(Minghui.org) Three residents of Meizhou City, Guangdong Province, were sentenced to prison for not renouncing their faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline based on the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

The two women and one man appealed their verdicts to the Meizhou City Intermediate Court, which upheld their prison sentences in a secret trial on June 21, 2019.

Ms. Zeng Huaying, Ms. Guo Yafang, and Mr. Zeng Haiping were arrested on June 20 and 21, 2018, after being monitored by the police for some time.

Mr. Zeng was held in the Mei County Detention Center, while Ms. Guo and Ms. Zeng were detained in the Meizhou City Detention Center.

The three of them appeared in the Mei County District Court, first on December 13 and then on December 28, 2018. Their lawyers entered “not guilty” pleas on their behalf.

Prior to the first hearing, prosecutor Zhang Luming threatened their lawyers not to plead “not guilty” for them. Zhang also pressured the lawyers' local bar association in attempts to force them to drop the case. The lawyers withstood the pressure and still represented and defended the practitioners.

The judge sentenced the practitioners to prison on March 22, 2019. Ms. Guo was sentenced to six and a half years and Ms. Zeng and Mr. Zeng to five years each.

Past Persecution

Ms. Guo, in her 50s, worked for the Mei County Medicine Company. She has been repeatedly arrested and has already spent two years in a forced labor camp and 11 years in prison for not giving up her faith.

Ms. Zeng, 48, was arrested on March 17, 2017, and held in custody for 15 days.

Mr. Zeng, in his 60s, has already spent one year in a forced labor camp and five and a half years in prison. The police broke bones in his hands and feet when they beat him.

Mr. Zeng used to be addicted to gambling and drinking and had a history of domestic violence. But he quit all of his bad habits and behavior after taking up Falun Gong.