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There's been a brutal persecution going on in China since 1999—the Chinese regime's persecution against people who practice Falun Gong. For years, few people inside China have dared to speak out against the persecution for fear the regime will also persecute them. But now in one town in northern Hebei Province, over two thousand residents have put their names on a letter, urging authorities there to free a man they say is a good person.
In China's Hebei Province, 2300 people are calling for the release of a man jailed for his belief. Authorities detained 38-year-old Zhou Xiangyang in March because he practices Falun Gong. It's a spiritual practice the Chinese Communist Party has been persecuting since 1999.
Residents from Zhou's hometown in Tangshan want Zhou to be freed because, they say, he has done nothing wrong.
Zhou's 2300 supporters co-signed this letter. They are demanding that those responsible for torturing Zhou are brought to justice. Chinese authorities imprisoned Zhou before in 2003 for nine years. During that time he was beaten, shocked with electric batons, force-fed and denied family visits. These are common forms of torture the Chinese Communist Party uses to force Falun Gong adherents to give up their belief.
When Zhou was taken again by authorities in March this year, he went on a hunger strike to protest the detention. His supporters say he should not be persecuted for his belief in Falun Gong, which teaches the principles of truth, compassion and tolerance.
[Supporter for Zhou Xiangyang]:
"I quite agree with Falun Gong's teachings that guide people to be kind and good. I'm hurt to see Zhou Xiangyang tortured like this. We all want to protect him, and want him to be freed soon."