(Minghui.org) A couple in Jixi City, Heilongjiang Province, were sentenced to prison on April 7, 2022, for refusing to give up their faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Mr. Chen Weiquan and Ms. Pan Xihua were arrested on September 15, 2021, after Jin Hui, the head of the Didao District Domestic Security Office, suspected them of reporting his involvement in the persecution to Minghui.org. After Jin ransacked their home, the couple’s daughter discovered that the 5,000 yuan in cash they kept at home was gone.

Another practitioner, Mr. Wu Baoku, was also arrested on September 15 and detained at the Jixi City Detention Center with the couple. Jin attempted to arrest a fourth practitioner, Ms. Liu Huanying, but she escaped and was forced to live away from home. This was the second time that Mr. Wu had been targeted in the same month. Jin previously arrested him on August 9 and detained him for eight days. Ms. Liu was arrested on August 11 and also detained for eight days. It’s not clear what triggered Jin to try to arrest them again.

Mr. Chen, his wife Ms. Pan, and Mr. Wu were tried in the Misahn City Court on April 7, 2022. Mr. Chen was sentenced to seven years and Ms. Pan to four years. It’s not clear if Mr. Wu was sentenced.

Past Persecution of the Couple

Since the onset of the persecution, Mr. Chen and Ms. Pan have been repeatedly targeted for practicing Falun Gong, often by officer Jin.

Ms. Pan was first arrested on October 23, 2004, and sentenced to five years by the Mashan District Court.

Jin arrested her again, on August 31, 2016, just as she was about to board a train. Jin took her to the Didao Police Department and then ransacked her home. Mr. Chen was also arrested during the raid. Jin detained Ms. Pan for 15 days and Mr. Chen for 10 days.

When Mr. Chen was in a motorcycle accident in 2016, the traffic police checked his ID and discovered that he was a Falun Gong practitioner, so they reported him. Jin arrested him and detained him for ten days.

Another time, Jin arrested Mr. Chen as he was returning home. Ms. Pan, who’d been walking behind Mr. Chen, escaped, but Mr. Chen was detained for several days.

When the pandemic broke out in 2020, many posters about the health benefits of Falun Gong appeared in the neighborhoods in Jixi. Jin suspected the couple had put up the posters and often harassed them and ransacked their place.

One such raid took place on March 4, 2020, when Jin deceived the couple’s daughter into opening the door by pretending to be a community committee staff member. The police confiscated the couple’s Falun Gong books and photo of Falun Gong’s founder. They took Ms. Pan to the Dongxing Police Station and held her there until 6 p.m.