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Yu Baiqing, Falun Gong Practitioner, Sentenced to 8 Years in Qingdao

Morning Falun Gong exercises in Beijing park, 1998, before the persecution started. - credit: Falun Info
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Tao Tengfei | Bitter Winter

His crime was simply practicing Falun Gong.

You may know Qingdao, in Shandong province, for its world-famous beer, but it has also been an epicenter of the 2021 repression against Falun Gong. On June 2, 2021, the police of Jiaozhou, a county-level city within Qingdao, dispatched hundreds of agents to simultaneously crack down on Falun Gong practitioners and arrest them in their homes.

The operation was part of a national campaign against the resurgent popularity Falun Gong acquired by proposing meditation practices it claimed would boost the immune system during the COVID-19 crisis. This created a problem for the authorities who had claimed that Falun Gong had been almost eradicated in China, and led to purges within the huge apparatus fighting the movements banned as xie jiao 24:7.

A panorama of Qingdao. Credits.
A panorama of Qingdao – credit: Li Chao, Wikimedia

It also led to new police operations and prosecutions. Yu Baiqing, born in Qiqihar city, Heilongjiang province, was one of the victims of the 2021 Qingdao crackdown. He had become a Falun Gong practitioner in Qiquhar in 1992. Since he promoted Falun Gong among his friends and co-workers, he was noticed by the police and arrested in 2003. He was sentenced to three years in jail by the Qiqihar court. His wife was also harassed.

When he was released from jail in 2011, he was no longer able to find employment in Heilongjiang and decided to move to Shandong. Once he had settled in Qingdao, he resumed practicing Falun Gong.

For this reason, he was one of the victims of the 2021 raid. He was detained on June 2 and formally arrested on July 9. He was charged under article 300 of the Chinese Criminal Code for being active in a xie jiao. Although a first case against him was withdrawn for lack of evidence, on March 18, 2022, he was tried by remote video by the Huangdao District Court. He refused to sign a declaration renouncing Falun Gong and was sentenced to 8 years in jail. His is a clear case of a practitioner sentenced just for practicing Falun Gong and refusing to “repent”; these were his only crimes.

He is currently serving his sentence in Jiaonan Prison, Qingdao City.

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