(Minghui.org) Ms. Li Yu, 71, retired as a teacher in Qingyang, Gansu Province. She was sentenced to two years of imprisonment by the Xifeng District Court, and was informed of the verdict on September 11, 2015. She appealed the sentence the next day.

Ms. Li wrote in her appeal, “I'm a Falun Gong practitioner who lives by the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, because I wish to be a good person. I have never violated the law. Because I practice Falun Gong, I enjoy a healthy body.”

“It is every Chinese citizen's right to practice their belief according to our country's Constitution. I was sentenced because of fabricated evidence, as an outcome of the persecution of Falun Gong. Therefore, the sentence should be overturned.”

Since the communist regime launched its suppression campaign against Falun Gong in 1999, practitioners in China have faced arbitrary arrest, imprisonment, and torture as the authorities attempt to force them to renounce their beliefs.

Extortion, Repeated Arrests, and Torture

After Ms. Li's most recent arrest in her apartment in Lanzhou on September 15, 2014, police ransacked her apartment and extorted 5,000 yuan from her family. She was released for medical treatment. However, the Xifeng District Procuratorate filed charges against her on October 27, 2014. The Xifeng District Court held a hearing on March 2, 2015.

Ms. Li had previously been held for one and a half years in a forced labor camp for petitioning the government in Beijing in October 2000 for the right to practice Falun Gong. In May 2006, she went into hiding for eight years to avoid further persecution.

Below is Ms. Li's personal account of the abuses she suffered during the past 16 years.

Several Arrests and Detentions in 2000

I went to Beijing on March 20, 2000 to appeal for justice for Falun Gong. Officers from the Xifeng Police Department arrested me and took me to the Xifeng Detention Center. They had planned to hold me for one month, but decided to extort 2,000 yuan from my family. They released me after 19 days.

The next arrest took place when I visited another practitioner in September 2000. Officer Fu Yukui from the Xifeng Police Department followed me to the practitioner's home, arrested both of us, and seized many of the practitioner's personal belongings. We were detained for one month.

As a committed practitioner, I went to Beijing to appeal for the right to practice Falun Gong in October 2000. Police officers at Tiananmen Square arrested me and held me in a huge structure with several hundred practitioners. We were not given any food or water, and had to sit on the ground through the night.

I was assigned to a small group of five people and transferred to an unknown place, where the police took turns to interrogate me the entire evening. They wanted my personal information, which I refused to provide. Then, they transferred me to a detention center in Beijing, where I was held for six days.

After I was released, I met a practitioner from Sichuan Province on the train. We decided to return to Beijing and continue our appeal. On arrival at Tiananmen Square, the police took us into custody and detained me for six days.

Tortured in a Labor Camp in 2001

Two officers from the Beijie Police Station came to my home on January 10, 2001 and arrested me. They took me to a drug rehabilitation center. According to an arrest warrant, I had been sentenced to one and a half years of forced labor for appealing in Beijing.

Then, I was transferred to the Gansu Province No. 1 Forced Labor Camp, also called the Pingantai Forced Labor Camp, on January 18, 2001. After my arrival, the guards had inmates strip-search me and assigned two inmates to monitor me around the clock. I was forbidden to talk to anyone.

In September 2001, the forced labor camp began a new round of ”transformation” of practitioners. Various torture methods were implemented to force practitioners to give up Falun Gong. The methods included sleep deprivation, standing still for many hours at a time, and beatings of anyone who closed their eyes.

We had to perform hard labor during the day. Practitioners who refused to be “transformed” were hung up. Some became disabled and could no longer take care of themselves.

Displaced for Over Eight Years

I was released on June 10, 2002. After I returned home, officers from the local police station continuously harassed me. Four officers from the Beijie Police Station ransacked my home in 2003.

I visited practitioner Guo at around 10 p.m. on May 18, 2006. A police officer stopped me, stole my belongings and beat me. I escaped, but my thumb was permanently injured. The following day, police ransacked my home and the homes of my relatives.

I have been displaced from my home for eight years. However, officers from the Xifeng Police Department still go to my home. They threatened my family and harassed my daughter at her workplace. The police extorted 5,000 yuan from my family and called it a “security deposit.” The persecution has caused tremendous harm to my family.

Officers from the Lanzhou Police Department seized my and another practitioner's computer, both valued at close to 30,000 yuan, on September 15, 2014.

Over the past 16 years, officers from the Xifeng Police Department and the Beijie Police Station have extorted 15, 200 yuan from my family.

Regaining Health After Learning Falun Gong

Ms. Li was born on September 15, 1944. She had headaches, insomnia, nasal inflammation, and low blood pressure for over 30 years. After a stroke, she developed tremors in her hands and feet. She became healthy after starting to practice Falun Gong.