Surveillance State Victims, Show Trials, Canada Apology

Map of reported cases of Falun Gong detentions involving surveillance cameras from November 2022 to November 2023.

Map of reported cases of Falun Gong detentions involving surveillance cameras from November 2022 to November 2023.

Dear Reader,

China’s over 400 million surveillance cameras are zooming in on Falun Gong practitioners. Analysis of reported cases from across China shows that the cameras have played a significant role in detaining and sentencing dozens of practitioners over the past year—a trend that is likely to increase as the cameras proliferate and are paired with high-tech surveillance software. Such pervasive surveillance is facilitating the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) ability to crackdown on religious practice and dissent, according to an article by Falun Dafa Information Center researcher Nick Haley. 

In other news:

  • Shandong Province officials held a wave of show trials ahead of the EU-China summit

  • Chinese security forces breached patient privacy to collect evidence against a Falun Gong doctor

  • A retiree in Canada received an apology four years after a Dragon Boat Festival organizer asked him to remove his Falun Gong shirt

Lastly, Falun Dafa Information Center researcher Cynthia Sun sat down with young Falun Gong activists for a panel at Harvard University. The panelists discussed Beijing’s influence on U.S. university campuses and shared accounts of interference they have run into during their studies.


Levi Browde, Executive Director
Falun Dafa Information Center


Vision Times: The Latest Victims of China’s Surveillance State
Map of reported cases of Falun Gong detentions involving surveillance cameras from November 2022 to November 2023. (Image: Nick Haley)

What’s new?

Video surveillance has played a significant role in the detention and sentencing of dozens of Falun Gong practitioners over the past year, according to analysis of reports from Minghui, an overseas Falun Gong website that publishes first-hand accounts from citizen journalists across China, and other sources.

High-tech surveillance has swelled in China over the past two decades, but its expansion accelerated at an even faster pace during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s not a question of ‘double the surveillance.’ I can tell you that there are now at least four times the number of cameras, compared to pre-pandemic levels,” a Falun Gong practitioner who left Shaanxi Province in 2023 told the Falun Dafa Information Center. “In the smaller communities, they have added surveillance to areas that did not have them previously. On one pole at any street intersection, there has to be a camera for each angle.


Such pervasive surveillance across China is facilitating the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) ability to crackdown on religious practice and dissent. From November 2022 to November 2023, 54 Falun Gong practitioners are known to have been detained after being caught by cameras engaging in peaceful practice of their belief or information dissemination—16 of them have already been sentenced to prison terms up to 5.5 years. The cases occurred in 25 cities throughout 15 provinces and municipalities and are likely only be the tip of the iceberg.

Why does it matter?

The increased use of surveillance cameras enables the CCP to identify, detain, and sentence greater numbers of Falun Gong practitioners participating in grassroots activism. As the CCP continues to expand its arsenal of cameras across the country, the number of Falun Gong practitioners detected via these tools is likely to increase. Once detained, activists are at high risk of abuse in custody, long-term detention, and even forced organ harvesting.

What’s more, these cameras and the surveillance software they connect to are becoming more sophisticated as they proliferate. Last December, surveillance research firm IPVM discovered alarms in Chinese smart policing software by Hikvision that alerts security forces of Falun Gong practitioners, protestors, and other religious believers in a given area.

What else do you need to know?

In the 54 cases observed, some form of information sharing was the primary reason for detection. On May 5, 2023, police officers in Xi’an broke into the home of Ms. Jia Ying, arrested her, and confiscated her Falun Gong books. According to Minghui, several guards took her into a small room and beat her before leaving her handcuffed for a week. Why? Surveillance cameras detected Ms. Jia distributing leaflets around her city, China’s ancient capital with a population of over 8 million.

The leaflets Ms. Jia was arrested for distributing are part of Falun Gong practitioner’s broader information campaign. This awareness raising generally addresses four key areas: debunking demonizing CCP propaganda about Falun Gong, exposing the rights abuses perpetrated against practitioners, contextualizing the persecution within the Party’s history of atrocities, and encouraging people to quit the CCP­­­, distancing themselves from its crimes.

Read More


Wave of Falun Gong Show Trials Ahead of EU-China Summit Includes Father of Berlin Resident

From November 28 to December 6, 23 Falun Gong practitioners in Shandong Province were scheduled for show trials in Wulian County People’s Court. The practitioners were among approximately 70 Falun Gong believers who were detained in a mass arrest ahead of World Falun Dafa Day, the anniversary of Falun Gong’s introduction, in May 2023. One of the individuals tried was Mr. Ding Yuande, who was arrested with his wife, Ma Ruimei, in the early morning on May 12 on their tea farm outside of Rizhao City.

The couple are the parents of Mr. Ding Lebin, a law student in Berlin, Germany. Since his parents’ arrest, Lebin has traveled across Europe advocating for their release. Due to Lebin’s efforts, multiple NGOs and parliamentarians have joined in his call, writing letters to CCP officials. Lebin’s mother was thus released on bail, but the verdict of his father’s trial is still unknown. Ahead of the European Union-China Summit, Lebin and others called for the European Union to act. In a statement released the day before his father’s trial, the Society for Threatened Peoples said it demands the European Union and, in particular, the German Federal Government, to bring about concrete sanctions – including measures of criminal prosecution against individuals and companies participating in the decades-long crimes against Falun Gong practitioners.”

Read More


Fujian Province: Chinese Medicine Doctor Sentenced to 5.5 Years

A renowned doctor of Chinese medicine, Dr. Li Jianxi, was sentenced to 5.5 years and fined 50,000 yuan (approx. 7,000 USD) on November 23, 2023. Police arrested him in June 2022, as well as his family members, staff at his medical clinic, and two patients who have since been released. Following the arrests, police raided his clinic. They went through patient medical records and phoned patients, asking if Dr. Li had given them Falun Gong materials, such as flyers about the persecution practitioners face. 

Read More


Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival Apologizes for Telling Man to Remove Falun Gong Shirt

The Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival finally apologized to an attendee, Gerry Smith, after the festival’s CEO asked Mr. Smith to remove his Falun Gong shirt in 2019. At the time of the incident, the Chinese embassy was a “gold sponsor” of the event. Four years later, the festival posted a statement on its website that said it “apologizes to Mr. Smith for asking him to remove his Falun Dafa shirt. The Festival has a policy of equity, inclusion and diversity and welcomes all attendees from every race, religion, ethnicity and creed. All people, including Falun Gong practitioners, are welcome to the Festival.” The apology comes just two months after Falun Gong practitioners in Canada released a report exposing the CCP’s transnational repression campaign in the country.

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HAVE YOU READ THIS? “Torture Is Breaking Falun Gong”

This groundbreaking 2001 investigative report by John Pomfret and Philip P. Pan in the Washington Post unveils the implementation of a three-pronged approach to “break” Falun Gong practitioners: violence, brainwashing, and propaganda. A CCP advisor told the authors, “Each aspect of the campaign is critical,” he said. “Pure violence doesn’t work. Just studying doesn’t work either. And none of it would be working if the propaganda hadn’t started to change the way the general public thinks. You need all three. That’s what they’ve figured out.” Indeed, the two reporters also relayed the first-hand account of a Falun Gong practitioner who was targeted by this multi-prong strategy and tortured.

Read More
Beijing's Influence on American University Campuses: The Falun Gong Case Study and Beyond
1h 15m

At a November 3 event hosted by Students for Falun Gong at Harvard University, panelists discussed Beijing’s influence on college campuses across the United States. Falun Dafa Information Center researcher Cynthia Sun shared the findings of the Center’s report Surveillance, Slander, and Censorship. The report examines the presence of Falun Gong practitioners and clubs on dozens of university campuses across the United States, and the various ways in which the CCP’s persecution of Falun Gong impacts campus events, student experiences, and textbooks used in Chinese-language courses. Sitting on the panel with Cynthia, young Falun Gong activists from universities in Pennsylvania and Illinois shared stories of harassment that have faced while advocating for Falun Gong or organizing events critical of the CCP on campus.  

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What’s the Real Story
of Falun Gong?

From ancient roots extending back

thousands of years, to a house-hold name

in China during the qigong boom in the 1990s,

to the largest grassroots civil disobedience
movement in the world, this is

the complete story of Falun Gong…

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