Wife Seeks Release of Husband and Lawyer in China
Falun Gong practitioner seeks help in the United States
Tian Lu is a quiet young woman with bright eyes and a winning smile—until the conversation moves to her family. That family has been shattered, and Ms. Tian has fled to the United States from China to try to rescue her husband and the lawyer who sought to help them.
Known to her friends as Lu Lu, Ms. Tian has suffered imprisonment and torture; her husband and the lawyer who tried to defend him have been imprisoned and tortured; and her grandmother, her husband’s mother, and her husband’s grandfather have died prematurely due to worry over her and her husband, Lu Lu says.
Lu Lu and her husband both practice Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, a spiritual discipline that involves doing meditative exercises and living according to moral teachings based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.
The popularity of Falun Gong in China led the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in 1999 to begin a campaign to “eradicate” the practice.
Even so, Lu Lu decided to begin practicing Falun Gong in 2005. “I was drawn to the principles of Falun Gong and especially to the kindness of Falun Gong practitioners,” she said.
She and her husband, Cong Rixu, felt they had a responsibility to tell others about the persecution and about Falun Gong. China’s state-run media does not report on the persecution, it only carries what human rights organizations have called the state’s hate propaganda against Falun Gong.
The couple believes that the key to ending the persecution is to educate the Chinese people. Only the Chinese people’s ignorance about Falun Gong and about the CCP’s campaign against Falun Gong allows the persecution to continue, they believe.
One of the ways Lulu and Rixu educated their fellow Chinese was to post fliers. On Jan. 13, 2009, they posted a banner that said, “Falun Dafa is Good” on a wall in their hometown of Dalian, and three plainclothes policemen arrested them.
When Rixu’s mother, Ms. Zhang Xiucheng, heard the news of her son’s arrest, she passed out and went into shock, only regaining consciousness in the hospital emergency room.
The city of Dalian is in Liaoning Province, which, according to the Falun Dafa Information Center, is one of the deadliest places in China to be a Falun Gong practitioner.
Lulu recalls the last glimpse she had of Rixu, in the Dalian Detention Center. Police were circling around him and beating him.
In his court testimony, Rixu described how on March 2 the police took his picture and finger prints—he had refused to cooperate. “An officer kicked me in the lower back and slapped my face over and over again. He then banged my head against the wall several times, kicked me to the ground, and trampled my body, head, chest, and lower back. My nose and mouth bled, the entire right side of my head was swollen, and my lower lip was open and swollen as well. Then four officers lifted me to the table and took my fingerprints."
Lu Lu spent 31 days in jail during which she suffered constant abuse. She went on a hunger strike, losing 20 pounds from her small and slim frame. Eventually she was released on Feb. 12.
Her husband was not so lucky. He was held for trial.
Upon her return home, Lu Lu was hardly left in peace. Public Security agents visited her family regularly, interrogating and intimidating them.
Her family was in a constant state of anxiety, worrying that each time the agents visited, Lu Lu might get snatched back into detention. On March 9, her grandmother died, a death Lu Lu believes was brought on by the stress of the constant police harassment.
Her parents moved from their home of 20 years, to a new apartment to escape the constant harassment.
Lu Lu went to Beijing to find a lawyer and was followed by security agents.
She turned to Mr. Wang Yonghang, an attorney who had defended Falun Gong practitioners several times in the past.
Defending Falun Gong practitioners is not allowed in China, and Wang had paid heavily for his advocacy. He had been fired from his job and his law license had been revoked.
Nonetheless, Wang came to Dalian to defend Rixu on June 16. After he got up to speak for Rixu and enter a plea of not guilty—Falun Gong practitioners are not allowed to plea “not guilty”—the judges adjourned the trial. Even though the trial was adjourned, the court later handed down a three-year prison sentence to Rixu.
When Rixu’s grandfather heard the news, he had a stroke and became paralyzed.
Rixu was refused a request to visit his ill grandfather and his mother, whose health, since she had passed out the day of his arrest, had remained fragile.
On July 4, one of the most powerful members of the CCP, Zhou Yongkang, who is responsibile for the entire legal system, personally ordered Wang’s arrest.
During a beating Wang suffered after the arrest, his ankle was broken. Treatment was refused, the broken bones shifted and infection set in. A month later surgery was performed, but Wang now walks with a limp. He has been sentenced to 7 years in prison.
In prison, Wang tried to stop guards from beating Falun Gong practitioners. As punishment, the guards violently force-fed him, nearly suffocating him. The guards handcuffed and left him lying on the floor for 48 hours.Read More…
Escape to the United States
Lu Lu had exhausted the meager possibilities open to her in China for helping her husband. On Dec. 24, with the help of family and friends, she managed to leave China for Singapore. After studying English for six months in Singapore, she made it to the United States.
Getting out of a China for a Falun Gong practitioner is not easy. Of the tens of millions targeted in the persecution, roughly 1,000 have successfully obtained asylum.
Mr. Shizhong Chen is the director of the Falun Gong Human Rights Working Group. “There are now over 1,000 Falun Gong practitioners who have escaped China and receive refugee protection in different countries,” Chen said. “They testify how difficult it was for them to escape China and how they were extremely lucky to get out alive.”
Lu Lu had strong reasons for getting out. The police, on one of their visits to her home, told Lu Lu that the 610 Office, the office whose sole function is persecuting Falun Gong, had plans to send her to a Labor Camp for 3 years.
She fled for safety, but she also saw an opportunity in leaving China.
“I wanted to rescue my husband and our lawyer, and I wanted a free life,” she said. “I also wanted the chance to tell the Chinese people what had happened. I want the Chinese people to know the truth about what the CCP is doing.”
In the United States, Lu Lu has started a blog (http://tianlu.blog.epochtimes.com/) in Chinese and English, has collected signatures on a petition, told her story at rallies, and sought out U.S. congressmen, asking them to intervene for her husband and Wang.
In China, Rixu has served two years of his three-year sentence. In prison Rixu has suffered from torture, rape, and brutal interrogations, Lu Lu says. The food is very poor, and he has lost a good deal of weight.
After Rixu’s arrest, the police started visiting Rixu’s ill mother regularly and harassing her. Chen says, “The police often coerce and intimidate practitioners’ family members and then send them to kneel and beg practitioners to renounce their belief.”
Rixu’s mother resisted police demands that she cooperate with them, but on Jan. 8, 2011, she passed away at the age of 53. On Feb. 17, 2011, Rixu’s grandfather also died.
Chen expects the police will now tell Rixu he is responsible for his family members’ deaths, a practice Chen said could not be crueler.
The shattering of Lu Lu and Rixu’s family is not unusual. Chen has documented hundreds of cases, for instance, where both parents were Falun Gong practitioners, were arrested, and killed by torture, leaving their children orphaned.
Lu Lu continues to work to release her husband and the lawyer whose defense of her husband came at such a high price.