(Minghui.org) A Binzhou City, Shandong Province practitioner was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison after two hearings at Boxing County Court for her faith in Falun Gong, a mind-body practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Ms. Zhang Yuzhen was arrested on April 21, 2019 for talking to people about Falun Gong and has been held at Binzhou City Detention Center since.

This was the third time that the former bank employee was persecuted for her faith.

One Year of Forced Labor

Ms. Zhang was arrested at work on June 5, 2008. Officials from Political and Legal Affairs Committee, an extrajudicial agency tasked with persecuting Falun Gong, talked to her and recorded the conversation with her without her permission.

The recording, in which she clarified the facts about Falun Gong and urged the officials not to participate in the persecution, was later used as prosecution evidence to give her a one year term at Wangcun Forced Labor Camp.

Sentence to Three Years with Three Years of Probation

Ms. Zhang was arrested again on August 18, 2013 after being reported for talking to people about Falun Gong. The police ransacked her home on August 20 and confiscated her Falun Gong books.

While she was detained at Gaoqing County Detention Center, the police attempted to extort 70,000 yuan from her family in exchange for her release. Her family refused to comply.

Ms. Zhang was taken back into custody at Zibo City Detention Center on June 26, 2014, only a few months after she was released. The Hengtai County Procuratorate approved her arrest on July 31, 2014.

Ms. Zhang and four other practitioners appeared in court on April 29, 2015. She was sentenced to three years with three years of probation on September 11, 2015. Mr. Dai Dongwu was sentenced to 3.5 years, Ms. Gong Junling, Ms. Wei Qirong and Ms. Sun Liju were each given 3 years.

Ms. Zhang’s husband wasn't working at that time and was in debt from a construction project that he was involved with. Her daughter was still in college. Her mother, a colon cancer patient in her 80s, was just operated on. With Ms. Zhang being the sole breadwinner at home, the persecution against her left her family in financial ruin.