(Minghui.org) Without any due process, a Falun Gong practitioner was sentenced to four years in prison for refusing to renounce her belief, a spiritual practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Ms. Zhang Xiuying, 64, was taken from home directly to a detention center in November 2019 after being told that she was convicted. She was transferred to Liaoning Women’s Prison a month later.

Prior to this arrest, Ms. Zhang, of Benxi City, Liaoning Province, has been arrested 5 times and incarcerated 3 times for a total of 10 years in the past 20 years of persecution of Falun Gong.

An Inquiry at Home Turns into Trial

Ms. Zhang's latest sentencing was triggered by her arrest on November 14, 2016 for talking about the persecution of Falun Gong in public. She was taken to Benxi Detention Center on the next day. After she was diagnosed with severe heart disease during a physical examination, she was released after her son paid a 5,000 yuan bond.

The police later forged evidence against her and got her indicted. Her case was submitted to Hengren County Court. To avoid persecution, Ms. Zhang lived away from home.

The police found Ms. Zhang in 2017 at her daughter’s place and frequently went to harass and threaten her and her daughter.

The local police officers and a judge from Hengren County Court went to Ms. Zhang’s home in July 2018, claiming to verify some facts from her arrest two years ago. Ms. Zhang denied any wrongdoing and told them that practicing Falun Gong was her constitutional right to religious freedom.

The judge and an officer showed up at her home in mid-November 2019 and told her that she was sentenced to 4 years in prison. According to them, the visit to her home in July 2018 was considered a hearing. The judge gave her 10 days to appeal.

Ms. Zhang was taken back into custody on November 21, 2019.

Peaceful Protests Turn into Arrests and Incarceration

After the persecution of Falun Gong started in July 1999, Ms. Zhang went to Beijing three times within a few months to advocate for her legal right to practice her faith. She was arrested, beaten, and detained each time.

The last time she was detained, she was arbitrarily given 3 years of forced labor reeducation in October 1999. She was sent to Masanjia Forced Labor Camp and forced to perform intensive labor. She was subjected to brainwashing and locked in solitary confinement for carrying a Falun Gong lecture. The guards attempted to force her to renounce her faith.

Electric Batons and Suffocation

A year after she was released, Ms. Zhang was arrested again and given another three years at Masanjia Forced Labor Camp in September 2003.

A guard ordered Ms. Zhang to sing and praise the Chinese Communist Party. She refused and consequently was put in an isolated cell and forced to sit still on a small stool from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Her health deteriorated as she was given very little food every day for two months.

One day two male guards assaulted Ms. Zhang for saying “Falun Dafa is good,” while another guard shocked her with an electric baton. After torturing her to near death, they cuffed her to a gas pipe. The beating was so harsh that she lost her eyesight the next day.

The labor camp authorities mobilized male guards from other facilities to come to Masanjia to intensify the torture of female practitioners in 2003. A guard tore her bed sheet up and tried to strangle her with the shredded strips.

Force Fed Water and Denied Toilet Use in Prison

Ms. Zhang was arrested for the fifth time on December 9, 2009 outside of her apartment. She was sent to Dabailou Detention Center that evening.

She was sentenced to four years in prison in July 2010 and transferred to Liaoning Women’s Prison on September 14.

The next day a guard instigated a prisoner to strike Ms. Zhang repeatedly with a heavy book and caused her mouth to bleed. Every night she had to squat or stand instead of sleep. The guards force fed her water and denied her toilet use. The torture lasted nearly 2 months.

In the winter, Ms. Zhang slept on the ground without being given a comforter. One day the prisoners tied her to a bed frame and she was forced to stand barefoot overnight with thin clothes on. The next day there was frostbite on her toes. A guard repeatedly slapped her while she was tied up. Her hearing was damaged for months.

Ms. Zhang was tortured in solitary confinement and forced to write so-called thought reports against her will.