(Minghui.org) The police in Xingtai City, Hebei Province have been monitoring and following Mr. Zhang Baozhong since early 2021 for his practice of Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Mr. Zhang, a former agricultural bank employee in his 50s, was arrested at home on September 11, 2021. Both his and his mother’s homes were raided, even though his mother didn’t practice Falun Gong. As he failed the physical examination required for detention center admission, he was released two days later.

The Xiangdu District Court held a hearing of Mr. Zhang’s case on August 19, 2022. He was represented by the court-appointed lawyer, Wang Zirui. The presiding judge was Wang Yingqi, with another judge Ma Junxiao.

When Mr. Zhang picked up his verdict of a 1.5-year prison sentence on September 6, he was arrested and taken to the Xingtai City No. 1 Detention Center. The guards refused to accept him upon finding out that he had high blood pressure and a lung condition. He was transferred to an infectious disease hospital and has since been held there. His family wasn’t allowed to visit him. They are now preparing to appeal his verdict for him.

Mr. Zhang has been repeatedly targeted for upholding his faith for the past two decades. He was forced to live away from home in 2002 to hide from police, and was fired by the bank he worked at. He was arrested in May 2004 and sentenced to seven years in Jidong Prison.