(Minghui.org) Five women in Kunming City were sentenced to prison for distributing materials exposing the Chinese communist regime’s persecution of Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.

The five Falun Gong practitioners were arrested on September 24, 2016 and appeared in court on August 29, 2017. Ms. Zhu Yulian testified against the local police and prosecutors Ma Yunjie and Yang Yanpeng, who denied her request to hire a lawyer repeatedly.

There were two defense lawyers present in court, though it remains unclear which practitioners they represented. The lawyers argued that no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong, and that their clients should never have been prosecuted for following the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance to be good people.

The lawyers also questioned why none of the prosecution witnesses listed in the indictments were in court to face cross examination.

The lawyers demanded an acquittal. Judges Huang Jin, Zhang Xiuqin, and Wu Jie adjourned the session without issuing a verdict. They issued the following guilty verdicts against the five practitioners on October 16:

Ms. Zhu Yulian (57 years old): 3 years in prisonMs. Li Shixia (66 years old): 2 years in prisonMs. Lu Changying (76 years old): 2 years in prison, suspended for 3 yearsMs. Gao Qiongxian (75 years old): two years in prison, suspended for 3 yearsMs. Zhai Yuexian (80 years old): 1.5 years in prison, suspended for 2 years

This is not the first time that Ms. Gao has been targeted for her faith. She credits Falun Gong for helping her recover from vertigo and arthritis. As such, she never shied away from telling people that Falun Gong was nothing like depicted by the state propaganda. She was first arrested in July 2004 and given three years of forced labor. Upon being released in 2007, she resumed her efforts of informing the public of the illegal persecution of Falun Gong, for which she was arrested again in 2016.

Related article in Chinese:昆明五位法轮功学员遭晋宁区法院非法判刑