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Earlier this month we reported that 2300 residents in Tangshan had signed a public letter calling for the release of Zhou Xiangyang, a Falun Gong practitioner detained by the Chinese regime. Zhou's wife was later detained too, and now 500 more people have signed a petition calling for her release. Falun Gong is one of the most severely persecuted groups in China and public displays of support are rare.
Chinese authorities detained a 38-year-old Falun Gong practitioner Zhou Xiangyang in March this year. He's currently imprisoned at Gangbei Prison in Tianjin. He was imprisoned for his belief in the spiritual practice. Falun Gong has been severely persecuted by the Chinese regime for the past 12 years.
After Zhou's detention, more than 2300 residents in his hometown of Tangshan signed a petition for his release. Many of those who signed were harassed by police.
On November 4th, Zhou's wife, Li Shanshan, was also detained. She was last seen at the Tangshan Legal Education Center, a facility where authorities persuade Falun Gong practitioners to renounce their beliefs. According to Amnesty International, police later told Li's family she had been sentenced to two years of re-education through labor.
Now 500 more supporters have signed a petition for her release.
Falun Gong Human Rights Working Group spokesperson Dr. Chen Shizhong says this public support for Falun Gong shows how the Chinese regime's propaganda has been disproved.
[Dr. Chen Shizhong, Falun Gong Human Rights Working Group]:
"The Communist regime has started rumors and has slandered Falun Gong throughout the whole society, but all of these lies and deceit have already been defeated."
NTD talked to a local resident who says they support Falun Gong.
"As for Falun Gong, I really support them, they teach people to be good."