Two people, who were detained by Shanghai State Security Police in October 2021 for developing software that circumvents the Great Firewall, received six- and five-year prison sentences on June 12, 2023.
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He Binggang and his fiancée Zhang Yibo, along with several others, were arrested on Oct. 9, 2021, for developing and maintaining software that helps people living in China access overseas internet platforms, according to the Falun Dafa Infocenter.
The Chinese regime set up Great Firewall (GFW), or Golden Shield Project, in 1998, which is managed by the regime’s Ministry of Public Security to monitor and censor what can and cannot be seen in China through an online network.
He and Zhang are Falun Gong adherents, a spiritual practice that has been persecuted inside China since 1999 and has been the subject of intense political propaganda.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual improvement practice based on principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance, with five slow-moving, gentle exercises that have significant physical benefits. The practice has been very popular in China, with an estimated 70 million to 100 million practitioners in the country before the Chinese communist regime began to persecute the belief and its followers in July 1999.
He and Zhang had developed software called oGate that allows Chinese people to freely access websites and information available outside of China but which are blocked by the GFW and otherwise unavailable inside China.
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Persecuted for Belief: Reports
He and Zhang have been subjected to long-term persecution by the Chinese regime for their belief in Falun Gong.
According to Minghui.org, the police denied He’s a lawyer from visiting him at Shanghai’s Changning District Detention Center. On March 10, 2022, his lawyer was allowed to talk to him on the phone at the detention center, but without seeing him in person.
His physical condition is very poor because of repeated torture by the Chinese regime.
“His neck issue and partial paralysis, which resulted from torture during [the] previous detention, worsened. He has now completely lost the ability to walk and has become bedridden. He has trouble falling asleep at night and suffers from constant dizziness, headache, and incontinence,” Minghui reported in June 2023.
He, 46, has been imprisoned two times previously.
He is a gifted software engineer, according to Minghui.org, a platform that tracks the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.
When he was 15 years old he created “Computerized Audible Aids for the Blind.” The invention won the Silver Award of the Sixth National Invention Award and the “Sixth Shanghai Yilida Youth Invention Award.”
He obtained a certificate in computer application software engineering as a senior programmer when he was only 16.
In 1994, He was admitted into Fudan University, and four years later he entered the graduate program.
In 2000, he was detained by police and later given a six-year sentence at Shanghai Tilanqiao Prison.
Fudan University expelled him.
In 2007, He was released and he began his own technological company. But in 2010, he was detained again for his spiritual practice.
According to a June report on Minghui.org, He was tortured when he was imprisoned for the second time, and the beatings caused him to become paralyzed due to severe spinal injuries. He was sentenced to five years in prison in April 2011 despite having been paralyzed.
Zhang was a business manager for a foreign company. The Xuhui Court sentenced her to one and a half years in prison in 2009 for her spiritual practice, according to Minghui.org.
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