Falun Gong Artist Sentenced to Five Years in Prison
Zhou Ning, an artist who provided free art classes for disabled children, was put in prison for five years when authorities discovered that he practiced Falun Gong, a traditional Chinese cultivation method based on the principles of "truthfulness, compassion and forbearance." His wife was denied rights to visit him.
In 1997, Zhou Ning and his wife, Xiao Yixia, used their own savings to set up the Truth Art Studio in Jinan city to teach young deaf-mutes sculpture lessons free of charge.
On the morning of September 12, 2007, Officer Guo Hongtao from the Jinan Public Security Bureau and officials from the city’s 610 office (a special agency specifically created to persecute Falun Gong practitionres) broke into Zhou’s home, kidnapped him, his wife, and their two-year-old son, plus two students, and four other Falun Gong practitioners who were visiting the couple.
Zhou Ning was taken to the local police station where he was handcuffed and had his legs locked to an iron chair. Officers repeatedly questioned Zhou and he was later transferred to Jining Medical College Hospital for force feeding.
Xiao, Zhou’s wife said that during her first visit to the Tai’an prison she was denied a visit with her husband even though she brought her attorney. When she tried to visit the second time she brought along his father; Zhou’s father was allowed to meet his son, but Xiao was not. .
During Zhou’s trial on July 14, 2008, defense lawyers Li Subin and Wen Haibo told the court that according to the Chinese Constitution, Zhou was innocent.
However, the court still found him guilty. His art studio was destroyed and his students were force to return home. Zhou’s house was confiscated, personal property seized, and his wife is now living with relatives.
Xiao has been appealing to the media in hopes of freeing her husband. “This persecution of Falun Gong in China has lasted nearly 10 years,” said Xiao. “This should not happen, because Falun Gong practitioners are good people. This persecution continues every day and good people are still being imprisoned.” Xiao says she hopes her appeals will help end the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners as soon as possible.