Hebei Woman Given Three Years After Three Trials
(Minghui.org) A Xingtang County, Hebei Province resident is appealing a three-year sentence given for her faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999. Ms. Yang Huanping's wrongful conviction stemmed from a case against her seven years ago.
Ms. Yang, 58, was first arrested on November 15, 2013, and later released on bail due to her health condition. She was sentenced to seven years by the Qiaoxi District Court on September 28, 2015. She appealed the verdict to the Shijiazhuang Intermediate Court, which returned her case to the lower court and ordered a re-trial.
On June 27, 2017, the Qiaoxi District Court held a retrial of Ms. Yang and later sentenced her to six years. Ms. Yang appealed again, and the intermediate court returned the case to the lower court for a second re-trial.
While Ms. Yang was still awaiting the result of her retrial at home, the police put her on a wanted list and accused her of possessing banknotes printed with information about Falun Gong. Due to strict censorship in China, many Falun Gong practitioners are using creative ways to raise awareness about the persecution, including printing messages on banknotes.
Ms. Yang was arrested again on October 25, 2019, and detained at the Shijiazhuang No.2 Detention Center. She was denied a meeting with her lawyer during the coronavirus epidemic. Her blood pressure has remained at a dangerously high level.
Ms. Yang appeared in the Qiaoxi District Court on July 15, 2020. Her daughter was her only family member allowed to attend the hearing. Ms. Yang entered a not-guilty plea for herself. She shared how she had benefited from practicing Falun Gong, including improving her hot temper, and emphasized that no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong.
As she was charged with “undermining law enforcement with a cult organization,” a standard pretext used to imprison Falun Gong practitioners, she asked the prosecutor how she could have undermined law enforcement by practicing her faith. The prosecutor didn’t answer her question of what specific law she had allegedly undermined.
On September 10, 2020, the judge sentenced Ms. Yang to three years, stating that she had 4,650 paper bills printed with information about Falun Gong. Ms. Yang has again appealed the verdict to the Shijiazhuang Intermediate Court.