(Minghui.org) A husband and wife in Qingdao City were each sentenced to 8 years in prison and fined 30,000 yuan for their efforts to expose the Chinese communist regime’s persecution of Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.

Mr. Jin Yongxin, 60, and Ms. Bian Lixun, 58, are parents to renowned pianist Jin Yuanhui, who was born blind. The local TV station once extensively covered the couple’s story of raising their son and lauded them as great inspirations to other parents.

The same couple, however, was targeted when the persecution of Falun Gong began. Both Mr. Jin and Ms. Bian credit Falun Gong for returning them to health and giving them strength to face life’s adversities. As such, they never shied away from telling people that Falun Gong is not at all as depicted by the Chinese communist regime.

Police began to tap Mr. Jin’s phone in 2015. They also installed a surveillance camera across the street from his mother’s house. Ms. Bian was arrested on December 2, 2016 while visiting her mother-in-law. Her husband was arrested hours later while inquiring about his wife’s situation at the local police station.

The couple’s case was returned to police in mid-April 2017, citing insufficient evidence. The police tried again on June 6 and the local procuratorate indicted the couple on the same day.

Mr. Jin and Ms. Bian were tried in a makeshift courtroom inside the Pudong Detention Center on July 18. Their lawyer argued that no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong and that his clients should never have been prosecuted for exercising their constitutional right to freedom of belief.

The lawyer also argued that the arresting officers never produced any search warrant when they seized Ms. Bian. He also raised concerns about the following sentence included in the indictment, “Qingdao National Security Bureau transferred the case to us on February 26, 2016, and we [Qingdao Shibei Police Office, which is Mr. Jin’s local police station] received evidence of how the couple produced Falun Gong materials and promoted Falun Gong.”

The lawyer argued that such a case transfer violated the law. There was no official document indicating that the Qingdao National Security Bureau formally made the case transfer, nor was there any proof showing which individual was in charge of the transfer.

The lawyer concluded that the case against his clients lacked legal basis from the beginning.

There was a person in police uniform videotaping the court proceedings. When the lawyer objected to such behavior, judge Song Zhengfeng said he ordered the taping but refused to disclose the identity of the person.

Song sentenced the couple to prison on September 1 and mailed the verdict to their lawyer.

The couple’s family visited the local court upon learning of the sentencing from the lawyer. Song refused to tell them when the couple was sentenced or how long their sentence was.

As the lawyer was out of town, the family rushed to hire a new lawyer to file appeals for the couple before the deadline. Mr. Jin and Ms. Bian are now awaiting results of their appeal case.

Related Report:

Parents of Renowned Blind Pianist Tried for Practicing Falun Gong