110 Cases of Falun Gong Practitioners Sentenced for Their Faith Reported in March 2017
(Minghui.org) According to information compiled by Minghui.org, the month of March 2017 recorded 110 new cases of Falun Gong practitioners sentenced to prison by the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) court system.
Among the 110 new cases, 86 practitioners were sentenced in 2017, and 24 were sentenced in 2016. Due to the CCP’s information blockade, 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 lengths of sentences range from 6 months to 7 years, with an average term of 3.8 years. Five of the sentenced practitioners were fined a total of 30,000 yuan. Two other practitioners had a total of 13,000 yuan extorted by police.
The sentenced practitioners hail from 23 provinces and centrally-controlled municipalities, and they come from all walks of life, including a medical doctor, a former journalist, and a teacher. Some of them had been repeatedly arrested or sentenced for their faith.
Heilongjiang Man Given a Second 7-Year Prison Term for His Faith
Mr. Tan Fengjiang of Yichun City was arrested on September 9, 2013 for sending text messages exposing the persecution of Falun Gong. He moved to Harbin City for work after he was released on bail 15 days later.
Yichun police issued a warrant for him three years later, and he was captured in late September 2016 while doing personal business at a bank. He was brought back to Yichun, where he was sentenced to 7 years about one month later. The local higher court rejected his appeal without holding a hearing as requested. He was transferred to Hulan Prison in Harbin City in late February 2017.
This was the second 7-year prison term Mr. Tan had received for his faith. Back in 2006 he was seized from home and soon sentenced to 7 years, during which time he was brutally tortured in prison.
A school teacher in Changling County was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison and fined 10,000 yuan for refusing to renounce Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime.
Ms. Chu Zhanfeng was arrested on October 31, 2016, and the local authorities threatened to revoke the license of any local lawyer who dared to represent her. Her family had no choice but hire an out-of-town lawyer to defend her constitutional right to freedom of belief.
The lawyer, though, never got his application to represent Ms. Chu accepted by Changling County Court, as he didn’t have the paperwork demanded by Judge Yin Wanxin.
Yin asked the lawyer to provide permission documents from the latter’s local judicial bureau and the Songyuan County Judicial Bureau, authorizing him to represent Ms. Chu. The two judicial bureaus both said they never issue such documents, since lawyers have the full right to choose who to represent.
Ms. Chu was secretly tried on February 13, 2017. When her family found out about the trial, they protested the court’s failure to notify them as required by law. One clerk claimed that the court didn’t have the family’s phone numbers, when in fact they called the family only weeks ago to say that Ms. Chu’s case had been forwarded to the court.
Yin announced the guilty verdict against Ms. Chu during the sentencing hearing on March 28. Ms. Chu said she would appeal the unjust sentence.
Heilongjiang Dermatologist Sentenced to 4.5 Years
Ms. Wang Liyan was a doctor at Mudangjiang City Skin Disease Prevention Research Center in Heilongjiang Province. She was sentenced to 4.5 years on December 26, 2016 for refusing to renounce Falun Gong.
Her lawyer protested the illegally obtained prosecution evidence and appealed the verdict. Judge Wu Degang of Mudanjiang City Intermediate Court ruled in January 2017 to uphold the original sentence without holding an open hearing as requested by the lawyer.
Ms. Wang’s family later filed complaints against Judge Liu Hui of the lower court and Judge Wu of the higher court for violating legal procedures in Ms. Wang’s case.
Former Journalist Sentenced to 1.5 Years
Ms. He Xiaolin of Leshan City, Sichuan Province received an 18-month prison sentence on March 9, 2017 for telling people on the Internet about the persecution of Falun Gong. The local police had monitored her for months before raiding her home in June 2016. They confiscated more than 40 Falun Gong books, a computer, a cell phone and other valuables.
Ms. He formerly worked as a newspaper reporter before becoming a government employee. She is the sole caregiver in the family. Her husband is paralyzed, and her daughter was injured in an accident and has not yet recovered.