(Minghui.org) Three Shangqiu City, Henan Province residents stood trial on March 16, 2021 for practicing Falun Gong, and one of them has been sentenced to three years.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Mr. Xi Dongdong, Mr. Ba Wei and Ms. Fan Yuanyuan were arrested on August 29, 2019. The police injured Mr. Ba’s face and knocked out two of his teeth during the arrest.

The three practitioners were held at the Pingtai Detention Center. The authorities blocked their lawyers’ visit, citing the pandemic as an excuse. Ms. Fan, in her 20s, was forced to wear shackles weighing about 15 lbs for three days. 

The Liangyuan District Court initially scheduled a hearing for July 7, 2020. After it was canceled due to insufficient evidence, the judge rescheduled it four times in August, before proceeding with the session on August 25.

The hearing was scheduled to start at 9 a.m., but the court waited until noon to start it. Prior to the hearing, a group of police officers came over and ordered the practitioners’ families, who came to attend the hearing, to remove their masks and to have their photos taken. The families refused to comply. Their lawyers also protested against the illegal request. 

As the situation became tense, the judge came over. He initially ordered the families to cooperate with the police, but relented after their strong protest. The prosecutor, Xu Yaping, appeared to be angry about the families’ protest and shouted, “No hearing anymore! What are we doing here?”

After rescheduling the session a few more times, the court finally held the hearing on March 16, 2021. It was again delayed from 9: 30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Four lawyers entered a not guilty plea for the practitioners. The hearing lasted six hours and ended at 8 p.m.

Mr. Xi’s family recently learned that he was sentenced to three years and scheduled to be released on August 28, 2022. 

It’s not clear whether the other two practitioners have been sentenced.

It was also confirmed by Minghui.org that another practitioner in Shangqiu, Mr. Sun Zhuanjian, who was tried by the same court on May 19, 2021, was sentenced to two years and taken to the Zhengzhou Prison on October 11.