The Chinese Communist Party has sent a couple who practice Falun Dafa (法輪大法) — a qigong meditation form persecuted since July 20, 1999 — to six and five years in prison for developing or maintaining software that allows Chinese to bypass the regime’s notorious Great Firewall Internet censorship scheme.
On June 12, the Party’s persecutory organs handed down the sentence to He Binggang and his fiancée Zhang Yibo after they were arrested in October 2021, the Falun Dafa Information Center (FalunInfo) reported.
Falun Dafa is also commonly known as Falun Gong.
An October 2022 article published by Minghui, a website that focuses on the persecution and practice of Falun Dafa with a specialty on the situation inside mainland China, stated that the Party launched a widespread campaign against the suspected developers and maintainers of oGate.
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Minghui reports the campaign was launched in July 2021 and the Party’s persecutory organs used “torture and hard drive decryption” in addition to “additional information gathered under duress” from an arrested group to track down and arrest most oGate members inside of China.
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The persecutors not only also deployed a campaign of cyberwarfare to take down oGate servers housed outside of China, but deployed thugs to sack the houses of “some overseas technical personnel.”
FalunInfo said that He, a 46-year-old who was already rendered a quadriplegic after being wounded during a previous bout of imprisonment by the regime in 2010, was denied due process after being charged.
The Epoch Times reported on the case that He was a computer prodigy from a young age, developing software at the age of 15 that helped the blind use computers through the usage of audible aides, a feat that won multiple industry awards.
The man entered Fudan University in 1994 and entered the graduate program after a four year period.
However, shortly after Jiang launched the persecution campaign, He was arrested in 2000 for practicing Falun Dafa, handed a six year sentence at a Shanghai prison, and was expelled.
Less is reported about Zhang Yibo. However, a 2010 article published by Minghui states that she and her mother were arrested in 2009 in Shanghai for their faith and sentenced to 1.5 years in prison.
Her mother was given a 3.5 year prison sentence.
Other persecuted members of the oGate group include Guo Xuhong, who was slapped with a 3.5 year prison sentence and a 20,000 yuan fine for her participation in the project, Minghui reported in March.
Zhang Bing, a resident of Hunan Province, was arrested in 2021 and reportedly released after 10 days.
Minghui noted in a September 2022 article that Zhang had been arrested again shortly after their release, following which their whereabouts were unknown for at least six months.