Three Hebei Residents Sentenced for Raising Awareness of Their Faith
(Minghui.org) Three residents of Baoding City, Hebei Province were recently sentenced for their faith in Falun Gong, an ancient spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Mr. Han Junde, 72, was sentenced to 8.5 years. Ms. Li Yanqiu, 68, and Ms. Sun Liying, 42, were both given 8 years. Their families were informed of their sentences on February 26, 2020.
Arrested for Making Crafts Bearings the Words “Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance”
The three practitioners were arrested on August 30, 2019 at an apartment that they rented to make gourd carvings bearing messages about Falun Gong. The police confiscated their gourd carving machine and also ransacked the practitioners' homes. Ms. Sun's husband was taken to the local police station to sign her criminal detention notice.
That night, Ms. Li was released, while Mr. Han and Ms. Sun were taken to Baoding Detention Center.
Details of Trial
On December 24, 2019, Ms. Sun and Ms. Li appeared in Gaoyang County Court. Mr. Han was tried on an earlier date.
During the trial, the prosecutor appeared so angry while questioning the two women that the judge ordered him to calm down.
The judge brought out the gourds bearing the words “Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance” when Ms. Sun and Ms. Li's lawyers asked to see the prosecution evidence. A lawyer questioned how such a gourd carving with these beautiful words could be considered a crime. He asked, “Isn’t it an extraordinary thing that people can follow the three principles and improve their character?”
The judge and the prosecutor didn’t respond.
The prosecutor suggested sentencing Mr. Han, who has already become incapacitated in the detention center, to 8.5 years in prison and Ms. Sun and Ms. Li to 8 years each.
On February 26, 2020, Ms. Sun's mother received a phone call telling her to expect her daughter's verdict in the mail. The lawyers also confirmed the verdicts with the three practitioners' families.
Ms. Sun's family has decided to appeal the verdict. However, due to the coronavirus epidemic in China and the lockdown, the family has no way to get to the court to submit the appeal.
Mr. Han's Past Arrest and Detention
Prior to Mr. Han's sentence, he has been arrested repeatedly for his faith.
On March 24, 2018, Mr. Han and his neighbor were driving to Shandong Province when they were stopped at a checkpoint in Gucheng County, Hebei Province. Both of them were arrested after police found 1,200 amulets bearing Falun Gong messages in his trunk. Mr. Han's car was impounded.
Although both Mr. Han and his neighbor were later released, Mr. Han’s family was forced to pay 10,000 yuan in bail to the police.