Seven Shandong Residents Sentenced for Their Faith
(Minghui.org) Seven Qingyun County, Shandong Province residents, including a father and his daughter, were sentenced in September 2020 for their faith in Falun Gong.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is an ancient spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Five Arrested Together in 2018
Five of the practitioners, including Ms. Zhao Junxiang, Mr. Du Quancun, Ms. Wang Shujuan, Ms. Yu Binglan and Ms. Zhang Lianyun were targeted in a group arrest on November 18, 2018 while reading Falun Gong teachings together.
While Ms. Yu and Ms. Zhang were released on bail, Ms. Zhao and Ms. Wang were sent to the Dezhou Detention Center and Mr. Du to the Qingyun County Detention Center. All three were denied family visits.
The police fabricated evidence against Ms. Zhao, accusing her of making Falun Gong informational materials for other practitioners. Several practitioners were forced to sign the prepared documents by the police.
The police submitted the practitioners’ cases to the Xiajin County Procuratorate in December 2018, and they were soon indicted and had their cases forwarded to the Xiajin County Court.
The practitioners were tried by the Xiajin County Court on January 15, 2020. Only two of each practitioner’s family members were allowed to attend the hearing.
Mr. Du, in his 70s, staggered into the court room, with his hands and feet shackled. Ms. Wang, who was in her 50s, also staggered. All of her hair has turned gray. Ms. Zhao had lost several teeth and was unable to speak clearly.
Both Ms. Zhao’s and Mr. Du’s lawyers entered a not guilty plea for them. The lawyers argued that no law has ever criminalized Falun Gong in China and freedom of spiritual belief – in their clients' case, Falun Gong – is protected in the Chinese Constitution. They demanded their clients' acquittal.
Ms. Wang testified in her own defense and denied the charges against her.
Mr. Du, Ms. Zhao and Ms. Wang were sent back to detention after the hearing. Ms. Yu and Ms. Zhang returned home.
The judge announced the verdicts against the practitioners on September 10, 2020: Ms. Zhao was sentenced to eight years; Mr. Du to four years; Ms. Wang to three years; Ms. Yu and Ms. Zhang to two years each.
Two Others Arrested in 2019
While Mr. Du was detained, his daughter, Ms. Du Xiaojing, was arrested in late September 2019 for talking to people about Falun Gong at the restaurant where she worked.
Another practitioner, Ms. Wang Yuexia, 55, was arrested at home on November 15, 2019.
Both Ms. Du and Ms. Wang were held at the Dezhou City Detention Center and were sentenced to three years in September 2020.