(Minghui.org) A 71-year-old man in Shandong Province was sentenced to three years in prison without the knowledge of his family or lawyer, who didn't find out about his conviction until weeks later.

Mr. Song Pingnian is a resident of Tianheng Town in Qingdao City. He was arrested at a farmers' market on May 2, 2017 for talking to shoppers about the Chinese communist regime's persecution of Falun Gong, a mind-body practice also known as Falun Dafa that is based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.

Officers from Tianheng Police Station ransacked his home after the arrest. On the next day, he was sent to Pudong Detention Center in Jimo District, where officials demanded he write a statement to renounce his practice of Falun Gong.

Ms. Song said no without hesitation. “Falun Gong gave me good health. The principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance guide me to be a better person. There is nothing wrong with it, and I cannot live without Falun Gong!” he replied.

After being detained for 15 months, Mr. Song had a hearing on August 16, 2018, at the detention center organized by the Jimo Court.

An attorney from Beijing hired by Mr. Song's family refuted the accusations against him. The lawyer stated, “The Chinese Constitution protects freedom of belief, and none of the allegations against my client has legal basis. In fact, Mr. Song practices Falun Gong to improve his health and to become a better person. He did not violate any laws or undermine any law enforcement [as charged]. By following the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance himself and telling others about it, Mr. Song shows he is a good citizen. He should be set free unconditionally.”

Judge Han Hongxing responded that prosecutor Gao Haiyan needed to provide additional evidence and that he'd call for another hearing later on.

A second hearing never took place. Han secretly sentenced Mr. Song to prison, and his family and lawyer learned recently that he was taken to Shandong Province Prison (located in Ji'nan City) on November 8, 2018.

Key Responsible Personnel:

Gao Haiyan: prosecutor at Jimo Procuratorial Office, +86-18562885728Han Hongxing, judge at Jimo Court, +86-18562885658

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