(Minghui.org) A renowned Chinese space scientist was sentenced to 7.5 years in 2015 at the age of 78 for practicing Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline persecuted by the communist regime since 1999.

It was recently reported that Mr. Xiong Huifeng, now 80, lost all of his teeth during the 1.5 years he was detained following his arrest in August 2014 and before he was taken to prison in March 2016. Because the prison refused to provide dental care, he is having difficulty eating and is emaciated. He can hardly get out of bed. He also suffers from recurring colds and fevers.

Mr. Xiong Huifeng and his wife Ms. Liu Yuanjie

Mr. Xiong's family and his lawyer went to the Tianjin Prison Administration Office on March 29, 2018, to demand that he be granted medical parole. Everyone on staff was in a meeting and no one received them. Then they went to the petition office and submitted their parole application. A staff person told them that he would forward the paperwork to people in charge, but the lawyer never heard back from him after that point.

When Mr. Xiong's daughter visited him at the prison, he often shed tears for not being able to spend time with his family and the suffering that he was going through.

Mr. Xiong was a former researcher and deputy director of the 8358 Research Institute of the Ministry of Space Industry. He was also a director on the board of the Chinese Society of Astronautics and enjoyed a special government allowance reserved for the best scientists in the nation. He has won many awards during his career.

Because he refused to give up practicing Falun Gong in the face of persecution, he was repeatedly arrested and detained in the past 19 years.

Six months after his latest arrest on August 26, 2014, his wife, Ms. Liu Yuanjie, also a renowned space and missile scientist and a Falun Gong practitioner, passed away after years of police harassment. She was 79.

Mr. Xiong was later sentenced to 7.5 years in prison by Nankai District Court on December 4, 2015, after two hearings held on August 14 and November 25, 2015.

He appealed the sentence, but Tianjin No.1 Intermediate Court upheld the verdict without a trial on March 9, 2016. He was taken to Binhai Prison later that month after nearly 1.5 years of detention at Nankai Detention Center.

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