60 Cases of Falun Gong Practitioners Sentenced for Their Faith Reported in January 2018
(Minghui.org) According to information compiled by Minghui.org, the month of January 2018 recorded 130 new cases of Falun Gong practitioners sentenced to prison by the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) court system.
Among the 130 new cases, 60 practitioners were sentenced in January 2018, and 70 practitioners were sentenced in 2017. The 70 newly-reported cases increases the number of practitioners sentenced last year to at least 1,044.
Due to the CCP’s information blockade, the number of Falun Gong practitioners who were sentenced cannot always be reported in a timely manner, nor is all the information readily available.
The lengths of sentences range from 6 months to 10 years, with an average sentence of 3.6 years. Twenty-five of the sentenced practitioners were also fined a total of 230,000 yuan, averaging 9,200 yuan per person.
The oldest practitioner sentenced is 80, and the youngest are in their 20s. They represent 21 provinces and regions.
The following is a snapshot of some sentenced practitioners.
1. Man Receives 8-Year Sentence for His Belief
Mr. Mu Yadong and his friend from Pingdingshan, Henan Province, both practice Falun Gong. The friend decided to move away and asked Mr. Mu to help sell his car.
Mr. Mu was targeted by police soon afterward. He was first arrested on October 14, 2011, while driving his daughter to school. He went on a hunger strike in protest and was released on bail several weeks later on November 6.
Like his friend, Mr. Mu also left home to avoid further arrest. He eventually settled in Xuchang City and found a job at a car repair shop. Police in his hometown never loosened their grip on him. They arrested him on June 2, 2017, and took him back to Pingdingshan.
Mr. Mu went on a hunger strike to protest and became very weak. His lawyer requested to postpone his trial that was scheduled for June 23. The local court later canceled the scheduled hearing.
Mr. Mu appeared in court on December 2. Only a few people were allowed to attend the trial, and many of his supporters were barred from the courthouse.
Mr. Mu’s lawyer requested an acquittal, and the judge adjourned the session without issuing a verdict. It was learned weeks later that Mr. Mu had been sentenced to 8 years in prison and that he was transferred to Ximi City Prison on January 18, 2018.
2. Two Elderly Women in Poor Physical Health Sentenced
Ms. Chen Liju, 80, and Ms. Pei Ruifen, 78, from Jinzhou City, Liaoning Province, were arrested and interrogated on December 15, 2017, despite both women being in poor physical condition. The women were later tried in court. Ms. Pei's family hired a lawyer to defend her.
No verdict was announced at the time of the court hearing. It was recently learned that both women were illegally sentenced to prison. Ms. Chen was given a two-year sentence, and Ms. Pei was sentenced to a three-year prison term with four years of probation.
The two women were arrested while they were distributing informational materials about the communist regime’s persecution of Falun Gong on August 8, 2017, after someone reported them to Zhongtun Police Station.
The police officers confiscated Ms. Pei's keys and searched her home without presenting a warrant. They forced Ms. Pei's daughter to hand over Falun Dafa materials.
The police returned to Ms. Pei’s home again and ordered Ms. Pei’s daughter to give them her housing license and ID card. The officers deceived the daughter into believing that she could visit her mother. She never imagined that she would be dragged along with her mother to the Jinzhou City Women's Detention Center at 2 a.m. on August 9th.
Ms. Pei’s daughter was later released on bail, which was posted by Ms. Pei’s granddaughter.
A prosecutor at the Guta Procuratorate later filed charges against Ms. Pei and Ms. Chen. While being detained awaiting trial, Ms. Chen was at one point too weak to take care of herself. The detention center staff refused to release her on bail.
On the morning of December 15, 2017, Ms. Chen and Ms. Pei were tried inside the detention center by judges from Guta District Court. No verdict was issued at the trial.
More information: Two Elderly Women, 78 and 80, Sentenced to Prison for Their Faith
3. Young Man Viciously Beaten and Sentenced to 3.5 Years
Mr. Tang Sheng from Hefei City, Anhui Province, began practicing Falun Gong in 2014. Officers from Luogang Police Station arrested him on June 12, 2016, and handcuffed him for a day without giving him food or water. He was later taken to the office of the deputy police chief, where he was brutally beaten for two hours. The police also took him to a hotel room and tortured him for one day. The deputy chief kept stomping on his head while he was on the ground. Others choked and punched him.
Mr. Tang was first tried on November 22, 2017 and sentenced to 3.5 years. The second instance was held on January 17, 2018, and the sentence remained. He is currently filing an appeal. Ms. Tang is in his twenties, and his father has passed. His ordeal left his mentally challenged mother living alone without anyone to care for her.
4. Six Lawyers Defend Woman’s Constitutional Rights But Were Unsuccessful
Ms. Li Caizhi from Ningcheng County, Inner Mongolia, went to a market on July 23, 2017, and told people about the persecution of Falun Gong. Officers from Wuhua County Police Station arrested her as a result. They ransacked her home without her presence or a search warrant and confiscated her personal belongings.
Under the stress, Ms. Cai’s blood pressure surged to 220 mmHg and was in no condition to be put in a detention center. Without regard for the law, the police forced her to take medicine to lower her blood pressure in order to detain her.
Ms. Li was tried on November 2, 2017, at Ningcheng County Court. Even though she had six lawyers defending her constitutional right to freedom of belief, she was sentenced to three years in prison. Ms. Li has filed an appeal with Chifeng City Intermediate Court.
5. Retired Pharmacist Sentenced to Prison for Her Faith
Ms. Huang Xiaofen, a retired pharmacist of Yongxing County Public Hospital, was sentenced to three years in prison for refusing to renounce Falun Gong. She has filed an appeal. This is not the first time that she has been targeted for her faith since the persecution of Falun Gong began in July 1999. Her husband, Mr. Chen Yiyuan, died less than one year after serving 8 years in prison for practicing Falun Gong.
Wife’s Arrest, Trial, and Sentencing
The police arrested Ms. Huang at home on April 11, 2017. The local procuratorate twice returned her case to police but eventually indicted her. One official admitted, “We’re facing tremendous pressure from higher authorities.”
Ms. Huang appeared in court on December 6. The judge convicted her not long after the court hearing.
Husband’s Untimely Death
Ms. Huang’s husband, Mr. Chen, was arrested on April 20, 2003, for refusing to renounce Falun Gong. Police paraded him through the streets weeks later on May 1 with his mouth taped shut and his arms tied behind his back.
Mr. Chen was later sentenced to 8 years in prison. He was subjected to around the clock surveillance during his entire imprisonment. He was forced to do 14 hours of hard labor every day. At night, he was ordered to listen to propaganda tapes slandering Falun Gong before he was allowed to sleep.
Mr. Chen later developed high blood pressure. Not long before his release, he was moved to the prison hospital, where he was given unknown drugs from time to time.
He was extremely weak when he was released in April 2011. He told his wife that these drugs made him extremely uncomfortable. The local police kept monitoring him after his release.
On August 20, 2011, more than 30 officers appeared at the couple’s home and turned the place upside down. An officer stayed at the couple’s home for several days.
Mr. Chen passed away in March 2012.
Related report: Retired Pharmacist Sentenced to Prison for Her Faith
6. Teacher Sentenced to Three Years for Talking to Students About Her Belief
Ms. Liu Dongmei, a language arts teacher in Gaoyang County, Hebei Province, was arrested on March 31, 2017, for talking to her students about the persecution of Falun Gong.
The Gaoyang County police submitted her case to the Gaoyang County Procuratorate. She was sentenced to a three-year prison term and fined 6,000 yuan, though the details of her court hearing remain to be investigated. She is appealing the verdict.
7. Guangdong Woman Sentenced to Two-year Term for Removing Defamatory Posters
Ms. Cao Junyi from Maoming City, Guangdong Province, 56, was arrested on July 6, 2017, after being reported for tearing down a poster defaming Falun Gong. She was sentenced to two years in prison and fined 3,000 yuan after two court appearances.
Ms. Cao first appeared in court on January 11, 2018. Her sentencing hearing was held five days later. Ms. Cao has hired a new lawyer and is appealing her case.
The first hearing was held in a room at the Maoming First Detention Center. There were 20 seats in the makeshift courtroom, but only four of her family members were allowed to attend the trial. The road in front of the detention center was blocked off, with more than four dozen plainclothes officers pacing around.
The two prosecutors presented four pieces of prosecution evidence. First, Ms. Cao gave her husband’s sister a Falun Gong book ten years ago. Second, Ms. Cao ripped down the anti-Falun Gong poster. Third, police found many Falun Gong books in Ms. Cao’s home. Lastly, Ms. Cao was once given forced labor for refusing to renounce Falun Gong.
Ms. Cao’s two lawyers refuted the prosecution evidence. They argued that no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong and that their client should never have been arrested for exercising her constitutional right to freedom of belief. Therefore, her forced-labor term in the past was a violation of her legal rights. They added that there was nothing wrong with her owning and sharing Falun Gong books. As for the poster, Ms. Cao had every right to address false propaganda against Falun Gong.
Related report: Guangdong Woman Appeals Guilty Verdict