(Minghui.org) Three Chengdu City, Sichuan Province residents learned recently that their appeals against the wrongful sentences for practicing Falun Gong have been rejected.

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

The three practitioners, including Mr. Du Rong, Chen Shigui (gender is unknown), and Ms. Zhang Zhenhua, were arrested together with a fourth practitioner, Ms. Mao Kun, on July 10, 2019. The four practitioners appeared together in the Jinniu District Court on December 28, 2020. Their lawyers entered a not guilty plea for them and argued that no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong so their clients should never have been prosecuted for exercising their constitutional right to freedom of belief.

After the trial, the judge announced that Ms. Mao was given 11.5 years and fined 20,000 yuan, Mr. Du was given 9 years and fined 10,000 yuan, Ms. Zhang was sentenced to 8 years and fined 8,000 yuan, and Chen was given 7.5 years and fined 6,000 yuan. 

The four practitioners all appealed the verdicts with Chengdu City Intermediate Court. While still awaiting the results, Ms. Mao was suddenly taken to a hospital emergency room around April 9, 2021, and she passed away in the hospital on the evening of April 11. She was 57.

In early July, the family members of the other three practitioners received the verdicts from the higher court, which upheld the original sentences of the practitioners. 

A family member of Mr. Du said he applied to defend him in his appeal case, but the court removed him and the lawyer they hired for Mr. Du without their knowledge appointed another lawyer instead who entered a guilty plea for Mr. Du.

Chen’s family also applied to defend him. But the court never approved their request, with the excuse that they didn’t submit the correct document. The family was outraged to see that the higher court’s verdict was dated May 2021, but the court waited until two months later to notify them and never told them about the decision when they were still trying to represent him back in May.

Related reports:

Accountant Dies While Serving 11.5 Years for Her Faith

67-Year-Old Woman Arrested for Visiting Friend, Sentenced to 8 Years

Four Sichuan Residents Sentenced to Lengthy Terms for Their Faith

Chinese version available

Category: Accounts of Persecution