(Minghui.org) Three residents of Heze City, Shandong Province, were secretly sentenced to prison for raising awareness about the persecution of their faith, Falun Gong.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a mind-body discipline centered on the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance that has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Regime since 1999.

Ms. Chen Yuhua, a retired businesswoman in her 70s, was sentenced to 4 years. Ms. Cheng Panyun, also in her 70s, is a retired prosecutor, and she was given 3.5 years. Ms. Li Zhenhuan, 66, a retired TV station manager, received 3 years.

The three women were arrested on March 29, 2018 after police noticed them distributing Falun Gong materials in the countryside.

Officers ransacked their homes in the afternoon. Ms. Li's computer, Falun Gong books and related materials were confiscated. The police also took away her husband's 10,000 yuan in cash. When he argued that it was his own money, the police began to accuse him of illegal fundraising.

The three practitioners were convicted by Juancheng County Court after being held for one year at Heze City Detention Center. They have begun to serve time at Jinan City Women's Prison.

Ms. Chen used to suffer from uterine cancer and heart disease. Her conditions were cured after she began to practice Falun Gong in 1997. She also got along well with her mother-in-law, with whom she used to have a lot of conflicts.

Because she refused to renounce her faith after the communist regime began to persecute Falun Gong in 1999, Ms. Chen was arrested several times and given two labor camp terms. An officer once deceived her by saying that her mother fell on the street and then arrested her when she rushed out to see her mother.

She was arrested on October 14, 2007 while taking care of her bedridden husband. She was then sentenced to prison and suffered a lumbar fracture after being tortured at Shangdong Women's Prison.