(Minghui.org) An 81-year-old woman was sentenced on December 31, 2020, to four years in prison without due process for refusing to give up her faith in Falun Gong.

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

Ms. Zhao Hongzhi of Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, was arrested on February 25, 2020, after being recorded by street surveillance cameras distributing Falun Gong informational materials. Another practitioner who went with her, Ms. Wei Xiaoli, in her 40s, was also arrested. Ms. Wei’s computer, printer, and Falun Gong materials were confiscated.

While interrogating Ms. Zhao and Ms. Wei, the police showed them a dozen photos and asked them to identify other practitioners in them. The women refused to comply. Ms. Zhao was released on February 28 and Ms. Wei was held in custody until March 13.

Ms. Zhao was arrested again in March and held in custody for three days. The police forced her to sign a statement acknowledging that she owned Falun Gong books.

Ms. Zhao was harassed two more times, in May and again in November, before two agents from the court went to her home on December 31, 2020, and told her she'd been sentenced to four years in prison and fined 20,000 yuan. One of them said she could appeal it if she didn’t agree with the verdict.

Ms. Zhao contacted the intermediate court, only to be told to check back after the Chinese New Year holiday in mid-February 2021.

This isn’t the first time that Ms. Zhao has been persecuted for her faith. She was previously arrested on May 24, 2008, and given one year at the notorious Masanjia Forced Labor Camp, where she was subjected to inhumane physical and mental torture designed to force her to renounce her faith.