(Minghui.org) Tianjin First Intermediate Court issued a decision on March 9 to uphold a space scientist's 7-year prison sentence for practicing Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime.

The higher court's decision was made without an appeal hearing or knowledge of the defense lawyer. Mr. Xiong Huifeng's family did not receive the verdict until 20 days later, at which time his lawyer was still kept in the dark. The family also received notice that the 78-year-old man had been transferred to prison.

Mr. Xiong was a former researcher and deputy director of the 8358 Research Institute of the Ministry of Space Industry. He was also a director on the board of the Chinese Society of Astronautics and enjoyed a special government allowance reserved for the best scientists in the nation. He had won many awards during his career.

He was arrested on August 26, 2014 for refusing to renounce his faith and sentenced after two hearings in late 2015.

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