(Minghui.org) Four Wuhan City, Hubei Province residents were sentenced to prison on January 25, 2021 for their faith in Falun Gong. All of them have appealed the verdicts.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a mind-body practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Mr. Zhou Guoqiang was sentenced to 8.5 years and fined 30,000 yuan.Mr. Zhang Bo was sentenced to 3 years and fined 8,000 yuan.Mr. Xiong Youyi was sentenced to 2.5 years and fined 10,000 yuan.Mr. Li Jun was sentenced to 2 years and fined 5,000 yuan. 

The four practitioners all worked for the Xi Garden Property Management Office in Donghu District. They were arrested together on December 26, 2018. The police ransacked their homes and confiscated a total of over 80,000 yuan in cash from them. 

The four practitioners were locked in metal chairs and interrogated at the Yujiatou Police Station. They were later transferred to the Wuchang Detention Center, where they were held for two years before being sentenced. 

Mr. Zhang's 78-year-old father was so devastated by his detention that he fell ill and had to be hospitalized. He passed away on April 13, 2019. 

The practitioners appeared in Wuchang District Court on December 24, 2020. A total of five lawyers represented them and entered not guilty pleas for them. The lawyers argued that no law ever criminalized Falun Gong in China and that it’s their clients’ freedom of belief to practice Falun Gong. 

The practitioners were charged with “undermining law enforcement with a cult organization,” a standard pretext used to criminalize Falun Gong. Mr. Zhang’s lawyer questioned the prosecutor which law was undermined by his client and how? The prosecutor was unable to answer.

The lawyers also pointed out the evidence presented by the prosecutor contained an 11-page account from one witness. But different pages had different signatures of the same name and the alleged witness failed to appear in court to accept cross examination. “Who is this witness? Is it a real person or the evidence was fabricated?” the lawyers asked. But the prosecutor didn’t answer their question either. 

The practitioners testified in their own defense. They denied any wrongdoing in practicing Falun Gong and demanded acquittal.

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