(Minghui.org) Four Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province residents were imprisoned in early December 2019, after their appeals against their wrongful sentences for practicing Falun Gong were rejected.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Ms. Xu Xiaoying, Ms. Fan Rong, and Mr. Li Rui were arrested in a major police sweep of more than 100 practitioners in Harbin and Daqing, two cities in Heilongjiang Province, on November 9, 2018. Ms. Zhu Chunrong was arrested one day earlier in Jixi City, also in Heilongjiang, by officers from the Daoli Police Station in Harbin.
The Daoli District Procuratorate twice returned the practitioners’ cases to the police for insufficient evidence before finally indicting them and moving their cases to the Daoli District Court in early June 2019.
The practitioners appeared in court on July 23, 2019 and were convicted on August 22.
Ms. Xu was sentenced to 4 years in prison and fined 10,000 yuan.
Ms. Fan was given 3.5 years and 5,000 yuan fine.
Ms. Zhu was sentenced to 2.5 years and fined 3,000 yuan.
Mr. Li received 1.5 years on top of a 3,000-yuan fine.
The four practitioners appealed to the Harbin Intermediate Court, which ruled on November 19, 2019 to uphold their original sentences.
The three female practitioners were sent to Harbin City Women’s Prison around December 3, 2019.
Mr. Li was also imprisoned, however, the dates and location of his imprisonment remain to be investigated.
The practitioners weren’t allowed to bring any daily necessities or extra clothes with them when transferred from the detention centers to the prisons.
The Harbin Women’s Prison denied the practitioners family visits, claiming that they need “special management” to get used to prison life.
The prison authorities said that the practitioners’ families would not be allowed to visit or send clothes until further notification.
Meanwhile, the court ordered the practitioners’ families to pay the fines before December 25, 2019. They were told that if they missed the date, the court would forcibly collect the money from them.
The 10,000-yuan fine only worsened the dire financial situation of Ms. Xu’s family, already in debt for borrowing money to hire a lawyer to represent her.
Mr. Xu's 14-year-old son became withdrawn after her arrest and her parents are suffering from declining health over concern about her safety.