(Minghui.org) Two elderly residents of Fengcheng City were sentenced to prison for spreading information about Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime.

Mr. Zhang Qinggui, 69, was given 3 years and 8 months and fined 5,000 yuan. Ms. Zhang Shengqin (no relation), 65, was sentenced to 3.5 years and fined 5,000 yuan.

The verdicts came as no surprise to the two Falun Gong practitioners’ families, as they learned from insiders two months ago that the local Political and Legal Affairs Committee (PLAC) had already ordered convictions of both practitioners.

A nonjudicial agency, the PLAC is given power to override the judicial system in the Chinese communist regime’s campaign to eradicate Falun Gong. During the trial of the two practitioners on July 25, 2017, two staff members from the local PLAC were seen directing the court proceedings. The three judges present, Wang Chongze, Yu Xiumin and Wang Li, often looked for signals from the PLAC staff before making the next move.

The judges sentenced Mr. Zhang and Ms. Zhang to prison two days later. Ms. Zhang hired a new lawyer to appeal her case. When she met with her lawyer on August 11, she revealed that she was never informed of the court date. She thought she was going to be interrogated when she was driven straight to the courthouse. She only had a tank top on at the time and firmly refused to attend the trial unless she had a jacket on. The judges had no way but ask her son to go get an outfit for her.

Both Mr. Zhang and Ms. Zhang have been forced to do hard labor without pay since their arrest on January 22, 2017. As a result of the months-long abuse, Mr. Zhang is now suffering from coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, varicose veins, and vasculitis. Ms. Zhang, who is still adjusting to her new dentures that she got shortly before her arrest, has trouble chewing and is now very thin.