(Minghui.org) After one and a half years of detention, two Shaanxi Province residents were sentenced to prison for their faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Mr. Yuan Huiwu, a Liquan County native working in Xi’an City, was arrested on July 12, 2019 by police officers on the lookout, when he went to another practitioner’s home to do some home renovation for her. The police searched Mr. Yuan’s place and confiscated his Falun Gong books, a photo of Falun Gong’s founder, his son’s debit card, and his daughter’s cash, debit cards, and instructional materials for her to learn the Chinese zither. He was then held at the Sanyao Detention Center.

Mr. Yang Xin, a Baoji City native also working in Xi’an, returned to his hometown in July 2019 to help with some farm work. While he was doing laundry in the yard around 7 a.m. on July 15, a group of officers broke in, pushed him into a room, and beat him. Upon hearing Mr. Yang screaming, his mother, in her late 70s, shouted for the police to stop. As she tried to enter the room to stop the police, an officer pushed her into another room and locked the door. 

About one hour later, Mr. Yang was brought out with his hands and feet chained. When he refused to get into the police car, the officers beat him again. A villager watching the scene questioned the police, “What has he done? Why are you beating him?” The police replied, “Have you seen me beating him? Do you have photos?”

Before leaving, the police deceived a relative of Mr. Yang into signing his criminal detention notice. A group of officers came back later and ransacked his home. Mr. Yang was taken to the Yanta District Detention Center.

Both Mr. Yuan and Mr. Yang were tried by the Yanta Court in Xi'an on December 16, 2019. Two lawyers entered a not guilty plea for them. 

The judge sentenced Mr. Yuan to three years with a 5,000-yuan fine and Mr. Yang to three years and three months with a 6,000-yuan fine on December 18, 2020. 

Mr. Yuan appealed the verdict with the Xi’an Intermediate Court. When his family checked the status of his case in the court’s system, it indicated that judge Luo Chengxing had accepted it. But when they called the judge, he denied that he had ever seen the case.