These mass arrests constitute the largest campaign since July 1999 when the Chinese authorities rounded up tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners in makeshift detention centers and stadiums. Many were taken from their homes in the middle of the night.
Wave of Withdrawals – One Million Renounce the Communist Party
Reports from China say this wave of arrests is in direct response to the growing popularity of the “Nine Commentaries on the Chinese Communist Party” (text | about), a series of essays published by The Epoch Times providing a stark view of the CCP’s pattern of suppression and killing over the last 60 years in China.
The publication of the Commentaries has triggered a growing movement in China where Party members are publicly withdrawing at a rate of 20,000 (on average) per day. To date, more than 1 million have posted their withdrawal from the Party on a website established for that purpose. (www.tuidang.org)
Secret Orders from the Top
Believing Falun Gong practitioners participated in the publication and distribution of the Nine Commentaries, CCP authorities in Beijing have declared Falun Gong to be a “reactionary political organization” and attempted to create an atmosphere and justification for widespread suppression.
In March, authorities issued internal documents ordering the ransacking of Falun Gong practitioners' homes throughout the country. A policeman in Wuhan sympathetic to Falun Gong who saw one of the documents says it states “anyone found with a copy of the Nine Commentaries would be sentenced to a four-year jail term.”
Last night, Shandong Province began enforcing martial law conditions and arresting Falun Gong practitioners en masse. In Jinan City, Shandong’s capital, emergency police vehicles were stationed at intersections and inspecting all vehicles passing by. According to one eye-witness, it was clear that authorities were targeting Falun Gong practitioners because they did not check the vehicle’s inspection or the driver’s license. Instead, they stopped vehicles and checked if the driver “looked kind.” Knowing the practice embraces traditional values and ethical living, over the past several years Chinese police have refined techniques for identifying individuals who practice Falun Gong by asking detainees to curse, or exhibit cruel behavior.
On April 6 and 7, Yifeng County, Jiangxi Province carried out a large–scale suppression across the whole county, kidnapping anyone believed to be “firm in practicing Falun Gong.”
On April 10, the police department in Guangan, Sichuan Province convened a secret meeting for five consecutive days to make plans for implementing the suppression orders in their region.
Police departments in Urumqi (Inner Mongolia) recently began posting rewards on bulletin boards for information leading to the capture of local Falun Gong practitioners. One observer noted, however, that authorities did not put any official seal on the postings, fearing to leave evidence of the persecutory tactic.