(Minghui.org) A prison in Hubei Province refused to release a Falun Gong practitioner amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

Mr. Cheng Youjin was scheduled to be released on February 26, 2020. Fanjiatai Prison, where Mr. Cheng is detained, claimed that it was unable to carry out its pick-up-and-drop-off policy, due to lack of manpower, and decided to keep Mr. Cheng in the prison until the epidemic subsides.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is an energy practice that teaches spiritual principles and promotes mental and physical wellness. It has been persecuted in China since 1999.

In its letter to Wuhan City Political and Legal Affairs Committee, the prison stated that it had notified Mr. Cheng’s wife and asked the committee to monitor her, in case she became emotional about Ms. Cheng’s continued imprisonment. The prison did not provide further explanation about the policy.

Mr. Cheng taught at the 5th High School in Xinzhou District, Wuhan City. The police arrested him on August 27, 2015 because he told people about the persecution. He was held at Xinzhou Detention Center and later indicted.

A judge sentenced Mr. Cheng to four and a half years in prison on May 26, 2016.

In contrast to Mr. Cheng’s ordeal, a woman who was imprisoned in Wuhan for ten years for taking bribes, was released on February 18 despite her flu-like symptoms. Despite the lockdown of the city, she was allowed to be driven to Beijing by her family. Two days after she arrived in Beijing, she was tested positive to the coronavirus and has been sent to a local quarantine center.