(Minghui.org) Five months after his wife passed away as a result of police harassment, a 68-year-old Pingdingshan City, Henan Province resident was sentenced to four years and fined 2,000 yuan on October 28, 2020 for his faith in Falun Gong. 

Falun Gong, also called Falun Dafa, is a spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party since 1999.

Mr. Si Taian’s ordeal started when the police broke into his home to harass him on October 26, 2019. While police chief Chen Liupan interrogated Mr. Si and his wife Ms. Hao Zhi, several other officers searched their home and took pictures. Mr. Si’s Falun Gong books were confiscated. The police ordered Mr. Si to sign the interrogation record, but he refused. 

The police harassed Mr. Si two more times, on October 30 and 31, 2019, and threatened to give him 15 days of detention.

The frequent harassment caused tremendous mental distress to Ms. Hao and her health started to decline. Her condition continued to deteriorate over the next few months and she passed away on May 3, 2020.

On June 26, 2020, the police arrested Mr. Si at home. He was tried by the Lushan County Court in the Lushan County Detention Center on October 26. His family wasn’t allowed to attend the hearing. The judge didn’t allow his lawyer to enter a not guilty plea for him, but ordered him to make a guilty defense in exchange for a lighter sentence. 

Mr. Si was charged with “undermining law enforcement with a cult organization,” a standard pretext used to criminalize Falun Gong practitioners. The prosecution evidence against him included the Falun Gong books and materials confiscated from his home. 

Mr. Si refused to plead guilty and entered a not guilty plea for himself. At the end of the hearing, the judge told him to sign a statement promising to stop practicing Falun Gong and participating in Falun Gong-related activities. Mr. Si refused. 

The judge sentenced him two days later. 

Mr. Si took up Falun Gong in 1996 and credits the practice for improving his health and enabling him to take on heavy work around the house.

After the communist regime ordered the persecution in 1999, Mr. Si saw his home ransacked four times and he was detained twice for filing a criminal complaint against Jiang Zemin, the former communist regime head who ordered the persecution.