A 53-year-old man from Huining County, Gansu Province was arrested last September after three years of living away from home to avoid police harassment. Denied legal representation, he was sentenced to six years this February without his family's knowledge. His wife had been released from a three-year term of imprisonment only a few months earlier.
The couple's lives have been torn apart by the Chinese Communist Party's persecution of Falun Gong. Both Mr. Chen Zhongxuan and his wife, Ms. Han Xiufang, benefited greatly from the peaceful self-cultivation system, and they never shied away from telling people that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is wrong in attacking the practice.
Their refusal to give up the practice has landed them in police custody many times. Since Mr. Chen served two terms as a local police chief, he became a prime target for persecution after the CCP launched its nationwide campaign against Falun Gong in 1999.
He was fired from his job for refusing to give up his belief in Falun Gong. Then he was repeatedly harassed, threatened, and monitored. After he and his wife were arrested together on September 24th, 2011, he managed to escape from the police station, but his wife was later sentenced to three years.
The police department set up a special task force to hunt down Mr. Chen and issued a nationwide warrant for his arrest. He lived away from home to avoid police harassment, only to be recaptured three years later.
Mr. Chen's Latest Arrest
After the police discovered Mr. Cheng's temporary residence on September 19th, 2014, over 20 officers and officials from Baiyin City Domestic Security Division, police stations, and the residential community office headed to Mr. Chen's apartment.
Fan Fengtao, chief of Baiyin City Domestic Security Division, and other police officers surrounded the apartment building where Mr. Chen lived. The police positioned themselves at the elevators on all six floors, as other officers waited outside the building.
Four Falun Gong practitioners–Mr. Chen Zhongxuan, Liao Anan, Yang Wenxiu, and Li Qiaolian–were inside the apartment at the time. With keys secured from the owner, the police barged in.
Several officers tackled each practitioner, who were then kicked and beaten. Without showing any identification or a warrant, they ransacked the rooms and confiscated computers, printers, and other personal belongings.
Mr. Chen was handcuffed behind his back and taken away.
Six days later, Mr. Chen's family finally learned what had happened. When they went to the detention centre to bring him some daily necessities, officials said there was no such detainee. Mr. Chen's family went back and forth between the detention centre and different police stations trying to find him, but no one would give them an answer.
They were not able to locate him until October. An official said it was because Mr. Chen didn't give his name when he was interrogated.
In fact, the police knew who he was: when Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Li Ya from Huating County was interrogated, the police showed her Mr. Chen's photo that was stored in his mobile phone and asked her, “This person is named Chen, a policeman. Do you know him?”
Lawyer Not Allowed to Handle the Case
Mr. Chen's family and a lawyer from Beijing went to Baiyin City Detention Centre to see him on January 15th, 2015, but the superintendent didn't allow them to meet. He told them that lawyers from other cities were not allowed to take local cases.
Mr. Chen's family then asked if a local lawyer could handle the case. The superintendent said it would have to be approved by the “relevant” department, although he didn't mention which department that was. He also said, “Only a court-appointed lawyer is allowed to meet with the detainee.”
Only after Mr. Chen's family repeatedly asked where to seek such approval did the superintendent tell them to go to the court bureau.
Actually, the lawyer from Beijing had been to the detention centre once before, trying to see Mr. Chen. The superintendent told him that the Lawyer Association didn't allow lawyers from Beijing to take local cases. When the lawyer checked with the Lawyer Association, he was told they had never heard of such a restriction. Officials from the local 610 Office (an organisation of special agents just for persecuting Falun Gong) then said that the superintendent had the final say.
The lawyer went back to the superintendent, who still would not give him a definite answer, only instructions to “continue trying to get approval from the 'relevant department.'”
Meanwhile, officials from Baiyin City Court contacted the lawyer's office in Beijing and warned them not to touch Mr. Chen Zhongxuan's case.
Sentenced to 6-Year Prison Term in Secret
Mr. Chen Zhongxuan's arrest was approved on October 23rd, 2014, but his family never received notification of his detention or arrest. They went to ask Fan Fengtao, chief of the local Domestic Security Division, who claimed that a certified letter had been sent to his home. Mr. Chen's family also went to ask officials in the local Procuratorate, but they said, “We never arrested him.”
Mr. Chen was sentenced to six years in prison on February 6th, 2015. When his family learned of the sentence two days later, they went to ask why they had not been notified. An official named Gao gave no answer, but drove them out of the building.
Entire Family Persecuted
Over the past 15 years, Mr. Chen Zhongxuan's entire family has been persecuted for their firm belief in Falun Gong. His wife Ms. Han Xiufang and younger sisters Ms. Chen Shuxian and Ms. Chen Jie have all been arrested, imprisoned, and tortured.
His elder sister Ms. Chen Shumei and brother-in-law Mr. Liu Haixue were forced to leave home for several years after their home was ransacked. Mr. Liu Haixue was arrested and detained last month.
Their 90-year-old mother was devastated. She broke down, fell ill, and was taken to a hospital.
Related report of what Mr. Chen Zhongxuan's wife suffered:
Huining 610 Office Wants Heavier Sentences When Gansu Province Practitioners Appeal Court Verdict
Perpetrators' Contact Information:
Fan Fengtao, chief, Beiyin District Police Bureau
Office: +86-943-6623885; Mobile: +86-13639309806
Arrest Approval, Baiyin District Procuratorate
Office: +86- 8236327, +86-8205523
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