Six Practitioners Tried for Talking to People about Falun Gong: One Died While Awaiting Verdict, All Others Sentenced to Prison
(Minghui.org) Six Falun Gong practitioners were tried by the Yushu City Court at 7 a.m. on November 16, 2018. Two of the practitioners' families were not notified of the hearing until 4 a.m. that morning. The court staff who called them in the early morning hours required them to show proof that they didn't practice Falun Gong as a precondition to attending the hearing.
The six practitioners were on trial for talking to people about the Chinese communist regime's persecution of their faith. Falun Gong has been brutally persecuted since July 1999.
While awaiting the verdict, Ms. Song Zhaoheng, a 76-year-old retired teacher, passed away suddenly on January 14, 2019 at the Yushu City Detention Center. The judge had threatened to sentence her to nine years in prison just days before she died. The authorities did not disclose details or the cause of her death.
The other five practitioners received notice of their prison sentences on January 23, 2019.
Ms. Li Qingxia, 75, was sentenced to three years with a four-year probation.
Ms. Liu Shuyan and Mr. Xu Jingchao, 85, were given 2.5 years with a three-year probation. Mr. Xu was fined 10,000 yuan.
Ms. Zhang Yujie, 69, was sentenced to three years and two months and fined 5,000 yuan. She has not yet received an official copy of her verdict.
Ms. Li Xiujuan, in her 50s, was given a one-year term and fined 5,000 yuan. She and Ms. Zhang have appealed the verdict.
The six practitioners were arrested between June and October 2018. All of them were held at the Yushu City Detention Center prior to their sentencing.
Ms. Li Xiujuan held a protest hunger strike at the detention center and was force-fed. When her lawyer visited Ms. Li on June 22, nine days after her arrest, he noted that her feet were swollen and she had bruises on her arms.
Ms. Li Qingxia suffered from high blood pressure, high fever and pain in her leg that made it difficult to walk. The authorities refused to release her on medical parole, even after her daughter submitted her medical records that showed she had been diagnosed with uterine cancer.