(Minghui.org) Seven Suihua City, Heilongjiang Province residents’ appeals against their prison sentences for practicing Falun Gong were upheld by Suihua City Intermediate Court on September 23, 2019.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Although the judge at the appeals court promised the practitioners’ lawyers that he would hold a hearing for their cases if the lawyers agreed to provide more evidence, he upheld the verdicts without a hearing even after the lawyers submitted new evidence on August 20.

It was reported that the local Political and Legal Affairs Committee, an extrajudicial agency tasked to persecute Falun Gong, blocked the judge from having an open hearing of the practitioners’ cases.

Mr. Yang Chuanhou, Ms. Bai Xia, Ms. Wang Fang, Ms. Wang Fuhua (no relation to Ms. Wang Fang), and Ms. Zhao Tingting were arrested on October 3, 2018 for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong.

Ms. Gao Jinshu and Ms. Song Hongwei, the wife of Mr. Yang, were arrested on October 10, 2018, when they went to the Domestic Security Division to seek Mr. Yang’s release. The police ransacked Ms. Gao’s home on the next day and confiscated the 2,600 yuan cash in her purse.

The seven practitioners were held at the Anda Detention Center. They were sentenced to prison by Anda Court on May 24, 2019.

Mr. Yang, Ms. Wang Fang, Ms. Wang Fuhua, Ms. Bai and Ms. Zhao were each sentenced to 2 years in prison with 10,000 yuan fine.

Ms. Song and Ms. Gao were given 1.5 and 1 year, respectively, and both were fined 5,000 yuan.

When Ms. Song’s lawyer visited her at the local detention center in August, she was having discomfort in her heart and pain in her leg. The cell was very crowded and she couldn’t sleep well.

Ms. Gao was experiencing high blood pressure and dizziness.

The seven practitioners’ families were informed on October 27, 2019 to come visit them at the detention center on the next day. This was the first time that the practitioners have been granted family visitation since their arrests one year ago.

The detention center guards extorted 500 yuan from each family before allowing them to see their loved ones.

The six female practitioners were transferred to Heilongjiang Province Women’s Prison and Mr. Yang to Hulan Prison on October 29, 2019.

The police returned Mr. Yang’s private car and 15,000 yuan cash confiscated from him during his arrest to his family in November 2019.

Both Ms. Wang Fang, an elementary school teacher, and Ms. Zhao, a kindergarten teacher, were fired from their jobs, following their sentencing.

Ms. Gao, a retired associate researcher at the Ethnic Education School, has her pension suspended. The Domestic Security Division extorted 20,000 yuan bail bond from her on November 23, 2018 following her arrest, and are now refusing to return the money.

Related reports:

Appeals Court Reverses Decision to Assign Trial Court Judge to Hear Appeal of Own Cases

Heilongjiang Woman Convicted for Her Faith Has Been Forced to Wear Shackles for Over a Month

Seven Heilongjiang Province Residents, Including One with a Severe Medical Condition, Sentenced for Their Faith in Falun Gong

Court Hearing Halted as Woman With Medical Issues Becomes Incoherent Midway Through Trial

Suihua, Heilongjiang Province: Eight Arrested in One Week for Their Faith, Seven Facing Trial

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