Five Falun Gong Practitioners Arrested for Distributing Informational Materials, Four Sentenced
(Minghui.org) Five Huaian City, Jiangsu Province residents, were arrested for distributing information about Falun Gong on December 7, 2014. Four of them have been sentenced to prison in 2019.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Mr. Liu Yongjun, Ms. Wei Shanrong, Ms. Tang Qing, and Ms. Shi Suhua and her husband Mr. Ding Bolin were stopped by the police on their way home after distributing Falun Gong materials in Hongze County.
While the three women were released weeks later, Mr. Liu, in his late 30s, and Mr. Ding, a retired director of Huaian TV station in his 60s, remained in custody. The two men were later sentenced to prison, Mr. Liu to two years and Mr. Ding to three. The timing of their sentences isn’t clear.
The police took Ms. Shi, in her 60s, back into custody on August 30, 2017, claiming that she was on the “Wanted List.”
Ms. Shi and Ms. Wei, a retired director of the local Bureau of Price Supervision, appeared in Hongze District Court on June 11, 2018. The prosecution evidence against them included the Falun Gong materials and books confiscated from their car and homes.
Their lawyer entered a not guilty plea on their behalf and argued that there is no law that says practicing Falun Gong is a crime and that his clients didn’t violate any law by possessing or distributing Falun Gong materials.
Ms. Shi and Ms. Wei also testified in their own defense. They both talked about how practicing Falun Gong improved their health and character and how they felt compelled to share their experiences with people so they wouldn't be misled by the Chinese communist regime's propaganda defaming Falun Gong.
In January 2019, the judge sentenced Ms. Shi to three years in prison and fined her 5,000 yuan and sentenced Ms. Wei to ten months and fined her 2,000 yuan without informing their lawyer.
The women appealed the verdicts to Huaian City Intermediate Court, which upheld their sentences in July 2019.
Ms. Shi was taken to Changzhou Prison on August 7, 2019, and has been denied family visits ever since.
Ms. Wei is still in the detention center.
The status of Ms. Tang, a 45-year-old college art teacher, remains to be investigated.