The case against Wang Xiaodong, the detained Falun Gong practitioner from rural China whose arrest inspired 300 fellow villagers to petition the Communist Communist Party calling for his release, has been returned to the local Public Security Bureau after the prosecutor said it lacked evidence, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The individual said that the Botou City public security officers were being asked to “re-examine” the case because of an apparent evidentiary deficit. The pressure of public and Internet attention is a possible cause for the prosecutor sending the case back, though whether security forces will proceed with persecuting Wang is still unclear. He is currently still in custody.
Wang Xiaodong was arrested on Feb. 25 after police discovered compact discs discussing the beliefs and state-led persecution of the Chinese spiritual practice Falun Gong. Over the following month 300 villagers from Zhouguantun, the village where Wang resides, signed a petition initiated by Wang’s sister.
The petition, which included a letter to the officials that condemned the police and demanded Wang’s release, caused turmoil among top leaders in China, according to a source who provided the information to The Epoch Times on condition of anonymity. In the past week, police have been on a desperate search in the village for everyone who signed the petition, and asked those they found to sign an anti-Falun Gong statement, and a declaration that the previous petition was only signed out of sympathy for Wang’s child and elderly mother.
Wang Wensheng and Gao Guiqi, chief and vice chief of the Domestic Security Department in the local Public Security Bureau in Botou City, are the key individuals that led the persecution of Wang Xiaodong and his family, according to villagers. The Domestic Security Department is the branch of the Public Security Bureau in charge of surveilling and punishing dissidents, Falun Gong practitioners, Tibetans, members of house or family churches, and others considers enemies of the state.
The department is apparently aware of the public attention now being shone on its operations. “I do not accept interviews, nor do I issue press releases. If you want to learn about the situation, you come here,” said an official from Botou’s domestic security team, who declined to provide his name. The official did admit that Wang was under detention.
A government official from Fuzhen Town, Botou City, where Wang’s village is situated, said that he knew about Wang Xiaodong’s situation. He would not provide telephone numbers of other officials.
Wang Yan (alias), a resident of the village, witnessed unidentified individuals lingering outside the home of Wang Xiaomei, Wang Xiaodong’s younger sister, and said that Wang’s relatives were followed by cars when they were out. Wang Xiaomei, who helped gather signatures for the petition, is now running from the police after being threatened with arrest.
The persecution of Falun Gong, a popular Chinese spiritual practice, was initiated by former regime leader Jiang Zemin in 1999. Since then practitioners of the traditional discipline have been arrested, sentenced to labor camps or prisons, and subject to torture. They now constitute the world’s largest group of prisoners of conscience, according to the Falun Dafa Information Center, which reports that 450,000 practitioners are held in detention facilities at any given time and 3,369 have been killed in custody, often due to torture.
Read the Chinese article here.
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