(Minghui.org) Four Dongying City, Shandong Province residents were sentenced to prison on December 24, 2019 for their faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Mr. Wang Ziming, a migrant worker, was sentenced to 7.5 years.

Mr. Gao Hongwei, a manager at a water purifying company, was given 4 years.

Ms. Shang Zhaoxiang, around 50 and owner of a small dry cleaning store, was sentenced to 3 years.

Ms. Zhang Aili, 65, a retired nurse, was given 2 years and 10 months.

The verdict of another practitioner, Mr. Wang Lianzhong, who stood trial with the above four in Dongying District Court on November 15, 2019, remains to be investigated.

The five practitioners were arrested in a police sweep on November 24, 2018. It was reported that the police suspected Mr. Wang Ziming of smearing a Communist Party symbol in a public place. They monitored Mr. Wang for months, as well as all Falun Gong practitioners, who contacted him during that period.

Mr. Wang Lianzhong, in his 70s, was released on bail due to his physical condition. The other four practitioners have since been held at Dongying City Detention Center.

During their November 2019 trial, Judge Zhang Ting didn’t allow the practitioners’ lawyers to bring up the topic of Falun Gong and threatened them for entering not guilty pleas for the practitioners.

Their lawyers weren’t deterred by the judge and still defended the innocence of their clients.

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