(Minghui.org) Nine residents of Taiyuan City, Shanxi Province were tried by the Yingze District Court on April 2, 2019, for practicing Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

The nine Falun Gong practitioners, mostly women, ranging in age from 60 to 72, were handcuffed and shackled during the entire hearing.

The practitioners included Ms. Sun Zhifen, 60; Ms. Tian Yuqin, 60; Mr. Luo Baojun, 62; Ms. Hu Lanying, 65; Ms. Wang Suping, 67; Ms. Guo Runxian, 68; Ms. Zhang Qingxiang, 69; Ms. Zhang Runying, 71; and Ms. Wang Lanmei, 72.

Ms. Wang Suping argued that with its core values of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, Falun Gong has helped millions of people improve their health and spiritual being, without causing harm to anyone. It is taught and welcomed in more than 100 countries and is persecuted only in its home country, China.

Judge Guo Xiaoqin and prosecutor Ren Xingui frequently interrupted her and didn't allow her to mention Falun Gong.

One lawyer hired by the practitioners' families entered a not-guilty plea for them. The lawyer pointed out that the police arrested the practitioners and ransacked their homes without valid warrants, both of which violated legal requirements.

The lawyer went on to point out the lack of legal basis for the persecution. He also cited a notice issued by the Chinese publication bureau, in which it revoked the ban on Falun Gong books and publications in 2011.

Prosecutor Ren responded by repeating the demonizing propaganda spread by the communist regime. When Ms. Sun tried to stop the prosecutor from slandering Falun Gong, the judge ordered the bailiffs to hold her down in the chair.

The judge adjourned the hearing without issuing the verdicts.

Provincial Government Ordered Arrests

It was reported that the Shanxi provincial government ordered the arrests of the practitioners. The police monitored their daily activities for a while before arresting them.

A group of officers descended upon Ms. Sun's home at 4:00 p.m. on June 25, 2018, while she was studying Falun Gong books with four other practitioners, Ms. Tian, Ms. Hu, Mr. Luo, and Ms. Guo. Both Ms. Sun and Mr. Luo's homes were ransacked.

Three other practitioners, Ms. Zhang Qingxiang, Ms. Zhang Runying (no relation), and Ms. Wang Suping were arrested at around 9:00 p.m. that evening.

The ninth practitioner, Ms. Wang Lanmei, was arrested on October 18, 2018. While Ms. Wang refused to open the door for the police, they waited in her apartment building and arrested her when she was leaving the building.

Ms. Wang was twice denied admission to the local detention center, due to having high blood pressure. She was released on October 20 and put under house arrest. She suffered from poor memory upon returning home. She later told her family that she was injected with an unknown drug at the hospital.

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