(Minghui.org) A single mother in Nanpi County, Hebei Province, was recently sentenced to 3.5 years for practicing Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999. 

Ms. Zhang Xuemei, nearly 50, began to practice Falun Gong around 2012 and credits the practice for improving her health and helping her to become more open-minded and positive. 

Fearing the pressure from the persecution, her husband divorced her. Ms. Zhang was given custody of their daughter. 

After Ms. Zhang was arrested on March 28, 2019, her daughter, a high school student, was traumatized and her grades suffered. She is currently being taken care of by Ms. Zhang’s sister and her husband, who are also under great stress as a result of the persecution.

It has been reported that Ms. Zhang was targeted after being suspected of putting up posters with information about Falun Gong in a residential area in Nanpi.

Ms. Zhang was scheduled to appear in court on October 22. But a member of the collegiate bench was sick and the trial was canceled just 13 minutes before it was due to begin.

Her lawyer went to Cangzhou City Detention Center on November 7 to consult with her but was not allowed to see her. The guards claimed that Ms. Zhang was under strict management and denied any visits, because she would not renounce her faith.

The lawyer complained to the head of the detention center, but to no avail.

Ms. Zhang stood trial in the Yunhe District Court on December 24, 2019. It only lasted 40 minutes. The judge handed down the 3.5-year term in early January 2020. She has appealed to the Cangzhou City Intermediate Court.

Due to the deplorable conditions in the detention center, Ms. Zhang developed scabies all over her body. Her lawyer applied to the court to have her released on medical parole. Judge Liu Zhongcheng told the lawyer that he couldn’t make such a decision and had to ask for instructions from his superiors.

Related reports:

Hebei Woman Faces Further Prosecution for Her Faith

Single Mother Arrested for Her Faith Two Months before Daughter's College Entrance Exam