(Minghui.org) A resident of Yinan County, Shandong Province was imprisoned for his faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Mr. Zu Peiyong, 52, was arrested together with three other Falun Gong practitioners between August and October 2018 for helping another practitioner's family seeking justice for her wrongful death 13 days after her arrest for practicing Falun Gong.

The four practitioners were tried in a makeshift courtroom at Hedong District Detention Center on January 24, 2019. Their lawyers entered a not guilty plea for them, only to see them convicted on March 27, 2019.

Mr. Zu was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison with a 30,000-yuan fine. He appealed the verdict, but was rejected. He was transferred to Shandong Province Prison on July 11, 2019.

Two other practitioners, Mr. Liu Naixun and his wife Ms. Wang Xilan, both in their 70s, were also imprisoned around the same time to serve their 3- and 2-year prison terms, respectively.

The fourth practitioner, Ms. Li Changfang, 55, was given 2.5 years with 10,000 yuan fine. She died on July 12, 2019 under suspicious circumstances.

Past Persecution: Brainwashing and Forced Labor Camp Detentions

Mr. Zu developed epilepsy shortly after he got married in the early 1990s. He lost a significant amount of body weight and experienced severe fatigue. He saw many doctors and tried different medications, but none of them worked. Both his wife and parents were very worried about him, and he also felt his life was coming to an end.

He was introduced to Falun Gong in March 1997. In a short period of time, his symptoms went away. Many local villagers were impressed with how effective Falun Gong is in improving health, and they took up the practice as well.

After the communist regime ordered the persecution of Falun Gong, however, Mr. Zu's life was turned upside down. He was repeatedly arrested and sent to brainwashing centers. He also served two terms of forced labor totaling four years.

Because of going to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong, he and his wife were held at Yinan Detention Center for a month in November 1999. The police extorted 10,000 yuan from their parents before releasing them.

On July 20, 2000, the one-year mark of the persecution, the police arrested the couple again and held them in detention for a month, fearing that they would go to Beijing again to appeal for their faith. The police confiscated all valuables from their home, including a TV, a sewing machine and a music player.

The police attempted to arrest the couple for the third time on January 28, 2001. They escaped and were forced to live away from home to hide from the police.

Four months later, they were stopped on the street by the police, who searched their bags and found Falun Gong materials. While Mr. Zu's wife was given one month of detention this time, he got a two-year term at Wangcun Forced Labor Camp, where he was subjected to brutal torture aimed at forcing him to renounce his faith.

Mr. Zu was given another two-year forced labor term on July 22, 2007 and served time at Shandong Province No. 1 Forced Labor Camp. He was subjected to brainwashing and forced to do slave labor.

During the time he was incarcerated, his wife was often harassed by the local authorities and their son was forced to quit school and did odd jobs to support the family.

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