(Minghui.org) A retired military officer was recently confirmed to have been sentenced to six years for filing a criminal complaint against Jiang Zemin, the former head of the Chinese communist regime who ordered the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline with five sets of exercises and three core principles, “Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance.” The practice was introduced to the public in May 1992 and soon gained tremendous popularity across China.

It was estimated that nearly 100 million Chinese had taken up the practice by early 1999, nearly one tenth of the population and more than there were registered Communist Party members. That's when Jiang decided to eradicate Falun Gong from China.

Mr. Zhang Hongtian, a resident of Tongliao City, Inner Mongolia, was a lieutenant colonel in the armed police and retired from the military in 2012.

He learned Falun Gong in January 1998 and credits the practice for enabling him to find peace in his competitive work environment and let go of his strong pursuit for personal gain.

After Jiang ordered the persecution in 1999, however, Mr. Zhang almost gave it up due to the pressure from every facet of society. It wasn't until around 2009 when he decided to catch up in practicing Falun Gong, having been inspired by the perseverance of practitioners in and out of China in upholding their faith and their courageous efforts to peacefully resist the persecution.

In July 2015, he joined the growing movement to file lawsuits against Jiang and filed his complaint to the Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuratorate.

He was arrested four months later on November 5, 2015.

He appeared in Horqin District Court on September 9, 2016 and was later sentenced to prison. The exact date of his sentencing remains to be investigated.

The authorities held him at Horqin District Detention Center before sending him to Baoanzhao Prison.

The authorities constantly harassed his wife following his arrest. His daughter was forced to drop out of school. The fear and pressure also consumed the health of his mother-in-law, who passed away in July 2018 after suffering a stroke and brain bleeding.