(Minghui.org) Three Daqing City, Heilongjiang Province residents were sentenced to prison for their faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Mr. Du Yecheng was sentenced to seven years. Mr. Guan Xingtao received eight years and his wife, Ms. Wu Yanhua, was given seven and a half years. They have all appealed to the Daqing City Intermediate Court.

The three practitioners were targeted during a mass arrest of more than 100 practitioners in Heilongjiang Province on November 9, 2018. 

Mr. Du, in his 40s and owner of a glass shop, was arrested by a dozen police officers at his home around 7 a.m. With his father and wife having both died a few years ago, his mother and young daughter are struggling to cope after his arrest.

Ms. Wu was arrested around 8 a.m. when she went to pay the family's home association fee. When she didn't return by 1 p.m., Mr. Guan went out to look for her, but he was also arrested. 

Six officers knocked on the couple's door around 3 p.m. Before Ms. Wu’s mother could open the door, the police barged in. They raided the place and confiscated the couple’s Falun Gong books and computer. 

Ms. Wu’s mother, in her 80s, shook uncontrollably for hours after the police raid. Mr. Guan’s mother suffered a heart attack and stroke that same day, after she was informed of his arrest.

The Ranghulu District Procuratorate approved the three practitioners' arrests on December 14, 2018. The prosecutor returned their cases to the police for insufficient evidence three times before eventually indicting them. According to Chinese criminal law, the prosecutor can only return a case to the police for further investigation at most twice and should dismiss the case if not enough evidence is provided.

The three practitioners appeared in the Ranghulu District Court on August 12, 2019. Ms. Wu and Mr. Guan's family hired a lawyer to enter a not guilty plea for them. Mr. Du testified in his own defense.

The judge announced the verdicts in November 2019.

Related reports:

Three Heilongjiang Residents Tried for Not Renouncing Their Faith

119 Falun Gong Practitioners Arrested in Two Heilongjiang Province Cities in One Day