A 75-year-old retired Shanghai teacher, Fa Zhengping, was sentenced to jail for 14 months on Feb. 24, for persisting his belief in Falun Gong.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual practice that involves meditative exercises and moral teachings. The practice grew from a handful of people in 1992 to an estimated 70 million in 1997, and with its emphasis on following the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, it helped Chinese people connect with traditional Chinese culture and values.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) took Falun Gong as a threat because of its rapidly growing popularity, and launched a brutal persecution against the practice on July 20, 1999.
Prior to this latest sentencing, Fa had been detained three times for a total of seven years since 2001, while also being tortured.
On Feb. 16, 2020, he was once again dragged into a police van and taken away. Six or seven police officers wearing masks and protective clothing broke into his home in Pudong New District, after Fa had been reported distributing Falun Gong informational materials about Falun Gong and the persecution that are otherwise unavailable in China, according to a Feb. 28 report by Minghui.org, a U.S.-based website that reports on the persecution of Falun Gong in China.
Fa was fined for 2,000 yuan ($310) and detained for more than a year at the Shanghai Pudong New District Detention Center, the report said.
‘Extremely Tragic Injuries’
After being repeatedly tortured, insulted, forced to endure prolonged starvation, force-feeding, and sleep deprivation in the past two decades, Fa suffered “extremely tragic injuries” both physically and mentally, he told Minghui prior to his latest arrest.
“In the summer when it was hot, I [was forced to wear] a thick sweater and a down jacket, bound with restraint straps, with my wrists being tightly tied with a thin rope, for over 20 days continuously. I suffered it twice,” he recalled.
Fa was once tied onto the iron fence with seven ropes. “[The skin on] both of my thighs and all my lower body, including my toes, were in a black and purple granite pattern. … I cannot lift my forearms up.”
The constant stabbing pain of being shocked by four high-voltage electric batons at a time made him numb and unable to move.
“I almost lost my hearing. My vision, memory, and thinking ability drastically reduced,” Fa said.
He repeatedly fell unconscious and fell over.
When asked to give a blood sample, he noted that his blood appeared dark. “It looks like tomato juice laced with soy sauce.”
In Prison for Over Eight Years
The retired teacher from Shanghai Yangjing Middle School started practicing Falun Gong in late 1995.
Since the CCP launched a systematic campaign to try to eliminate Falun Gong in July 1999, millions of people have been detained in prisons, labor camps, black jails, brainwashing centers, mental institutions, and other detention facilities. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese Falun Gong practitioners have been tortured while incarcerated, according to the Falun Dafa Information Center.
While the CCP has tried to eliminate Falun Gong, they try to break a person’s will and have him renounce his spiritual practice and return to the path of communism.
When Fa was initially arrested in May 2001, he refused to denounce his faith and was put into a forced labor camp for two years.
On April 6, 2005, he was taken away again and detained in Shanghai No.3 Forced Labor Camp for another two years.
On Dec. 16, 2008, he was arrested for a third time and given a three-year sentence in prison in Shanghai’s Tilanqiao Prison.
Still, Fa did not stop practicing Falun Gong and continued to tell other Chinese people about the regime’s persecution as he had done before.
“Falun Dafa is good,” he told the police who intruded into his home in February 2020, before being taken away and held for the past year.