(Minghui.org) On the day of the Mid-Autumn Festival, a traditional holiday for family reunions, a 74-year-old woman in Dezhou City was sentenced to four years in prison and fined 20,000 yuan for refusing to give up her faith in Falun Gong.
Ms. Gao Guoxiang was arrested with another practitioner, Ms. Dong Juan, on October 21, 2017. They two had been distributing information about the persecution of Falun Gong, a mind-body practice based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. The police ransacked their homes and confiscated their Falun Gong books.
The police harassed the women's families on November 19, 2017. While Ms. Dong was later released after the police extorted 20,000 yuan from her family, Ms. Gao remained in Dezhou Detention Center and was sentenced on September 24, 2018, Mid-Autumn Festival day.
Ms. Gao began practicing Falun Gong in 1998 and she credited the practice for improving her health and character. She was repeatedly targeted for her efforts to let people know about the persecution that began in 1999.
Over the past 19 years, she was arrested and detained nine times. The police ransacked her home three times and extorted a total of 32,600 yuan from her family.
She was subjected to savage beatings, intensive brainwashing, and forced labor while in detention.
On June 6, 2007, Ms. Gao was given 1.5 years of forced labor for distributing Falun Gong materials. At Ji'nan No.1 Women's Forced Labor Camp, she was forced to watch propaganda videos attacking Falun Gong every day and ordered to write a statement renouncing her faith. The guards later made her work between 14 and 16 hours a day while almost starving her.
In January 2010, Ms. Gao was arrested again for distributing materials. The police held her in the Ling County Detention Center for nine days. There was no heat in the facility and it was about 0°F outside. They gave her only a very thin comforter. The police extorted 12,000 yuan from her daughter before letting her go.
Related report in Chinese:山东德州七旬高国香被警察入室抢劫