Hubei Woman, in her 70s, Given Second Five-Year Prison Term for Practicing Falun Gong
(Minghui.org) A woman in her 70s was recently sentenced to five years in prison for practicing Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999. She has vowed to appeal the sentence.
Ms. Wu Bilin was arrested on May 23, 2018. The police pretended to be her husband's colleague and deceived her into opening the door for them. She has been kept at Wuhan City No.1 Detention Center since. Her arrest was approved by Hanyang District Procuratorate in early June 2018.
The police and staff members from the residential committee have been harassing Ms. Wu since April 2018. She was forced to live away from home for a week to avoid the harassment. But the authorities continued to harass her after she returned home and eventually arrested her.
Ms. Wu appeared in Hanyang District Court on March 28, 2019. His lawyer entered a not guilty plea for her. He argued that the persecution didn't have any legal basis. Presiding judge Liang Hong frequently interrupted his defense.
Ms. Wu also testified in her own defense. She said that she used to suffer from severe back pain and couldn't get out of bed. Her condition soon disappeared after she began to practice Falun Gong. She persisted in doing the practice, but was repeatedly arrested and detained for not renouncing her faith.
It was reported that a few months before Ms. Wu's court hearing, judge Liang had submitted her case to Wuhan City Intermediate Court to seek the higher court's opinion on her verdict. By law, appeals courts only take up appeal cases and trial courts have full authority to decide on verdicts.
Prior to her latest arrest, Ms. Wu had been arrested 20 times in the past 20 years for upholding her faith. She was abused to the point of being on the verge of death almost every time. Only then was she released.
Ms. Wu's latest prison sentence was preceded by another five-year sentence in 2011. Back then, she served the time outside of prison because of her physical conditions.