(Minghui.org) A 77-year-old woman was sentenced to 7.5 years for practicing Falun Gong, a mind-body discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
This is the third time that Ms. Zhao Wenxiu, a resident of Luzhou City, Sichuan Province, has been sentenced for her faith. She was first given 3.5 years in 2004 and then 5 years in 2014, with her second term served outside of prison.
Ms. Zhao's latest arrest came in March 2019. The judge at Lu County Court in charge of her case refused to provide updates on her case despite her family's repeated phone calls.
Her family only found out about her prison sentence when they went to the local detention center to inquire about her case. They were told that she had already been sent to Longquan Women's Prison on May 7, 2019. To this day, they have never been given any verbal or written notice of her trial or sentencing.
The prison authorities later informed Ms. Zhao's family that she is denied family visits for the time being and that they won't be able to see her until further notice.
As Ms. Zhao had already been suffering from declining health before her arrest, her family worries about her condition and whether she would be mistreated in the prison for not renouncing her faith.
Ms. Zhao began to practice Falun Gong in 1995. After the communist regime ordered the persecution four years later, she was subjected to constant arrests, harassment and imprisonment.
She was forced to live away from home in December 2003 after being harassed, only to be arrested in February 2004 and soon sentenced to 3.5 years by Lu County Court. She served time in Yangmahe Women's Prison.
She was arrested again in July 2014 and sentenced to five years one month later by Jiangyang District Court.
While she was serving time at home, the police took her back into custody in July 2015. She held a hunger strike for a month to protest the detention. The officers injected her with two shots of unknown drugs and she suffered memory loss immediately.
She became very weak, unable to eat well and often had irregular heartbeats after she was released.
The police returned not long after that and ransacked her home. All of her Falun Gong related materials were confiscated.