(Minghui.org) While people around the world celebrated the arrival of 2021, two Baoding City, Hebei Province residents were sentenced to prison on the last day of 2020 for their faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual and meditation practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Ms. Guo Zhiping, 60, and Ms. Chen Xiumei, 63, were arrested on March 4, 2020, for handing out information about Falun Gong. Ms. Guo was pushed down to the ground by several young police officers during her arrest. She and Ms. Chen have been kept in the Baoding City Detention Center since.

The Gaoyang County Court first held a hearing on November 6, 2020 through a video conference, but soon ended it due to a technical glitch. 

On November 26, presiding judge Li Zhiyong went to the detention center and held the hearing of the two practitioners in person. Only one person from each practitioner’s family was allowed to attend the hearing. 

Ms. Guo and Ms. Chen were brought into the makeshift courtroom handcuffed. Their lawyers demanded that the bailiff remove their handcuffs, but the request was rejected by the judge. 

The practitioners’ lawyers entered a not guilty plea for them and the practitioners also testified in their own defense. 

The judge sentenced Ms. Guo and Ms. Chen each to one year and three months on December 31.

Related reports:

Three Hebei Residents on Trial for Their Faith, Two Previously Tortured in Labor Camps

Two Hebei Residents Face Prosecution for Disseminating Information about Their Faith

Ms. Chen Xiumei Sent to Forced Labor Camp Four Times

After Being Detained in Forced Labor Camps Three Times, Ms. Chen Xiumei Sues Her Persecutors

Ms. Chen Xiumei Tortured in Hebei Province Women's Forced Labor Camp

Imprisoned Practitioner Chen Xiumei from Baoding on Hunger Strike to Protest the Persecution

Ms. Chen Xiumei Brutally Tortured at Baoding Labor Camp in Hebei Province