Four Women Arrested for Speaking Up for Their Faith; One Dies While Awaiting Trial, Three Sentenced to Prison
(Minghui.org) Three residents of Kunming City, Yunnan Province were sentenced to prison on June 20, 2019, for not renouncing their faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Ms. Yang Gongxiu, 74, was sentenced to two and a half years with a 2,000 yuan fine. Ms. Zhu Cuifen, 68, and Ms. Zhou Huifen, 61, each got one year and two months, also with a 2,000 yuan fine.
The three women were arrested together with a fourth practitioner, Ms. Xia Meishan, 55, on June 6, 2018, for putting up posters to raise awareness about the 20-year-long persecution against their faith.
Ms. Zhu and Ms. Zhou have been kept at Kunming City Detention Center since then. Ms. Yang and Ms. Xia were denied admission due to their physical conditions and released on bail.
Both Ms. Xia and Ms. Yang were summoned by Xishan District Court on March 1, 2019, and told that they were scheduled to appear in court five days later.
On Ms. Xia's way home, however, she received another call from the court saying that they had just canceled the March 6 hearing and would reschedule it for a later date.
The fear of being imprisoned left Ms. Xia in tremendous distress. Her late-stage cervical cancer that was healed by practicing Falun Gong in 2013 recurred, and she passed away on March 18, 2019, while awaiting trial.
Three months later, the judge announced the verdict for the other three practitioners. It wasn't clear when the three women were tried.
This was the second time that Ms. Yang has been sentenced to prison for her faith. She got another four-year term on November 15, 2010. She has appealed her latest verdict.