Younger Son Persecuted to Death for Faith, Elderly Father Calls for Older Son’s Release

Having lost his younger son to the persecution of Falun Gong in 2007, an elderly father in Yushu City, Jilin Province was devastated when his older son was arrested again on November 12, 2020, for his shared faith. The 48-year-old Mr. Yu Chunbo is in custody and currently suffers from a serious medical condition. His father is calling upon the authorities to release him.

Persecution of the Yu Brothers

The older brother Yu, was arrested in late 2000 for going to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong. He was given two years at the Chaoyanggou Forced Labor Camp. There the guards shocked him with electric batons, beat him, kicked his legs, deprived him of sleep and forced him to do intensive labor. His hands were covered with scabies but the guards still forced him to work in the brick factory or dig up dirt.

While Yu was serving time, his younger brother, Mr. Yu Chunhai, was also arrested for practicing Falun Gong and incarcerated at the same Chaoyanggou Forced Labor Camp. The torture and intensive labor took a toll on the younger Yu’s health. He continued to struggle with poor health after his release, before passing away three years later on January 21, 2007, at the age of 32. He is survived by his wife and two children, who were aged two and eight at the time.

The older brother was arrested again on November 12, 2020. His wife, Ms. Li Fengxia, who does not practice Falun Gong, was also arrested. The couple’s arrests left their daughter, a high school student, in tremendous mental and financial distress.

A guard from the Changchun City No. 2 Detention Center called Yu’s family on January 13, 2021 and said that he had been hospitalized due to a medical condition, without providing further information. 

The authorities initially agreed to allow Yu’s lawyer to visit him on February 1, but later retracted their decision. After repeated requests, Yu’s lawyer was finally allowed to visit him at the hospital on February 2. Yu told the lawyer that he was hospitalized on December 13 and he was unable to eat, causing his weight to dramatically drop. With a height of nearly 5’6’’, he weighed only 90 pounds at the time of the meeting. 

Due to his health condition, the Chaoyang District Court canceled his court hearing scheduled in early February. 

An Open Letter from Yu’s Father

In the past few weeks, Yu’s 70-year-old father frequented different government agencies, including the police station and procuratorate, to seek his release, but to no avail. 

Yu’s father recently wrote an open letter, calling on the authorities to release him. Below is a translation of the letter:

Dear Leaders, 

I am Yu Chunbo’s father. I live in the Changde Village in Yushu. I have been a farmer all my life. Recently, my older son was smeared [in reputation] and arrested. To seek justice and obtain protection for my son, I write to inform you of the persecution against my son and I hope you can help stop tragedy from happening again.

Since July 20, 1999, my two sons, Yu Chunbo and Yu Chunhai, were persecuted for practicing Falun Gong and being a good people by following [the practice’s principles of] “Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance.” Their homes were ransacked, and they were sentenced to prison or sent to labor camps. 

In the detention center, they were subject to savage, long-term beating, verbal abuse, and electric shocks. They were also forced to sit on small stools without moving, deprived of sleep, poured cold water upon, kicked by [guards] with leather boots, and forced to do intensive labor. Their bodies were covered with injuries and they were on the verge of death. Due to the torture, my younger son died in 2007, leaving behind my two little grandsons, who were only 2- and 8-years-old.

My son was only 32 when he died. There is nothing more painful in the world than having elderly parents losing their children. 

Now similar persecution happens again. My older son, my only child who can take care of me and support the family, was arrested on November 12, 2020, together with my daughter-in-law, Li Fengxia. Their home was ransacked. My granddaughter, who had just begun her high school study, often cries at home. It breaks my heart, an elderly man, to see an incomplete family and my poor granddaughter. 

My son is a very good person. He is kind and sincere. He has a big heart and never has any conflicts with people. Many villagers speak highly of him. I just do not understand, why he would be arrested – he did not do anything wrong or break any law. Since when has believing in “Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance” become a crime? Is there any justice left?

No law ever criminalizes Falun Gong or designates it as a cult. I have looked up many materials, but have not found any legal basis for the persecution. I also know that the Chinese publication bureau has lifted the ban on Falun Gong books in March 2011, so no one should be prosecuted for having Falun Gong books, no matter how many they have. 

In fact, many Chinese lawyers are condemning the persecution and hundreds of them have represented Falun Gong practitioners in court and entered not guilty pleas for them. 

As law enforcement agencies or judges, your foremost priority is to follow the law and uphold justice. Now my son has been detained for several months and he is suffering a serious medical condition, yet the hospital does not allow us to visit him. This is simply unacceptable! We are really worried about him. This is not fair to him. 

I believe you also have parents and children. I hope you can understand the pain I have and the unimaginable physical and mental agony our family has suffered in all these years. I do not want to lose another son again. Heaven is watching everything we are doing. I know my son is innocent and you know too. 

I sincerely hope that you will uphold justice and conscience and release my son and daughter-in-law as soon as possible. I will be grateful for the rest of my life!

Adapted from Having Lost One Son to the Persecution of Falun Gong, Elderly Father Calls for Another Son’s Release

Related reports:

Ailing Man Hospitalized After Being Arrested, Faces Trial for His Faith in Falun Gong

Younger Brother Tortured to Death, Older Brother Detained and Tortured