(Minghui.org) A Juye County, Shandong Province resident was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for her faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Ms. Zhang Jing was tried by Cao County Court on September 20, 2019. Her lawyer entered a not guilty plea for her. 

Qin Laifeng, the prosecutor from Cao County Procuratorate, charged Ms. Zhang with “undermining law enforcement with a cult organization,” the standard pretext used by the communist regime to frame and criminalize Falun Gong practitioners. 

When Ms. Zhang's lawyer challenged prosecutor Qin to articulate which law's enforcement was undermined by his client, Qin responded, “How dare you condemn the communist Party, while you are being fed and paid by the Party?” 

The judge announced the verdict against Ms. Zhang ten days later. She has appealed the sentence.

Ms. Zhang was arrested on November 27, 2018, a few days after she returned home from living away for a month to avoid being harassed by the police. 

During the one month of wandering about, she wrote letters to the local police and talked about how she benefited both physically and mentally after taking up Falun Gong. She also talked about how Falun Gong has been spread to many countries in the world and is only being persecuted in China.

The police used her letters as prosecution evidence against her. They submitted Ms. Zhang's case to Juye County Procuratorate, which then forwarded it to Cao County Procuratorate. 

Ms. Zhang suffered from heart failure and whole-body edema in detention. She was released on bail on January 19, 2019.

The Cao County Court indicted Ms. Zhang on February 21, 2019, and moved her case to Cao County Court. 

It was reported that the judge at Cao County Court attempted to drop the case against Ms. Zhang, but prosecutor Qin insisted to pursue further prosecution of her. 

Given Ms. Zhang's physical condition, the judge held the hearing at Juye County Court in September 2019, which is closer to her residence, while the Cao County Court is nearly two hours' drive away.

It is unclear whether Ms. Zhang has been taken back into custody following her sentencing.

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