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The Story of Two Falun Gong Shopkeepers

A metro station Credit: wikimedia
A metro station Credit: wikimedia
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Yang Feng | Bitter Winter

Liang Shunjing and Deng Xiufen, husband and wife, had a successful electrical appliance store. They lost it, and are now serving a ten-year jail sentence.

On July 20, 1999, the entire China state apparatus was turned against the Falun Gong adherents and it continues until now, 22 years after it was launched. Here one of so many Falun Gong practitioners’ persecution stories.

Ten years in prison are not a short sentence, the more so if the prison is the notorious Sihui jail, in Guangdong province, “specialized” in “treating” members of the religious groups banned as xie jiao, and where dozens of inmates have reported torture and extra-judicial killings.

Liang Shunjing and Deng Xiufen were two quiet shopkeepers in Meizhou, a prefecture-level city in Guangdong province. They ran together an electrical appliance store that became considerably successful.

On December 10, 2015, the then 54-year-old Liang and his wife were stopped by the police while going to visit friends. They soon learned these were not common police but part of a specialized anti-xie-jiao unit in Meizhou city. The couple was accused of practicing Falun Gong and talking about the movement with their clients and friends. They were told that this amounted to “using a xie jiao to undermine the enforcement of the law,” a crime severely punished by Article 300 of the Chinese Criminal Code.

Their car was confiscated, and their home raided looking for Falun Gong material. Deng was temporarily released because her blood pressure had skyrocketed to dangerous levels,  but on January 15, 2016, both husband and wife were formally arrested by the Meijiang District Procuratorate of Meizhou city under Article 300.

On March 29, 2016, they were tried by Meizhou’s Meijiang District Court. The husband was sentenced to 10 years and 3 months in prison, and his wife to 10 years.

They appealed, but on May 29, 2016, the Meizhou Intermediate Court upheld the first-degree sentence. In the meantime, left unattended by its owners, the store went bankrupted.

Liang is serving is sentence in the Sihui jail in Guangdong province, notorious because members of xie jiao are tortured there until they sign statements renouncing their faith. Extra-judicial killings have also been reported.

Meanwhile, courts in China continue to try persons suspected of being Falun Gong practitioners. On May 31, 2021, the Intermediate People’s Court of Tongling, a prefecture-level city in Anhui province, sentenced three defendants called Rao, Chen and Zhou to suspended jail sentences, two years and a half for Rao and Chen and eight months for Zhou. These may seem light sentences, but the trio had only been caught photocopying Falun Gong material, which has become common in China due to the success of the movement’s “Nine True Words” meditation during the COVID-19 epidemic.

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