Renyuan Zhao & Jianxin Xie

Names: Renyuan Zhao and Jianxin Xie

Country/Area of Origin: Guilin City, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China

Background: :  Jianxin Xie was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in his 30s and had to quit his job and retire early. He recovered three months after he took up Falun Gong. He had never been detained before. Mr. Jianxin Xie’s wife, Renyuan Zhao, 66 years old, started practicing Falun Gong after Xie recovered from his disease. She had no prior history of detention. Ms. Zhao’s older sister Wendy currently resides in the United States.

Reason for Arrest:

On 5 February 2020, Mr. Xie and his wife, Zhao, were arrested by the police from Guilin Qixing police station for the alleged purpose of “checking body temperature.” The officers confiscated Falun Gong books and other related paraphernalia. On 8 February 2020, the police admitted that they were arrested for handing out Falun Gong materials. On 6 November 2020, a hearing was held on a virtual platform, where their lawyer entered a not-guilty plea for them. They also testified in their own defense and talked about how they had benefited from practicing Falun Gong. On 1 December 2020, Mr. Xie and Ms. Zhao were both sentenced to three years in prison and were fined 10,000 yuan for “using a heterodox religion to undermine the implementation of law.” Ms. Zhao appealed her case with the Guilin City Intermediate Court on 7 December 2020. On 9 December 2020, Ms. Zhao was transferred to the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Women’s Prison in Nannin and was jailed at the fifth prison area. On 8 April 2021, Mr. Xie was sent to the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Liuzhou Prison and was jailed in the tenth prison area. It was reported that Mr. Xie is having gastrointestinal bleeding in the detention center.

Latest Updates:

  • May 2021: According to an email from Ms. Zhao’s older sister in May 2021, since 6 February 2020, the detention center and prison have used the pandemic as a reason to refuse any contact between the couple and their family members. Communication via mail cannot be guaranteed either. In addition, Xie’s family is very worried about his health, given the gastrointestinal bleeding situation.

Picture: Renyuan Zhao (left) and Jianxin Xie (right)