(Minghui.org) A Meizhou City resident sentenced for his faith saw his appeal turned down without receiving the open hearing he had requested.

Mr. Lai Jiefu was arrested on May 1, 2016 while posting sticky notes bearing information about Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime.

His lawyer entered a not guilty plea for him when he was tried on August 10, 2016. The lawyer argued that no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong and that his client should not have been prosecuted for exercising his constitutional right to freedom of belief and freedom of the press.

Mr. Lai was sentenced to 4.5 years and fined 3,000 yuan two months later. His motorbike was also impounded.

He requested an open session for his appeal, but Meizhou City Intermediate Court issued a decision on December 20 to uphold the original verdict.

Mr. Lai had been arrested before for refusing to renounce Falun Gong. In one such case, he was held at a brainwashing center for one month in 2001.