(Minghui.org) A 29-year-old dance teacher was sentenced to 2.5 years in late November 2020 for her faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Ms. Zhai Zihui, a native of Faku County, Liaoning Province, had been teaching dance in Beijing after graduating from college in 2013. She took up Falun Gong in 2019 and was summoned by the police months later, in August, for sending messages to a friend about Falun Gong through WeChat. 

Weeks later, on August 23, 2019, Ms. Zhai was arrested again after being reported by another friend for talking about Falun Gong. The police ransacked her home and confiscated her Falun Gong books and materials, a printer, iPad, and laptop. 

The police approved her arrest on September 26, 2019. The prosecutor returned her case on November 4, 2019, for insufficient evidence, before indicting her on February 11, 2020. 

On September 14, 2020, Ms. Zhai appeared in Chaoyang District Court. Her lawyer entered a not guilty plea for her. Her family wasn’t allowed to attend her hearing, despite that they had applied for it beforehand.

According to her lawyer, the police separated a booklet of 80 informational cards and counted each card (front and back) as two individual pieces of evidence, thus significantly increasing the total amount of alleged pieces of evidence against Ms. Zhai. Although her lawyer argued the illegality of such practice by police, neither the judge nor prosecutor responded to his request to dismiss the evidence.

The lawyer also revealed that when he visited Ms. Zhai at the Chaoyang District Detention Center, she had to wear both handcuffs and shackles, while other detainees only had handcuffs. 

He learned in late November 2020 that the judge had sentenced Ms. Zhai to 2.5 years in prison.

Related report:

Dance Teacher Faces Trial for Raising Awareness about Her Faith

Chinese version available

Category: Accounts of Persecution