Three Liaoning Residents Sentenced to Prison for Raising Awareness about Falun Gong
(Minghui.org) Three Dandong City, Liaoning Province, residents were recently convicted for their faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Mr. Ju Shimiao, a 45-year-old financial management professional, was arrested along with Ms. Sun Zhongqin, 68, and Ms. Tong Xiuhong on December 8, 2019, for talking to people about Falun Gong.
The Zhen’an District Procuratorate approved their arrests on January 15, 2020, and indicted them on June 28. Ms. Sun and Mr. Ju’s families hired lawyers to represent them.
The three practitioners appeared in the Zhen’an District Court on October 23. They were all handcuffed and shackled, which made it difficult for them to walk. The judge refused to remove the shackles and handcuffs, despite their lawyers’ request.
Two weeks later, on November 8, Ms. Tong was released on bail.
The court held another hearing on November 17. The judge attempted to force Mr. Ju and Ms. Sun’s lawyers to withdraw their cases, but the lawyers refused to comply and continued to represent their clients.
The lawyers emphasized their clients’ right to freedom of belief in their practice of Falun Gong, that they didn’t harm anyone, and that they should not be prosecuted for having Falun Gong materials.
On November 25 the judge sentenced Mr. Ju to three years with a 5,000-yuan fine; Ms. Sun to three and a half years with a 5,000-yuan fine; and Ms. Tong to eleven months with a 3,000-yuan fine.
Mr. Ju and Ms. Sun have appealed the verdicts with the Dandong City Intermediate Court. Mr. Ju is currently detained at Kuandian Detention Center and Ms. Sun at Dandong Detention Center.