(Minghui.org) A Guazhou County, Gansu Province resident was quickly sentenced to 3.5 years in prison six days after she was arrested for her faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Ms. Zhang Xuelian was approached by a few police officers in May 2020, who claimed that they received an order from above to investigate a few pictures with information about Falun Gong that she had sent to her mother with her cellphone. 

For the next few months, the police kept harassing Ms. Zhang. One officer from the Guazhou County Domestic Security Office revealed to her in August that they would sentence her in 2020 and has assigned an out-of-town court to handle her case.

On December 22, 2020, the police arrested Ms. Zhang and took her to a detention center in Dunhuang City, about 80 miles away. Six days later, the judge from Dunhuang Court went to the detention center and handed down a 3.5-year sentence to her. Her family wasn’t informed of her verdict. Ms. Zhang is now appealing the case.

Past Persecution

This wasn’t the first time that Ms. Zhang has been sentenced for her faith. She was previously given one year of forced labor followed by seven years in prison.

On September 21, 2009, while she was living in Changchun City, Jilin Province, she was arrested by the local police and given a year at the Heizuizi Forced Labor Camp. 

When her family went to the labor camp on September 21, 2010, to take her home, the authorities refused to release her and extended her term for a week. The labor camp then contacted the police in Guazhou County, who then traveled nearly 2,000 miles to Changchun and took Ms. Zhang back on September 28. Ms. Zhang’s mother and other family members tried to prevent the Guazhou police from taking her away, but to no avail.

Upon returning to Guazhou on October 2, Ms. Zhang was admitted by the Dunhuang Detention Center and held there until November 19.

Meanwhile, the police submitted Ms. Zhang’s case to the Guazhou County Procuratorate, with the excuse that she defied public order. They arrested her again on April 8, 2011, in front of her 74-year-old father and took her to the Suzhou District Detention Center in Jiuquan City, about 180 miles away.

Ms. Zhang appeared in Jiuquan City Intermediate Court on April 12, 2011. Her lawyer entered a not guilty plea for her. A few days later, the judge sentenced her to seven years and didn’t allow her to appeal the verdict. She was taken to the Gansu Province Women’s Prison in late April 2011.