Yang Feng | Bitter Winter
The veteran practitioner, who was arrested for the first time in 1999, was punished for publishing pictures documenting the real situation of the COVID epidemic.
Xu Na, one of the “historical” Falun Gong dissidents was sentenced again last week to eight years in prison and a fine of 20,000 yuan. This time, it was for telling the truth about COVID. She had been arrested in Beijing on July 19, 2020, for posting on social media pictures evidencing that the epidemic was not totally under control as the authorities claimed. The court said she did this “in connection with her being a Falun Gong practitioner,” which led to the heavy sentence.
Xu Na is well-known in Beijing. She and her husband, musician Yu Zhou, were among the Falun Gong protesters who demonstrated against media slander near the Zhongnanhai residences of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leaders in Beijing on April 25, 1999.
Xu and Yu were arrested in August 1999 and detained for more than 40 days. In 2001, Xu was arrested again and sentenced to five years in prison as a Falun Gong practitioner. She was released in 2006.
In 2008, as China was preparing for Beijing’s Olympics, the repression of Falun Gong intensified. After one of Yu’s concerts, he and his wife were arrested on January 26, 2008. 11 days later, Yu, who was 42, died at Tongzhou district Detention Centre. His wife was told that he went into a hunger strike that became fatal because of his diabetes, a version she refused to believe. She was sentenced to another three years in jail.
She kept a lower profile after her release in 2011 but continued to practice Falun Gong. During the COVID-19 epidemic, Falun Gong, that the authorities believed had been much reduced in size, gained new popularity by promoting its Nine True Words Meditation as a way to strengthen the immune system and resist the virus.
This greatly enraged the authorities, who started arresting again Falun Gong practitioners who had been in jail before. In the case of Xu Na, the reason or pretext was that she was posting pictures documenting the progress of the epidemic without authorization. However, other Falun Gong practitioners were arrested just for having continued to practice Falun Gong when they had returned home from jail.