(Minghui.org) Five Kangping County, Liaoning Province residents are awaiting verdicts following a recent court hearing against their faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

The five Falun Gong practitioners, including Ms. Gao Lihua, Mr. Dai Mingming and his wife, Ms. Han Jun, Mr. Gong Baojun and his wife, Ms. Liang Xiuhua, had driven to Ganqika Town in Inner Mongolia, about 70 miles away, on May 11, 2019, to distribute informational materials about Falun Gong.

Local residents Li Xuejian and Li Fengchun, who misunderstood Falun Gong because of the demonizing propaganda spread by the communist regime, saw the practitioners passing out flyers and snatched the key from their parked car. They slapped Ms. Han in the face and attempted to extort money from the practitioners. 

When the practitioners refused to pay them, they reported them to the police.

Ms. Han was released on bail seven days later, while the other four practitioners remained incarcerated at the Ganqika Detention Center.

The five practitioners appeared in the Ganqika Court on December 11, 2019. Four lawyers entered not guilty pleas for them.

The lawyers pointed out that it’s their clients’ constitutionally-protected right to practice Falun Gong. In addition, no law has ever criminalized Falun Gong in China or labeled it as a cult. They explained that their clients merely practice their faith to be good people and improve their health, and have never caused harm to anyone.

The presiding judge frequently interrupted the lawyers. He said, “You are not allowed to talk about Falun Gong, or you are promoting it here.”

Mr. Gong’s lawyer presented a petition from 37 residents from his village, demanding Mr. Gong's and his wife’s release. The judge ignored it.

Mr. Gong and Ms. Liang’s three children have been traumatized by the couple’s arrests and detention. Their oldest daughter kept crying during their hearing and almost passed out. Their second daughter has quit her job to take care of the family, especially her 14-year-old brother.

Mr. Dai and Ms. Han’s daughter, a college student, was also dealt a blow by their arrests.

Ms. Gao has been the main caregiver for her mother-in-law, who struggles to cope after her arrest.