Spiritual Practice Continues to Be Persecuted in China Amid the CCP Virus Pandemic

April 6, 2020 Updated: April 7, 2020

The Chinese Communist Party continues to persecute millions of people who practice Falun Gong in China as the world is focused on battling the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus pandemic.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is an ancient Chinese spiritual practice known to relieve stress and increase energy. It consists of simple slow-moving exercises and meditation with an emphasis on incorporating the principles of truth, compassion, and forbearance in everyday life.

According to Minghui.org, a website that documents the CCP’s campaign of persecution against Falun Gong, 48-year-old Gong Fengqian lost consciousness from being tortured for his faith at Yilan Detention Center on Jan. 27. He was then secretly transferred to a hospital and put in a quarantine room for COVID-19 patients although he did not have the disease.

COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus.

Gong’s current condition is unknown as the Chinese Communist officials have refused to allow family visitation. For the past 20 years, Gong has been repeatedly harassed, arrested, tortured, and imprisoned for refusing to renounce his faith. His wife, who also practiced Falun Gong, died in December while trying to escape from the persecution.

Over 4,300 Falun Gong adherents have been killed in the persecution in China, according to Minghui.org. The actual number of deaths is thought to be much higher as thousands of cases remain unconfirmed due to the CCP’s “tight-fisted control over details of the persecution.”

Zhu Tonggui, a resident of Shandong Province, was secretly sentenced to prison in March, according to a report on the Minghui website. He and his older brother were both arrested on May 23, 2018, for their belief in Falun Gong.

During his detention, Zhu was beaten, deprived of sleep for three consecutive days, and handcuffed and shackled in a position that did not allow him to stand up straight.

Infection of COVID-19 at Wuhan Women’s Prison

According to a Minghui report, “the official data published on Feb. 21, Wuhan Women’s Prison had 230 confirmed coronavirus cases.” Even with the high numbers of CCP virus cases, the prison authorities refused to release any inmates, including prisoners of conscience.

Wuhan Women’s Prison is known for severely torturing Falun Gong adherents who are imprisoned for refusing to renounce their faith in the practice. The prison was named a “Model Prison” for its role in persecuting practitioners.

Officers from other provinces were mobilized to Wuhan during the epidemic. According to the Chinese media Beijing Spring, “24 police officers in Hunan Province were sent to Wuhan Women’s Prison on Feb. 23.” Around the same time, officers from three different provinces were also sent to Wuhan.

According to the report, “officers working in the prison are all wearing protective gowns and goggles and their cellphones have been confiscated.” The CCP has been trying to prevent Chinese citizens “from leaking information” about the pandemic.

Families Separated by the Persecution

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A woman doing Falun Dafa meditation. After an experiment with brain scans, a group of longtime meditators were able to transform the anatomy of the brain in surprising ways. (Minghui.org)

When Falun Gong was publicly introduced in 1992, it became widely popular with Chinese citizens because of its health benefits and focus on spirituality and morality.

Laura Liu, an elementary school teacher who resides in the United States, said she began practicing Falun Gong in China with her mother when she was seven years old in 1995.

Her mother used to suffer from a lumbar disc herniation and pleuritis, and was in constant pain and relied on medications daily. Soon after practicing, she claimed that all of her illnesses disappeared, she no longer lived with pain, and was happier.

Liu’s mother was the first person to learn the practice in her hometown in northern China. She naturally became the local coordinator, organizing morning exercises in the park and an evening study group where people got together to read the teachings of Falun Gong.

Life for Liu and her family changed after the CCP reversed its support of Falun Gong and launched a nationwide crackdown on the practice on July 20, 1999. An earlier government survey found 70 million to 100 million people practicing Falun Gong, more than members of the Party, causing concern for the legitimacy of the atheist, totalitarian regime.

Millions of law-abiding citizens became the number one enemy of the state, and were subjected to arrests, torture, imprisonment, hard labor, and forced organ harvesting while still alive.

Liu’s mother went to Tiananmen Square in Beijing to appeal for the right to practice her belief and was arrested. “She was put into a detention center for almost 40 days,” Liu said.

Afterward, the police would continue to try to arrest Liu’s mother, harass the family, and ransack their home almost every year, looking for Falun Gong books or informational flyers about the persecution to use as evidence for justification of the arrest.

Liu said her mother was arrested at least six times for refusing to renounce her belief in truth, compassion, and forbearance. While held in a detention center or a forced labor camp, Liu’s mother was forced to do hard labor “from morning to night” making children’s toys and plastic flowers similar to those sold in large chain stores in the United States.

In June 2019, the police broke into Liu’s mother’s home again and ransacked it. They found Falun Gong books and leaflets about the persecution and used them as evidence to issue an arrest warrant for her mother.

Liu’s mother was forced to leave home to avoid arrest and further persecution. Liu has not talked to her mother for nearly six months. “I’m very worried about her safety,” Liu said.

Since then, the police have continued to harass Liu’s brother to inquire about their mother’s whereabouts. Plainclothes officers have also been monitoring her mother’s home. “Last week during the pandemic, someone from the government office called my brother to ask about my mom.”

Levi Browde, executive director of the Falun Dafa Information Center, told The Epoch Times, “Back in February, Minghui was reporting 282 people were arrested, which is a significant uptick from February of the prior year.”

“We do see some things that you would attribute to the lockdown like a decrease in actual sentencing because the courts aren’t coming together,” Browde said. “So there are fewer sentencing, but if you look at just the arrest number, which I think is the most accurate number for determining how much of the persecution is still going on under the pandemic.”

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Falun Gong practitioners protest the persecution inside China at United Nations Plaza on Sept. 24, 2019. (Eva Fu/The Epoch Times)

Vivian, a mother of a 2-year-old daughter who lives in the United States, said her mother was back at her hometown in northeastern China when the CCP virus broke out.

The local police and city managers forced people to stay inside without informing them of the reason. Without any notice, “The rule was enforced before the Chinese New Year,” Vivian said. “Family gatherings were all canceled by the CCP. Nobody can go visit other family members.”

Buying food and other supplies were strictly regulated and went through the police. “They have to call the policeman, just like you call 911 in America,” Vivian said. “The government and the police control everything.”

Vivian said the police also charged a higher price and refused to allow farmers to sell their food.

Vivian cannot go back to China for fear of being arrested and detained. Both she and her husband practice Falun Gong and have been active in raising awareness about the persecution.

She was in middle school when the persecution began. Her parents were imprisoned for appealing for the right to practice Falun Gong.

She said she was demeaned and bullied at school by teachers and students. Even relatives refused to help her when she barely had any food to eat and had to take care of her ill grandmother by herself. They feared being targeted by the CCP for associating with her and her parents.

Like Vivian, Liu also faced discrimination and bullying while growing up because of her belief. For a long time, she said she felt ashamed. “My mom told me, don’t feel shameful of being a practitioner. This is the most, right thing we’re doing. Practicing Dafa is not wrong. It is the government that is doing the evil thing.”

Liu, now an American citizen, says being in America and having access to uncensored information has helped her understand “how evil the CCP is” and how the regime used the education system to brainwash Chinese people into misunderstanding and being fearful of Falun Gong.

She says witnessing her family being continuously harassed while being bullied at school in China has made her an introvert, but her spiritual belief has given her unyielding strength.

“I should be proud of my mom,” Liu said. “I should be proud of my family and I should be proud of myself being a practitioner because Falun Dafa asks us to be compassionate. We’re always doing the right things, we never hurt people.”

Double Lung Transplant Raises Concerns of Illegal Organ Harvesting

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Doctors carry fresh organs for transplant at a hospital in Henan Province, China, on Aug. 16, 2012. (Screenshot via Sohu.com)

A double-lung transplant was performed for the first time in China on Feb. 29 on a patient who was diagnosed with COVID-19, but eventually tested negative for the disease. The lungs came from a brain-dead patient.

Browde says with organ harvesting, “The idea that they have the ability to ‘reverse match’ meaning the moment someone needs an organ, that organ suddenly materializes within hours or days.”

“The only way that’s possible is they have living people pretested, ready to kill to supply those organs,” Browde said. While in the United States and other western countries, finding an organ match can take months or years.

An independent tribunal that investigated the Chinese regime’s killing of prisoners of conscience and sale of their organs for profit, headed by Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, concluded in its final judgment (pdf) on March 1 that “There is no evidence of the practice having been stopped.”

The report further states that “physical acts have been carried out that are indicative of the crime of genocide.”

Moving On

Linda (who is using an alias to protect her family in China) is a data analyst in the United States. She said when she began practicing Falun Gong in middle school, “a lot of people practiced it, and the government actually awarded it and encouraged people to practice because it’s good for both physical and mental health.”

Linda picked up the practice after witnessing her mother’s health and temper improve. Linda said her mother was more than a mom, “she was a close friend to me.”

When her mother passed away in January 2018 after being ill for two years, Linda was not able to go back to China to attend the funeral. “I didn’t get a chance to say good-bye to her.”

As the persecution of Falun Gong is still prevalent in China, and knowing that the Chinese consulates collect information on all practitioners overseas, Linda feared getting arrested if she went back. She said her mother also told her, “no matter what happens to her, don’t go back.”

Linda says her mother’s death was hard on her, but she has learned to move on and “think about the next best thing I can do.”

To honor her mother, Linda says she will “continue my practice and continue to raise awareness…I think that’s the best thing I can do right now.”

Linda has a message for people who are still participating in the persecution of Falun Gong, “I hope people in China can have a more open mind, try to read and try to accept the news reported outside of China. Hopefully, by opening their hearts, they will start to realize all the news they see in China are actually lies. By recognizing that, more people will be awakened in China and fewer people will follow the CCP’s lies.”