political and Legal Affairs Committee, an extra-judiciary agency tasked with overseeing the persecution of Falun Gong.
Li maintained that she wouldn’t renounce Falun Gong or sign any of their documents. The officers said, “We don’t care if you just practice it at home. But if you talk about politics, we will go after you. We have a document for you to sign. There are two major requirements. The first one is that you can’t oppose the Communist Party or communism. The second requirement is that you can’t read books such as the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party or Disintegrating the Communists Party Culture. And you are not allowed to participate in any Falun Gong activities.”
After half an hour, the police took Li to the residential committee’s office and attempted to force her to sign the documents. When she insisted that she would not sign, the officers grabbed her hands and pressed her fingerprints onto the documents. They next seized her keys from her purse and confiscated her Falun Gong books and other related materials from her home.
Ms. Kong Qingping of Dalian City, Liaoning Province, was arrested on October 22, 2022, after being forced to live away from home for over a year to avoid persecution for her faith in Falun Gong. She is now being held at the Yaojia Detention Center and denied family visits.
Ms. Kong’s daughter, Ms. Liu Zhitong, who currently resides in San Francisco, USA, joined a rally in front of the Chinese Consulate on November 3, 2022, demanding the immediate release of her mother.
Liu said that she and her family are very worried about her mother. She also has trouble falling asleep every night because as soon as she closes her eyes, her mother’s smiling face appears in front of her. She said the weather in Dalian is very cold now, but because the authorities did not allow the family to visit her, they do not know if she has warm clothes to wear in the detention center.
Having Been Wrongfully Sentenced, Forced to Divorce, and Suffered the Loss of Her Mother, Woman Harassed Again for Her Faith
After growing up witnessing her mother’s repeated arrests and detention for refusing to renounce Falun Gong, Ms. Tian Lili found herself in the same bleak situation years later for sharing the same faith.
Ms. Tian, a 42-year-year-old Fushun City, Liaoning Province, resident, was arrested on August 23, 2018, and later sentenced to 1.5 years. Her then-husband, Mr. Lu Guofeng, who did not practice Falun Gong, was also arrested and detained for a month.
The police continued to harass Tian after she was released. Her parents-in-law fell ill due to the harassment and Tian’s daughter was also harassed at school. To protect his family from being implicated, Lu was forced to divorce Tian.
The mental pressure from the persecution took a toll on the health of Tian’s mother, Ms. Liu Xiuqin. She passed away on January 23, 2022, at the age of 68. After she died, Tian’s father, who has been traumatized by her repeated arrests and home raids over the years and developed a severe heart condition, kept a distance from Tian. When Tian was arrested again on April 7, 2022, for talking to people about Falun Gong, the police ransacked her father’s home, and he suffered a heart attack.
Tian was harassed again in October 2022, prior to the CCP’s 20th Party Congress.
Mr. Huang Yongchang, a retired professor from the Institute of Theoretical Physics at Beijing University of Technology, was arrested at home on October 11, 2022. He is being held in the Chaoyang District Detention Center in Beijing and denied family visits.
Huang worked for more than 20 years and trained more than 30 masters and doctoral students. However, since the persecution began in 1999, he has been arrested three times and his promotion to full professor was delayed for six years.
Huang’s son, Mr. Huang Changyu, a San Francisco resident, is calling on the CCP to release his father.
Based on an original report from Minghui.org