NEW YORK, November 4, 2002 (Falun Dafa Information Center) -- New York City resident Celia Wang learned Friday that her husband, Yuhui Zhang, had been secretly sentenced to ten years in a Chinese prison in Zhuhai City, Guangzhou Province.
Yuhui Zhang together with his daughter and son in Macao in 1998. Mr. Zhang was sentenced to ten years in a Chinese prison for authoring pro-Falun Gong articles.
Mr. Zhang’s sentence appears to be linked to a series of articles he authored in 1999, while living in Macao. Mr. Zhang’s articles were carried by a number of websites and newspapers, including the World Daily, and were considered by many China-watchers to be effective in debunking Jiang Zemin’s propaganda campaign -- which sought to demonize Falun Gong -- by discussing the nature of the practice, while also revealing many facts about how the persecution started and why.
Mr. Zhang’s relatives say he had been illegally detained in Zhuhai City’s Meixi No.2 Detention Center for nearly two years. Ms. Wang says that recent news from Mr. Zhang’s lawyer, however, confirms that Mr. Zhang had actually been secretly sentenced to ten years in prison.
Along with reports of her husband’s secret sentencing, Ms. Wang also learned on Friday that he has been suffering "long term torture" that she says their lawyer describes as "beyond imagination."
Speaking from her home in New York, Ms. Wang said, "This is a fanatical persecution." She also says she will launch an appeal immediately.
An International "Family Rescue" Case
Mr. Zhang’s case (website) had been part of an international effort to rescue family members who had been detained or sentenced to forced labor camps in China merely for peacefully exercising their freedom of assembly, speech and belief, rights guaranteed in China’s constitution. Since the international "Family Rescue" (news / website) effort was launched in July, four family members in China have been released from forced labor camps.
One of the organizers of the international "Family Rescue" effort, Mr. Haiying He, said yesterday from Chicago; "we will do everything in our power to call for help from U.S. government officials and human rights organizations to rescue Mr. Yuhui Zhang."
Imprisoned for Sharing Ideas, Insights on Falun Gong
The 37-year-old Mr. Zhang graduated from the Beijing Foreign Trade University. He immigrated to Macao in the early 1990s. After Jiang Zemin ordered the crackdown on Falun Gong in July 1999, Mr. Zhang authored and posted a series of articles on the Internet, discussing the nature of the Falun Gong practice, and exposing many facts behind the persecution campaign against the practice that called into question much of the propaganda the Chinese state-run media was producing. "Many websites and newspapers, including the World Daily, published Mr. Zhang’s articles," notes Falun Dafa Information Center spokesperson Dr. Shiyu Zhou. "The articles were very insightful and made a significant impact on people…they really made people think about what was happening at that time."
According to AFP and the Central News Agency, Chinese police arrested Mr. Zhang in October 1999, while he was on a business trip to China reportedly due to concerns that Mr. Zhang would organize demonstrations during Macao’s return to Chinese rule. Mr. Zhang was released in December 1999, but his passport was confiscated, effectively obstructing him from returning to Macao to rejoin his family.
Mr. Zhang remained in Zhuhai City, and was arrested again in December 2000.
"After Yuhui was arrested in December 2000, the police never once allowed us to visit him," remembers Ms. Wang. "Our lawyer was also prohibited from getting involved, and so Yuhui’s ten-year sentence was never made known to us…until now."
According to a February 2002 report from the Hong Kong Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy, Mr. Zhang was initially accused of "subversion" because he gathered information about Falun Gong practitioners being persecuted throughout China and posted this information on the Internet.
According to the Center’s report, however, the evidence was not sufficient to secure a conviction, and in September 2001, the charges were changed to utilize laws targeting "heretical organizations" that were, according to a November 2, 1999, article from the Washington Post, rubber-stamped by the People’s Congress for the purpose of legalizing the persecution of Falun Gong: "When [China’s Communist leaders] found themselves without the laws they need to rigorously persecute a peaceful meditation society, the Party simply ordered up some new laws," the article reported.
Under these new charges, Mr. Zhang was sentenced to ten years in prison.
Nine other Falun Gong practitioners who had been arrested with Mr. Zhang were also sentenced. Six of the practitioners were students of China’s prestigious Tsinghua University, commonly called China’s "M.I.T." Due to the visit of U.S. President Bush the following February and his plans to speak at Tsinghua University (news), an official announcement of the sentences was not made.
A Family Torn Apart
Mr. Zhang has two children. His son is 7 years old, and living with his mother in New York City. His daughter is 4 years old and is being taken care of by family members in Mainland China.
Ms. Wang said, "Two children have not seen their father in two years. This persecution in China has torn our family apart."