36 Falun Gong Practitioners Sentenced for Their Faith in August 2017
(Minghui.org) As the persecution of Falun Gong continues in China, Minghui.org has confirmed 36 cases of Falun Gong practitioners being sentenced for their faith by the Chinese Communist Party's court system in August 2017. The average prison term is 3.5 years.
Among them, Ms. Wang Yuzhen from Jilin Province was fined 40,000 yuan (approx. 6,000 USD), Mr. Liu Defu 20,000 yuan, Ms. Yang Shuyue 10,000 yuan, and Ms. Zhang Lanjun 5,000 yuan.
In addition, another 33 sentences that took place between March and July 2017 were confirmed in August. Due to the information blockade in China, the number of practitioners who were sentenced and the exact time of their sentencing cannot always be reported in a timely manner, nor is all the information readily available.
The full list of 36 practitioners sentenced in August can be found at the end of this report.
Mr. Zhang Jun from Chongqing was sentenced to five years in prison on August 22, 2017, for talking to people about Falun Gong.
Mr. Zhang, who had just begun practicing Falun Gong a year earlier, was arrested on May 24, 2016.
During his trial on October 26, 2016, the prosecutor failed to present physical evidence against him and showed only a few photos, based on which Mr. Zhang was charged. When his lawyer argued that those photos were not valid evidence for the charge, the presiding judge responded by adjourning the trial.
Despite the prosecution’s admission that it did not have legal basis for the charge of “using a cult to undermine law enforcement” during the second hearing on December 23, 2016, the court still sentenced him to five years of imprisonment on August 22, 2017.
Mr. Zhang has filed an appeal.
Hebei Man Sentenced for Writing Message on Utility Pole
Another Falun Gong practitioner, Mr. Fu Shengqiang, was sentenced to one year and nine months on August 1, 2017 for writing “Falun Dafa is good” on a utility pole.
Mr. Fu, from Wuhan, Hubei Province, was reported to the police and then arrested while writing the message on October 6, 2016. The police also confiscated Falun Gong-related materials from his car.
After the police put Mr. Fu in administrative detention, the procuratorate quickly approved his arrest and submitted the indictment to the court.
Mr. Fu was tried by Huangpi District Court on June 23, 2017. The court announced his verdict on August 1, 2017.
Mr. Fu appealed the sentence and also filed a complaint against the judge for convicting him without legal basis.
Tianjin Couple Sentenced to 6 Years Each After 2.5 Years of Detention
After more than two years of detention following their arrests in March 2015, Ms. Jiang Yahui and Mr. Yang Hong, a married couple, were sentenced to six years each on August 11, 2017.
The couple were detained at Nankai Detention Center in Tianjin after their arrests on March 2, 2015. They were tried by Nankai Court on January 8, 2016. The trial lasted more than five hours.
During the couple’s detention, their family members worked hard to rescue them and tried to persuade the court staff and government officials involved not to participate in the persecution.
After more than a year and half of effort, however, the judge announced the verdict in August 2017 after being pressured by the 610 Office, the extralegal agency tasked by the Communist Party leadership to carry out the suppression of Falun Gong.
Prior to the sentence, Ms. Jiang had been given two years of forced labor in 2006, where she was tortured by guards and inmates for refusing to renounce her faith.
Ms. Jing Huiling Sentenced to 18 Months After Lawyer Expelled from Courtroom
Ms. Jing Huiling was sentenced to 18 months in a show trial by Gaoxin District Court in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, on August 3, 2017.
The supposedly open trial was closed to the public. The few family members of Ms. Jing who were allowed to attend the trial had to go through a strict security check and had their personal identification carefully screened before they were allowed into the courtroom.
One of her lawyers was expelled by the judge when he requested the prosecutor to display all the evidence used to indict Ms. Jing.
Although Ms. Jing's another lawyer stayed in the courtroom, the judge frequently interrupted him and Ms. Jing as they spoke. As a result, the lawyer was unable to finish his closing argument.
After rushing through the court procedure, the judge announced the 18-month sentence.
Ms. Jing was arrested at home on June 21, 2016. The police ransacked her home and confiscated all her Falun Gong books and materials, as well as her personal computer and cellphone.
Although the procuratorate approved her arrest only seven days later, they later returned the case to the police station, citing insufficient evidence. The police returned to her home and collected her child's cell phone and computer, electronic equipment used for her personal business, as well as an old computer stored with her landlord, as new evidence against her.
Previous reports:575 Cases of Falun Gong Practitioners Sentenced for Their Faith Reported in the First Half of 201778 Cases of Falun Gong Practitioners Sentenced for Their Faith Reported in May 2017117 Cases of Falun Gong Practitioners Sentenced for Their Faith Reported in April 2017110 Cases of Falun Gong Practitioners Sentenced for Their Faith Reported in March 201772 Falun Gong Practitioners Sentenced for Their Faith in February 2017137 Cases of Falun Gong Practitioners Sentenced for Their Faith Reported in January 2017