Former Russian Programme Host at Heilongjiang Province TV Station Given Second Four-year Prison Term

Name: Zhao Xidong
Gender: Male
Age: N/A
Address: N/A
Occupation: TV program host, reporter
Date of Most Recent Arrest: December 31st, 2011
Most Recent Place of Detention: N/A
Detention City: Harbin
Detention Province: Heilongjiang
Persecution Suffered: Imprisonment, fired from workplace, physical restraint, home ransacked, detention.

Former Russian programme host and reporter for a Heilongjiang Province TV Station, practitioner Zhao Xidong, was arrested on December 31st, 2011 by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities and was recently sentenced to four years in prison. His wife has filed an appeal to Judge Yu Li of the Nangang District Court, Harbin City.

Mr. Zhao was put on trial in August 2012. As the court knew the prosecution was not based on the law, they did not dare to hold the trial at the Nangang District Courthouse. Instead, it was held in a remote Wanggang Town Courthouse. The court also restricted the number of family members allowed to attend the trial to two. Mr. Zhao's wife requested that she be allowed to defend Mr. Zhao, as the law allows citizens the right to a defence. However, the court did not allow it. When she asked why, the judge said, “We have applied for you, but the higher authorities did not approve it. Don't ask further.”

During the trial, the judge sided with the prosecutor instead of being impartial. The prosecutor used language similar to that used during the Cultural Revolution. When Mr. Zhao challenged the prosecutor's charges, the prosecutor was very rude and arrogant and in the end forced the conviction of Mr. Zhao. The presiding judge did not respect Mr. Zhao's rights and interrupted and interfered with the defence lawyer's statements.

On November 8th, 2012, Mr. Zhao's wife received a telephone call from their defense lawyer saying that Mr. Zhao had been sentenced to four years in prison by the Nangang District Court.

Mr. Zhao majored in Russian language and graduated in 1984, with excellent grades, from International Relations College of China's Liberation Army, formerly known as the Nanjing City Foreign Language College. He was assigned to work in division three, Bureau of Technical Detection, Shenyang Military Region. In 1993, as a person with special skills, he was approved by the Shenyang Military Region authorities to demobilize and work at a Heilongjiang Province TV Station. He then started working in the Russian Translation Centre of the TV station as a translator, editor, reporter, and programme host. His skills included cameraman, interviewing, editing, and dubbing. He was one of the publicly acknowledged gifted persons at the TV station. Several of his TV programmes were given awards.

By pure chance in 1998, he heard about Falun Gong and its power to uplift people's moral standards and get rid of bad habits. He started practising Falun Gong with the desire to stop drinking alcohol. He discovered to his total surprise that he could find all the answers to the questions about the meaning and purpose of his life that he had always wondered about. The pain in his life disappeared. Instead, he obtained a sense of relaxation and happiness he couldn't describe with words. He conducted himself according to the principles of Truthfulness-Benevolence-Forbearance. At work he held an attitude of indifference to everyone struggling for fame and personal gains. He tried to be considerate of others and helpful to everyone. In his neighbourhood, he often cleaned the hallways for everyone else in the community. He also gave up drinking naturally and obtained tranquility in his life.

His happy and tranquil life came to a sudden halt on July 20th, 1999 when a ferocious persecution was started by the CCP and Jiang Zemin's, [former leader of China and instigator of the persecution] regime. The TV station management tried to coerce practitioners to give up their practice of Falun Gong. As Mr. Zhao refused, he and his wife and several other practitioners were locked up for several months in a combat-ready broadcast facility, which was part of the Heilongjiang Province Broadcasting Bureau and remotely located in a mountain.

In January 2000, he was fired from his post and put on probation for a year. His salary was reduced by three levels and he was assigned to work as a handyman in a small TV station run by the broadcasting bureau.

In the following years, Mr. Zhao suffered from continued harassment. After 8 p.m. On November 4th, 2005, he was arrested by agents from the Haping Street Police Station under the Dongli District Police Department, Harbin City and his home was ransacked. On June 27th, 2006, he was sentenced to four years in prison and sent to Daqing Prison. He suffered inhuman treatment while he was imprisoned.

Perpetrators:

Wang Baolong, prosecutor, Nangang District Procuratorate
Zhao Xin, presiding judge and director, Nangang District Court
Yu Li, judge, Nangang District Court


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