(Minghui.org) Shortly after two sisters were arrested for raising awareness of their persecuted faith, Falun Gong, Ms. Yao Shuxia's son was ordered by the police to pay a 300,000-yuan bribe in exchange for the release of his mother and aunt. When the son managed to gather enough money to pay the police, the sisters were instead sentenced to prison.

Ms. Yao Shuxia and her younger sister, Ms. Yao Shuyan, were arrested on January 2, 2017, after the police saw on a surveillance camera that they were posting messages about Falun Gong on a public wall.

The police followed them for three days before arresting them and ransacking their homes. Many of the sisters' personal belongings, mostly Falun Gong-related items and their personal computers, were confiscated. Both women were held in Futian Detention Center after their arrests.

The police initially told Ms. Yao Shuxia's son that they would release his mother and aunt if he paid them 200,000 yuan. He complied, only to be asked for another 100,000 yuan. He took out all his savings and paid the additional sum as demanded, but his mother and aunt were not released.

When the young man asked the police why failed to keep their promise, he was arrested and detained for 15 days. Having paid the police all his savings, he is now in a dire financial situation and unable to pay his monthly rent.

It was recently learned that Ms. Yao Shuxia was sentenced to three years in prison, and her younger sister was sentenced to 1.5 years. Because the Chinese courts count imprisonment time from the day of the person's arrest, the younger Ms. Yao was released, as she had already been detained for 1.5 years since her arrest in January 2017.

The older Ms. Yao appealed her sentence. The court informed her son that a hearing of her case was scheduled for August, but they refused to provide details. When her son went to the intermediate court to find out the exact date for the hearing, he was told that the prosecutor was in a meeting and couldn't see him.

The court later held a hearing for Ms. Yao on September 3, 2018. But details of the hearing weren't available at the time of writing.

Ms. Yao's son told Minghui.org that his mother was suffering from health issues after being severely tortured in the detention center. She was hospitalized and operated on. But despite her family's demands, the authorities refuse to release her on medical parole.