(Minghui.org) A Zhangjiakou City, Hebei Province, man was secretly taken to Tangshan City Prison on July 19, 2021, to serve an eight-year term for practicing Falun Gong after his appeal was rejected by the higher court.

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

Mr. Yang Jianlu’s arrest and sentencing for his faith shocked his fellow villagers, who knew him as a good person who never hesitated to help those in need. During a previous hearing on September 4, 2020, his lawyer presented an affidavit signed by 415 of his neighbors in the village in support of Mr. Yang.

The villagers’ statement said, “We are from Banpo Street. We are all shocked to hear about Yang Jianlu’s arrest. People in nearby villages all know that he practices Falun Gong and is a good person. Whoever needs help, he is always willing to lend a hand. We don’t know much about those sophisticated principles of Falun Gong, but we know that he didn’t do anything wrong by being a good person. He has been detained for nearly eight months. Please release him. Let his family reunite.”

Mr. Yang’s daughter also testified to his character during his hearing. “My father follows the universal values of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. He is kind and considerate. Whenever conflicts arise, he reflects on himself instead of pointing fingers at others,” she said.

She described an incident in which a truck driver left a large bag of cash in her family restaurant after dining there. Her father kept the bag in a secure place and waited for the driver to come back. After confirming that the bag belonged to the truck driver, Mr. Yang returned it to him. The driver was very grateful. He said he couldn’t remember where he’d lost the money and had never expected to get it back, because most people in China now would just pocket the money and never bother to try to find the owner.

On another occasion, Mr. Yang did the catering for a wedding. He selected the best ingredients but gave them a generous discount. When the family came to pay him a few days after the wedding, they complained that one guest had diarrhea after returning home and they demanded that Mr. Yang lower the price by 900 yuan. Mr. Yang didn’t argue and charged 900 yuan less. His employees said they were impressed by his forbearance, given that most other restaurant owners would argue and fight with the customer.

Arrest and Sentencing

Mr. Yang and his wife Ms. Wang Huijun were arrested on December 3, 2019, while talking to people about Falun Gong at a local market. Although Ms. Wang was released two days later, Mr. Yang was held in Xuanhua Detention Center.

The police submitted Mr. Yang’s case to the procuratorate in April 2020. When his lawyer called prosecutor Cheng Xing on May 7 to inquire about his case, Cheng said that he was planning to indict Mr. Yang and submit his case to the court in two or three days.

On September 4, 2020, Mr. Yang was tried in the Xuanhua District Court. He entered a not guilty plea and demanded that the judge play the DVDs confiscated from him. He said he didn’t violate the law in having Falun Gong informational materials.

Mr. Yang’s daughter also defended him in court. She said, “I have to say something when my father is being treated unjustly.” She shared how Falun Gong changed her father for the better and brought happiness to her family. She also said that in today's society with rapidly declining morality, her father has always taught her to be a kind and upright person.

The hearing started at 9:15 a.m. The judge adjourned for a ten-minute break at 11 a.m. When the judge adjourned it a second time around 1:30 p.m., the prosecutor left suddenly without giving a reason, so the judge had to end the hearing.

The judge sentenced Mr. Yang to eight years with a 10,000-yuan fine on March 16, 2021. He appealed with the Zhangjiakou City Intermediate Court, which upheld his original sentence on July 19, without having a hearing. He was taken to prison on the same day.

Perpetrators’ contact information:
Wang Yongfeng (王永峰), presiding judge, Xuanhua District Court: +86-17703138505
Zhang Yuewu (张跃武), judge: +86-17703138633Yang Le (杨乐), clerk: +86-17703138267

Chinese version available

Category: Accounts of Persecution