Returning to Beijing Home, Longtime Chinese Prisoner of Conscience Faces Increased Surveillance

August 14, 2016 Updated: August 15, 2016

Security forces in Beijing have tightened their surveillance over Falun Gong practitioner and long suffering prisoner of conscience Wang Zhiwen after his failed attempt to travel to the United States from a southern Chinese city.

On Aug. 13, Wang returned to his Beijing home from Guangzhou City to find four security agents sitting on chairs or mats at his doorstep.

“When he goes out of the house, two of them follow him and two remain behind to watch his house. If he is going to the grocery store they make him ride in a police car,” Jeff Nenarella, the son-in-law of Wang Zhiwen, wrote to Epoch Times in an email. 

Wang, 68, was sentenced to 16 years in jail in December 1999 for practicing Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline whose suppression was ordered by then-Chinese Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin. While detained, Wang suffered severe torture. After being released in October 2014, Wang was immediately kept under an intrusive, 24-hour surveillance.

This January, Wang managed to obtain a Chinese passport through official channels, and later secured a U.S. visa with the help of his daughter Danielle Wang, who is a U.S. citizen. However, when he tried to cross into Hong Kong on Aug. 6, the corner of the elder Wang’s passport was snipped off by customs officials in Guangzhou, voiding it.

Several U.S. government officials have called on the Chinese regime to allow Wang Zhiwen to leave China and join his family in America.

Danielle Wang had earlier told Epoch Times that Wang Zhiwen, her husband, and herself were constantly harassed and monitored after they met in Beijing last month. In Guangzhou, at least 50 Chinese security agents had followed the family on one occasion.

Wang’s family believes that the intense harassment they encountered, as well as the last-minute cancellation of the elder Wang’s passport, was the doing of the security and spy network overseen by former Chinese vice chairman Zeng Qinghong.

Zeng is former Party leader Jiang Zemin’s longtime political enabler. He is known to have a hand in appointing many Jiang loyalists to key positions in the regime, including former security czar Zhou Yongkang. Zhou, who is now serving a life sentence for corruption, and Zeng both strongly supported Jiang’s persecution of Falun Gong.

Zeng Qinghong is suspected of masterminding the attempted assassination of a Falun Gong practitioner in South Africa in June 2004. According to, a clearinghouse for first-hand information about the persecution of Falun Gong, a gunman had fired on a vehicle driven by Australian Falun Gong practitioner David Liang, wounding him in the feet. Liang had earlier filed court papers in South Africa against Zeng, who was then visiting the country.

Wang’s family also believes that due to the highly sensitive nature of the case, Wang Zhiwen’s passport application in January had to be sanctioned by the top levels of Party leader Xi Jinping’s administration. Wang was a Falun Gong coordinator in Beijing before the persecution was launched, and he was publicly made an example of in a televised show trial.

Around key dates marking the start of the persecution this April and July, the Xi administration hinted that the regime could change its position on Falun Gong in the future.

With reporting by Shi Ping.