(Minghui.org) A married couple in Tianjin were given heavy sentences for practicing Falun Gong, an ancient spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Mr. Li Jingzhong, a taxi driver, was arrested in his car on August 24, 2018. His wife, Ms. Dong Shuxiang, was arrested at home on the same day. The police also ransacked their residence.

The couple, both 57, have been held at Ninghe District Detention Center ever since. It was confirmed that Ninghe District Court sentenced Mr. Li to 9 years and Ms. Dong to 7 years, but other details of the couple's trial remain to be investigated.

Mr. Li and Ms. Dong began to practice Falun Gong in 1997. Because of refusing to renounce their faith, they were arrested and had their home ransacked several times. 

Prior to his latest arrest, Mr. Li was held in detention for an unknown period of time in July 2015 for filing a criminal complaint against Jiang Zemin, the former head of the communist regime who ordered the persecution.