Li Duchen was only six years old when his father was forced to abandon their home to escape police arrest. Two years later, the boy was arrested along with his mother when the police raided their home in search of his father. Later, his mother was sentenced to two years of forced labour. Now his father is locked up in Shandong Provincial Prison with a five-year term.
The boy's parents, Mr. Li Yuzhao and Ms. An Yan, are elementary school teachers in Xintai City, Shandong Province. For their belief in Falun Gong, the couple has been targeted for persecution over the past 15 years. They have suffered constant police surveillance, multiple detentions, and torture. All of this has had a devastating effect on their health, as well as that of their young son.
Father Forced to Leave Home
After the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched the persecution in 1999, Mr. Li Yuzhao went to the government appeals office to petition for the right to practise Falun Gong. He was arrested and detained for a month, during which the police handcuffed him to a tree and beat him with a rubber baton.
The local police broke into their home around 2 p.m. on August 22nd, 2006. When Ms. An tried to stop the ransacking, she was handcuffed and dragged out of her home. Ms. An's 6-year-old son was frightened and cried.
The police confiscated their Falun Gong books and materials, a personal desktop computer, a laptop computer, and a digital camera. As the police tried to take Mr. Li away, he resisted and shouted loudly so that the neighbours could hear him, “Everyone, come to see what the police are doing to innocent people!” Stunned, the policemen backed off for a moment and Mr. Li managed to escape. He then had to live away from home to avoid arrest and harassment by the authorities.
Since then, the local police and 610 Office (an organisation of special agents just for persecuting Falun Gong) personnel frequently came to their home on sensitive dates and put pressure on the family. Ms. An and her son lived in constant fear.
Mother Beaten Unconscious, Son Hospitalized
A group of police officers arrested Ms. An Yan at home on the morning of July 19th, 2008 and took her to the Xintai City Police Department. Ms. An's 8-year-old son was also taken into custody. Traumatised, her son developed a high fever that night and had to be hospitalized for over ten days.
During interrogation, when Ms. An Yan refused to tell the police where her husband was, they slapped her in the face, threw her to the ground, and stomped on her chest until she lost consciousness. When they splashed cold water on her face to wake her up, police captain Ma Yan propped her up and taunted her, “Don't you agree our law enforcement is carried out in a civilised manner?”
The police took her to the city detention centre later that day. Seeing that she was unable to walk on her own, the detention centre doctor ordered a medical examination at the Xintai City No. 1 Hospital. She was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat and the detention centre authorities refused to admit her. The police told the doctor, “This case is under the direct supervision of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee. Like it or not, you have to take her.”
Ms. An Yan suffered an asthma attack the next morning and was taken to the emergency room, where she had to be put on oxygen. The detention centre's request to release her on bail was overruled again by the police.
After the emergency room episode, the police took her to the Shandong Armed Police General Hospital in Jinan City. While detained at the general hospital, she was not provided with clean clothes or other necessities. Yet, the police extorted 30,000 yuan1 from her elementary school for the hospitalisation cost.
During an interrogation session in early August, police officer Wang Shilei hit her in the head with a broom a dozen times.
The police demanded 5,000 yuan from Ms. An Yan's family in mid-August before releasing her on bail as she awaited trial. In the one month detention, her weight dropped 33 pounds.
Soon afterward, Ms. An Yan was sentenced to two years of forced labour and taken to Shandong Province No. 1 Women's Labour Camp. Her health rapidly declined and she was later released on medical parole.
When she was in the labour camp, the authorities went to search her home three times, terrifying her elderly mother-in-law and 8-year-old son. Her husband's elder brother, a non-practitioner, was interrogated by the police three times for the whereabouts of Mr. Li Yunzhao, with the longest interrogation lasting 24 hours.
Father Captured and Sentenced to Five Years in Prison
Mr. Li Yunzhao, while living away from home in Qingdao City, Shandong Province, was arrested on June 27th, 2011 along with another practitioner, Jiang Guanmin. Local police seized them while they were out talking to people about Falun Gong. After two days of interrogation, they were charged with “sabotaging law enforcement,” a trumped-up charge commonly used against Falun Gong practitioners, and detained at Qingdao City's First Detention Centre.
Ms. An Yan did not receive notification until a month later. She tried to retain a lawyer for Mr. Li's defence but, due to pressure from the authorities, no attorneys would take the case.
Qingdao City's Licang District Court convicted Mr. Li Yunzhao and Mr. Jiang Guanmin on November 3rd, 2011 and sentenced them to five years in prison. None of their family members were informed of the trial. Although both practitioners wanted to appeal, the official court document stated that they had no contention or objection to the verdict and sentencing.
Ms. An Yan found a lawyer from Beijing who was willing to take the case and appeal on her husband's behalf to the Qingdao City's Intermediate Court. However, before the lawyer could get to Qingdao City, the intermediate court had already announced its decision to uphold the lower court's verdict and sentencing.
Mr. Li was then transferred in 2012 to Shandong Provincial Prison's 11th Ward, designated for detaining Falun Gong practitioners. During his imprisonment, Mr. Li was severely beaten by inmates Yang Hongyou and Wang Kedong and two of his teeth fell out.
Mr. Li's current situation is unknown to his family.
Ma Yan, captain, Domestic Security Team, Xintai City Police Department
Zhang Tao, political instructor, Domestic Security Team, Xintai City Police Department
Cao Hua, head of the second squadron and deputy captain, Crime Division, Xintai City Police Department
Fu Daoqing, political instructor of the second squadron, Criminal Division, Xintai City Police Department
Wang Shilei, police officer, the second squadron, Criminal Division, Xintai City Police Department
1. "Yuan" is the Chinese currency; 500 yuan is equal to the average monthly income of an urban worker in China.
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