(Minghui.org) A resident of Jinzhou City, Liaoning Province, was sentenced to prison in late January 2019 at a secret trial for spreading information about her faith.
The judge didn't inform her lawyer about the trial but instead appointed another lawyer to represent her and enter a guilty plea for her.
Ms. Li Yanqiu denied all the charges against her. The judge sentenced her to five years at the end of the trial. The 52-year-old woman has begun to serve time at Liaoning Women's Prison on February 19, 2019, which happened to be the Lantern Festival, the last day of the traditional Chinese New Year celebrations.
Ms. Li's prison sentence came less than two months after her arrest on December 14, 2018 for distributing calendars with information about Falun Gong, a spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
The police ransacked her home and confiscated her computer and Falun Gong books. She was sent to Jinzhou City Women's Detention Center, where she went on a hunger strike to protest the persecution. She was force-fed, which caused tremendous damage to her body. Neither her lawyer nor family was allowed to visit her.
The head of Taihe District Domestic Security Division, Li Lei (no relation to Ms. Li), submitted her case to Taihe District Procuratorate. Ms. Li's earlier arrest on December 21, 2017 for doing the Falun Gong exercises outdoors was cited as additional evidence against her.
The prosecutor soon moved her case to Taihe District Court, which held a secret trial at the detention center on January 21, 2019.
According to insiders, Ms. Li appeared to be extremely weak during the trial. She was unable to walk by herself and couldn't express herself clearly.
Her family found out about her trial and sentencing when they went to the court on January 28, 2019.
Having been arrested and detained several times in the past 20 years for practicing Falun Gong, Ms. Li's latest ordeal was devastating to her father, who is in his 80s.
The elderly man, who was usually very outgoing, became withdrawn and couldn't sleep at night upon learning of her imprisonment. He also suffered from frequent nosebleeds, discomfort in his heart, and dizziness caused by high blood pressure.