(Minghui.org) A 72-year-old woman was recently secretly sentenced to three years for her faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Ms. Xing Deqin, a resident of Tonghua City, Jilin Province, was arrested at home on July 28, 2020. The police confiscated her Falun Gong books, related materials, photo of Falun Gong’s founder, a laptop and a printer. After holding her for 30 hours at the Liuhe County Domestic Security Office, the police transferred her to the Tonghua City Detention Center.

Ms. Xing’s family hired a lawyer, but the authorities used the pandemic as an excuse to block her lawyer from visiting her. The detention center also demanded that the lawyer register with the local justice bureau for his representation, even though no law dictates that lawyers do so in order to represent their clients.

On October 13, 2020, Ms. Xing’s daughter went to the Liuhe County Police Department to file a complaint about the arbitrary detention of her mother, only to be arrested and detained seven hours herself. The police took away her complaint letter and cellphone. During the time she was held at the police station, a male officer closely monitored her and followed her even when she used the restroom. Officer Liu Jianlin forced her to sign a statement, promising not to file the complaint again. He threatened that he wouldn’t release her if she refused to comply.

Ms. Xing’s lawyer went to the Liuhe County Procuratorate on November 23 to inquire about her case. The prosecutor told him that they had returned her case to the police for insufficient evidence. The lawyer asked to meet with Ms. Xing again, but the prosecutor replied that they haven’t received any response from the detention center and couldn’t grant him permission at that time.

On December 3, judge Lu Xu of the Liuhe County Court called Ms. Xing’s lawyer and told him that Ms. Xing has been indicted and they planned to hold a hearing in the next few days. Lu also indicated that Ms. Xing has refused to be represented by the lawyer. 

Given the short ten-day period since he'd contacted the procuratorate, the lawyer questioned whether the prosecutor was lying to him about returning the case to the police. He also suspected the court of blocking his defense of Ms. Xing by lying to him that she'd dismissed him.

When Ms. Xing’s family called judge Lu on December 23 to inquire about her case, Lu said they had already had a hearing around December 4, but none of her family members or the lawyer were informed. He also indicated that they would sentence her by the end of the month.

Ms. Xing’s family called judge Lu again on December 28 and was told that she had been sentenced to three years. Judge Lu said that Ms. Xing has given up the rights to appeal the verdict. He also refused to send a copy of Ms. Xing’s verdict to her family or her lawyer.

Ms. Xing’s family later contacted several local lawyers and entrusted them to visit her, but all of their visitation requests were turned down by the justice bureau, court and detention center. Since they haven’t talked to her themselves, they also suspected that the judge lied to them about Ms. Xing’s decision to not appeal the case.

A Previous Arrest

This wasn’t the first time that Ms. Xing has been targeted for her faith. On January 12, 2016, a group of officers broke into her home and arrested her, her brother and daughter-in-law Ms. Xue Lili. 

When her son, Mr. Liu Xiaofeng, tried to prevent the police from taking his mother and wife away, the police pushed him onto the sofa. Mr. Liu’s face was scratched and bruised by the police. After that, the police began to search Ms. Xing’s home.

The brutal arrest and raid terrified Ms. Xing’s younger sister, who'd just come to visit during the Chinese New Year holiday. She suffered a heart attack and yet the police accused her of feigning the heart attack. Despite her condition, several officers pulled her off the bed and searched under the bed. They also confiscated her laptop, her and her husband’s IDs, as well as Ms. Xing’s other sister’s cellphone and Mr. Liu’s cellphone. 

For the next several days, everyone at Ms. Xing’s home, including her sister who was still recovering from the heart attack, were summoned to the police station for interrogation. The police threatened to arrest them if they didn’t comply. They also forced her family members to admit to things they didn’t know about. Ms. Xing’s sister was forced to sign the agreement for the police to impound her own laptop.

Several other family members of Ms. Xing also developed heart conditions after the incident. Her sister-in-law had to receive IV drips. Her brother had heart palpitations and felt weak. He couldn’t stand steadily and almost fell several times.

When Ms. Xing’s daughter, Ms. Liu Jing, went to the Domestic Security Office and demanded that the police return confiscated items, officer Wang Guangren shouted at her and threatened to arrest her as well. 

Ms. Xing’s family hired a lawyer. After being held at the Liaoyuan City Detention Center for six months, she was released on bail on July 11, 2016. 

The police returned to harass Ms. Xing and her daughter again in August 2017.