It was recently reported that in China, people who wish to practice some form of spirituality are being confined to their homes, and held there as prisoners by their family members. These house arrests are being ordered by the Chinese Communist Party, according to a report by the Clearwisdom website.
The information comes from Clearwisdom.net, a website which provides information on the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China. The information obtained from this site indicates that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has turned a number of homes in remote areas of China into secret, individualized prisons. This method is being used to persecute religious and faith-based groups. Family members are forced to monitor and cause suffering of other family members.
Since July 1999, illegal house arrests and incarceration have become one of the tools that CCP uses to persecute Falun Gong practitioners. It is widely believed that one of the reasons for the Chinese Communist Party's persecution of Falun Gong is because the number of people practicing exceeded membership of the CCP in 1999. Falun Gong was outlawed in 1999, and the CCP began a large scale persecution of all people in China who practice Falun Gong.
At least two Falun Gong practitioners from Sichuan Province, Ms. Fang Guiming and Ms. Wang Xiuyun, have died from being imprisoned and tortured in their own homes under the orders of the CCP.
According to the report, illegal house arrest and home incarceration have often been used by the CCP in the persecution of Falun Gong and other spiritual and religious groups. The “610 Office,” a KGB-like branch of the Chinese government established for the sole purpose of persecuting Falun Gong, have often used illegal house arrest, long-term containment, and torture as a means to persecute people who practice in China.
So how does a family become involved in the imprisonment and torture of one of its own members? According to the report, the “610” office uses economic interests to cause conflicts within a family. Often they use economic and political means to punish people in the family of a person who practices Falun Gong. Work units who have a person who practices Falun Gong in them are ordered to lay off, fine, beat, threaten, and arrest the Falun Gong practitioners. The work units, as an extension of the government, harass and monitor the practitioners.
The Clearwisdom website says that 610 Office will “entice [the practitioners] with money, force with lay-offs, punish with fines, and threaten with arrests. If all else fails, they will often torture [the practitioners] to death and are not held responsible.” Sometimes, if there is a family member who disobeys the CCP's orders by practicing Falun Gong, they may be threatened with persecution as well.
According to the Clearwisdom report, the “610 Office” first uses lay-offs and fines to cause conflicts within a family. The local police and the CCP officials in the local village threaten the Falun Gong practitioners' family members and require them to end their relationship with the family member who practices.
The family members are required to detain the practitioner at home and prevent them from leaving the home, doing the Falun Gong exercises, or from going to Beijing to appeal to the government. This turns the home into a prison. Family members are effectively turned into “the guards.” If the family members disagree, they face the risk of being laid off or even arrested and persecuted themselves.
Under such circumstances, many family members of Falun Gong practitioners have become acting as prison guards for the “610 Office.”
In addition, the local police and CCP officials also send special personnel to do random checks on the homes where practitioners are imprisoned. If they find that family members did not follow their rules, the family members are fined severely, and the practitioners may be taken into state detention or be tortured.
For example, Zhang Yubin, a Falun Gong practitioner from Xiaoluo Village, Chongyang Township, Chongzhou, Chengdu City refused to cooperate with the persecution. His family was fined 4,000 yuan (US $496). After Zhang was abducted by the police, he was put in solitary confinement, beaten, and injected with drugs which damaged his central nervous system. Inhumane treatment of Zhang caused him to go insane and he became unable to manage his own living.
The report cited two death cases from “home prisons,” both of which were from Sichuan Province.
An elderly Falun Gong practitioner named Fang Guiming who is from Xiaoluo Village in the Chongyang Township of Chongzhou, Chengdu City suffered from a “home prison.” Her family members were threatened by the local 610 and CCP offices. The family succumbed to their pressure, and acted as “prison guards.” Ms. Fang, already in her 70s, was detained in a room less than 20 square meters in size and cut off from all outside contact. Her physical and mental health was destroyed by the close confinement. She died in July 2001 at age 73.
Ms. Wang Xiuyun, another Falun Gong practitioner from Xiaoluo Village, was detained at home for a long period of time because her family was worried about losing their jobs and livelihood. Despite Ms. Wang's efforts, her family detained her in a small room 18 square meters in size. She lost all personal freedom and her mental and physical health was severely damaged. She died in the Spring of 2003 at age 63.