(Minghui.org) Ten Bazhong City, Sichuan Province residents were tried in November 2018 for their faith in Falun Gong. Nine of the defendants were convicted on January 7, 2019, and given prison terms of up to five years. Each was also heavily fined. Six of the practitioners are 70 years old or older, with two being over 80.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a mind-body cultivation practice based on the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. The Chinese communist party has been waging a brutal persecution against Falun Gong since July 1999.

The practitioners, their ages, sentences, and fines are as follows:

Mr. Zhang Xinwei, 89, three years of imprisonment with a fine of 4,000 yuan.Mr. Zhang Minglang, 82, five years of imprisonment with a fine of 10,000 yuan.Mr. Kang Zunliu, 71, three and a half years, with a fine of 5,000 yuan.Mr. Zhu Tiangui, 71, two and a half years, with a fine of 3,000 yuan.Ms. Yue Yingcong, 70, four years, with a fine of 6,000 yuan.Mr. Dai Wanyi, 70, three years, with a fine of 4,000 yuan.Ms. Zhou Lihua, 62, four years, with a fine of 6,000 yuan.Ms. Chen Guoqiong, 54, two and a half years, with a fine of 3,000 yuan.Ms. Sun Rong, 40, one and a half years, with a fine of 2,000 yuan.

The tenth practitioner, Mr. Yang Jiashun, 69, was acquitted.

According to a court official, this case was closely monitored by the Sichuan Province Political and Legal Affairs Committee (PLAC).

The PLAC is a non-judicial agency tasked with carrying out the persecution of Falun Gong and given power to override the judicial system. It has branches at every level of government.

The Bazhou Procuratorate had rejected the cases several times, but PLAC officials ordered police to “gather” additional prosecution evidence and threatened to discipline the prosecutors and the judges if they failed to prosecute the practitioners.

The Bazhou District Court planned to give the practitioners prison terms equal to the time they had already been in detention so that they would be released right after the sentencing hearing. But the provincial PLAC instructed its subordinate branch, the Bazhong PLAC, to fine and sentence the practitioners to at least three years — regardless of their age.

The ten practitioners were arrested on December 22, 2017, and later charged with “undermining law enforcement using a cult,” a standard pretext used by the Chinese regime to frame and imprison Falun Gong practitioners.

They were tried on November 7, 2018. Mr. Zhang Xinwei, whose hair had turned gray while in detention, spoke about the physical and spiritual benefits he has gained from practicing Falun Gong. Mr. Zhang Minglang, a retired procuratorial officer, described how he became healthier and more willing to help others after he took up the practice.

Prosecution “evidence” included Falun Gong books and informational materials confiscated from the practitioners' homes. Ms. Yue Yingcong's brother presented a copy of Announcement 50 of the General Administration of Press and Publication of March 1, 2011, which officially lifted the ban on Falun Gong books. He argued that it was therefore completely legal for practitioners to own Falun Gong books, but a judge dismissed his argument.

Key Personnel Responsible for the Convictions:

Pu Shengyuan, presiding judge, Bazhou District Court: +86-18981660999, +86-13881664688, +86-827-58188405Xu Feng, director, Bazhou District Court: +86-827-5818406, +86-827-5818506, +86-827-5818511, +86-827-5818103

Related Reports:

Ten Falun Gong Practitioners Tried for Their Faith, Eight of Them in Their 70s and 80s

Bazhong, Sichuan Province: 17 Arrested for Their Faith, 10 to Face Trial