A Canadian citizen remains imprisoned in China for her spiritual beliefs, but her mother is determined to seek justice from within the Chinese judicial system.
On Sept. 11, Sun Qian’s mother filed charges in China against Beijing police authorities for imprisoning and torturing her daughter.
Sun, 51, is a Canadian citizen and resides in the city of Vancouver. She is the founder of the Beijing Leadman Biochemistry company and made it to the Hurun Report’s list of China’s top wealthiest people from 2012 to 2016.
After Sun began practicing the Falun Gong self-improvement and meditation practice in 2014, she recovered from chronic health conditions like depression, heart palpitations, and liver problems. Family members said she became a more tolerant, kind person after practicing.
Although the Chinese Communist Party once supported Falun Gong—and it spread rapidly, having 70 million practitioners in 1999, according to a state survey—the practice is now banned in China.
Seeing its growing popularity in the 1990s, the Chinese regime feared the Chinese people would find the teachings of Falun Gong more attractive than Party ideology and launched a nationwide persecution against practitioners in 1999. Millions have been arrested, detained, and tortured.
Sun traveled regularly between Vancouver and Beijing for work. While she was in her Beijing residence on Feb. 19, more than 20 plainclothes security agents barged in, ransacked her home, and took her away.
She has since been imprisoned at the Beijing First Detention Center, a facility notorious for its brutal treatment of detainees.
Her hands and feet were handcuffed to a metal chair so she could not move. On one occasion, a police officer continuously used pepper spray on her eyes and face, while other officers began to punch and kick her, according to Minghui.org, a U.S.-based website that tracks the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China.
She was also made to wear special handcuffs where both hands are linked together, 24 hours a day for 13 consecutive days. She was not allowed to change her clothing.
Lawyers representing Sun’s case say the persecution of Sun and other Falun Gong practitioners for their beliefs is against Chinese law. By the Chinese Communist Party’s own rules, a police case can only be filed upon a court hearing, but Sun was denied that and directly placed in prison. Furthermore, the local police authorities have detained a citizen of a foreign country.
The lawyers are seeking legal action against the authorities. On Sept. 11, they brought the case to China’s Supreme People’s Procuratorate, but the court refused to accept the case. The lawyers were told that they had to bring the case to Beijing’s inspection office, but representatives there also refused.
Sun’s family continues to appeal to the Canadian government to help release her.