(Minghui.org) Two Shanghai residents have been detained for more than a year for their faith in Falun Gong. After one procuratorate returned their cases twice due to insufficient evidence, the police turned to another procuratorate in a different district, which then indicted them and moved their cases to a local court.

The court is now putting the cases on hold, citing travel restrictions between districts due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is an ancient spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party since 1999.

Ms. Yao Guizhen and Ms. Wang Qiuju, 47, were arrested on April 25 and 28, 2019, respectively. Their arrests were approved on May 31. 

The police first submitted their cases to the Baoshan District Procuratorate, which returned them twice for insufficient evidence. As Chinese criminal law rules that the cases have to be dismissed if returned twice, the police then submitted their cases to the Jing’an District Procuratorate instead of releasing the practitioners. The Jing’an District prosecutor indicted the practitioners and forwarded their cases to the Jing’an District Court.

When the practitioners’ families contacted the court, however, they were told that the cases are on hold due to travel restrictions between districts in Shanghai.

The two practitioners are currently held at the Baoshan District Women’s Detention Center and have been denied visits and phone calls with their families.

According to other Falun Gong practitioners who have been released from that facility, the living conditions in the detention center are very poor. Ms. Wang is currently held in the 7th Ward and Ms. Yao the 4th Ward. 

Each ward is extremely crowded, with more than twenty people sharing a space of only 180 square feet, including sleeping and eating areas, with toilets also in the same place. Everyone must sleep on their sides, one next to another. The ventilation in the wards is very poor, making it very humid and smelly. 

When the practitioners were first sent there, they weren’t given any necessary supplies, including toilet paper. Without a bowl to use for eating, they had to use a bag. The food quality there is very poor. 

The guards force practitioners to stand or squat for long hours each day, while watching propaganda materials that either glorify the Chinese Communist Party or slander Falun Gong.