Separated More Than a Decade for Their Faith, Couple Torn Apart 20 Days Into Reunion

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Mr. Chen Xiangyang finally reunited with his wife Ms. Chen Wen on March 28, 2018, after he was done serving 12 years in prison. Their reunion lasted only twenty days as Ms. Chen was arrested again on April 17, 2018, and later sentenced to 9.5 years.

The married couple in Nanchang City, Jiangxi Province were targeted for their shared belief in Falun Gong. Ms. Chen’s latest prison sentence follows a previous 9-year term.

Latest Prison Sentencing

Ms. Chen was arrested on her way to work on April 17, 2018. Police also arrested her son at their home and detained him at the Nanchang County Detention Center with her. The home of Chen’s parents was also ransacked, and her father’s computer was confiscated.

Ms. Chen stood trial at the Xihu District Court on September 16, 2019. She argued that practicing Falun Gong is part of her constitutionally protected rights and no harm came to others through practicing her faith. The judge constantly interrupted her defense and adjourned the hearing in forty minutes. 

She was sentenced to nine years and six months in October 2019 and is currently serving time at Jiangxi Province Women’s Prison. 

Previous Prison Terms

After the persecution of Falun Gong began in 1999, Chen and her husband Mr. Chen worked hard to raise awareness about the illegality of the persecution. 

Mr. Chen and 23 other practitioners were arrested in September 2004 and taken to a brainwashing center hosted by the Nanchang 610 Office, an extralegal agency specifically created to persecute Falun Gong. He was detained for seven days. Because Mr. Chen remained steadfast in his faith, guards savagely beat him. The beating caused him to later vomit blood.

After being released, Chen and his wife rented an apartment and used it to print informational materials for other local practitioners to distribute. 

On March 27, 2006, officers from Qingyunpu District Police Department ransacked the couple’s home when no one was around. After the couple’s son, then an elementary school student, returned home to see the aftermath of the police raid, he went to the rental apartment to tell his parents about it. The police followed the boy to the rental apartment and arrested his parents the next day. All of their equipment andabank certificate of deposit with 18,000 yuan on it were confiscated.

Ms. Chen was taken to Daishan Police Station in Qingyunpu District in the evening. During the early hours of the cold, still spring morning, heart-piercing screams could be heard from the interrogation room of the police station. 

On the afternoon of March 29, 2006, Ms. Chen and another female practitioner were transferred to the “510 Guest House” (formerly a secret place for exiled members of the Chinese Communist Party). 

There, Ms. Chen was hung up with both of her hands tied to the window and legs pulled straight to both sides into a split. Persecutors then then repeatedly shook her from side to side while pulling her back and forth for 36 hours. During the process she was also forced to keep her eyes open.

The inhuman torture caused damage in her back, pain over her whole body, and loss of sensation in both of her hands.

After their arrest, Mr. Chen, was also persecuted. He was brutally beaten at a detention center, which resulted in injuries all over his body, especially on his head. He has had frequent headaches since.

On October 20, 2006, Ms. Chen, Mr. Chen, and three other practitioners were tried by the Qingyunpu District Court. When Mr. Chen’s father urged the judge not to sentence the practitioners, he was removed from the courtroom. Shortly after, the judge announced that Ms. Chen was sentenced to nine years in prison and Mr. Chen to twelve years. 

Inhuman Persecution in Jiangxi Province Women’s Prison

After Ms. Chen was taken to Jiangxi Province Women’s Prison on December 20, 2006, she was subjected to constant brutal torture for upholding her faith.

The guards once handcuffed and hung her up by the wrists to the window for five days. She was also forced to stand facing the wall for long hours daily for five consecutive months, which caused severe swelling in her legs and feet. Due to the torture, she was unable to stand or walk a long period.

Authorities also used had inmates monitor Ms. Chen 24-hours a day. She was not allowed to sleep. Additionally, guards starved her by only giving her a glass of water every day and tortured her on a tiger bench. The physical torment caused her to physically decline and age quickly.

Torture illustration: tiger bench

In April 2009, the prison guards again instigated inmates to brutally torture Ms. Chen. They forced her to stand for several days without a break and deprived her of sleep. When she became sleepy and couldn’t keep her eyes open, they put essential oil in her eyes.

Ms. Chen was also confined in an isolation room for four months. There she was not allowed to shower or to change clothes and her meals were restricted to two per day. 

When Ms. Chen was finally released on September 7, 2013, she was not alert and often in a daze.

Husband’s 12-year Prison Term

Following the sentencing, Mr. Chen was taken to Nanchang Prison on December 21 without the knowledge of his family.

On January 5, 2007, he was transferred to Yuzhang Prison. As he refused to renounce his faith, he endured numerous kinds of torture, including isolation, beating, deprivation of sleep, and brainwashing. The long-term inhuman torture caused him to suffer a concussion, severe pain in the back, and swelling in the legs. The inmates also cut flesh off his thigh, which resulted in a festering wound and pain so unbearable it once caused him to lose consciousness. 

Having barely survived the torture, Mr. Chen was finally released on March 28, 2018, only to see his wife arrested again twenty days later.

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