(Minghui.org) Four women in Jintang County were tried jointly for refusing to renounce Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime. Three of them were sentenced to prison at the end of the hearing.

Ms. Wu Chunlan, 54, Ms. Guo Qingcheng, 74, Ms. Jiang Yilin, around 70, and Ms. Tang Xiaoyan, 55, were arrested separately around September 2016. Except for Ms. Tang, the other three women were later released on bail or medical parole.

The women appeared in Jintang County Court on July 26, 2018.

Ms. Wu's family had tried to hire a lawyer to defend her innocence, but they were threatened by the local 610 Office, an extra-legal agency tasked with eradicating Falun Gong and given power to override the judicial system.

Ms. Wu was given a lawyer by the 610 Office. The lawyer was instructed to enter a guilty plea for Ms. Wu. It is unclear whether the other three women had legal counsel.

The four practitioners were not allowed to testify for themselves. The only time they were allowed to talk was to answer the question as to whether they still practiced Falun Gong.

Midway through the trial, Ms. Guo asked to use the restroom. She fainted on her way there and was rushed to the hospital.

The presiding judge announced at the end of the hearing to convict Ms. Guo (in her absence), Ms. Wu, and Ms. Jiang.

Ms. Wu was given 8 years and fined 10,000 yuan. Ms. Guo and Ms. Jiang were each given 7 years and fined 7,000 yuan. All three of them were ordered to serve time outside of prison.

The judge didn't issue a verdict against Ms. Tang. He ordered her sent back to the local detention center.

More Information about Ms. Wu and Ms. Tang

Ms. Wu was home on September 9, 2016 when more than two dozen officers broke in with guns drawn. She was held at Bi County Detention Center for one month before being transferred to Qixian Detention Center.

Her husband, who was hospitalized at the time of her arrest, was unable to pay the medical bills after his wife's arrest. He had to check out of the hospital, and he died on December 16, 2016. Five days later, Ms. Wu had a stroke and was rushed to Chengdu City Hospital. She was later moved to Jintang County Hospital.

Ms. Wu was released on bail on January 2, 2017. At the time of her release, she had no feeling on one side of her body.

Ms. Tang retired from Panzhihua Steep Group in 2012. She was arrested at home on September 13, 2016. Officer Chen Li returned the following afternoon to ransack her home again, confiscating 1,126 yuan in cash, a laptop, a computer accessories box, Ms. Tang's cell phone and her ID.

Related Report:More than 20 Practitioners Arrested in Jintang County in Recent Months