(Minghui.org) An appeals court in Qitaihe City recently upheld the guilty verdict against a local woman sentenced for refusing to renounce Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime.

Ms. Zhao Chunyang, a 60-year-old engineer, was arrested on May 7, 2016 and had her home ransacked soon afterwards.

Her lawyer entered a not guilty plea when she was tried on November 28, 2016. He argued that no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong and that his client should never have been prosecuted for exercising her constitutional right to freedom of belief.

Ms. Zhao was later sentenced to 3 years in prison and fined 3,000 yuan. Her new lawyer in the appeal requested an overturn of the guilty verdict, as the trial court sentenced Ms. Zhao on trumped up charges with fabricated evidence.

Judge Guan Yong of Qitaihe City Intermediate Court issued a decision on April 7, 2017 to uphold the verdict. It’s unclear when Ms. Zhao will be transferred to prison.

Related Report:Qitaihe, Heilongjiang Province: 5 Tried for Their Faith in Falun Gong