(Minghui.org) Four women in Nanchong City were secretly sentenced to prison for refusing to renounce Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime.

Ms. Wang Fengying, Ms. Chen Yixin, Ms. Cao Xiaolan and her sister, Ms. Cao Shulan were arrested along with seven other local Falun Gong practitioners on September 1, 2016.

Ms. Cao Xiaolan was later released on bail after a medical examination revealed a tumor, while the other three women remain detained.

Ms. Wang’s family had tried to visit her at the local Huafeng Detention Center since May 2017, but were always told she was not held there. They then hired a lawyer, who learned that Ms. Wang was still detained there but denied family visits.

Ms. Wang’s lawyer mailed his defense arguments to the Gaoping District Court. Only then did the court inform the lawyer that Ms. Wang, Ms. Chen, and the Cao sisters had been sentenced to prison in July 2017 and that they had agreed to not appeal. The court didn’t say when the women were tried or sentenced or why it didn’t issue any formal verdicts to the practitioners’ lawyers and families.

Ms. Wang’s family rushed to the detention center upon hearing the news from the lawyer. They were finally allowed to see Ms. Wang, who told them that she was given 1.5 years in prison and fined 3,000 yuan. The detention center guards said that she’d soon be moved to Yangmahe Women’s Prison.

The exact sentences of the other three practitioners remain to be investigated. Ms. Cao Xiaolan revealed that she was ordered to report to court on July 17, when she was tried at the same time as her sister, Ms. Wang and Ms. Chen. Ms. Cao, however, was taken back into custody days after the trial.

According to insiders, a male practitioner named Wang Guli was also sentenced to prison, though it is unclear when he was arrested or tried.

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