(Minghui.org) A Liuyang City, Hunan Province, resident was sentenced to 3.5 years for raising awareness about Falun Gong, a mind-body practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party since 1999.

Ms. Liu Lixia was followed by the police after she was spotted distributing informational materials about Falun Gong in a residential area on September 17, 2019. The police broke into her home on September 23, confiscated her Falun Gong books and computer, and arrested her. 

Ms. Liu has been held at Liuyang City Detention Center ever since and denied visits by her family. Although the guards let her write to her family, anything she wrote about the abuses she was being subjected to in the detention center was deleted from her letter. 

Ms. Liu appeared in Liuyang City Court on January 20, 2020. Her lawyer entered a not guilty plea on her behalf. She also testified in her own defense.

Chen Yuchao, the presiding judge of Liuyang City Court, went to the detention center on June 3 and delivered the verdict—that Ms. Liu was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison. 

Repeatedly Targeted

Over the past 21 years of the persecution of Falun Gong, Ms. Liu has been repeatedly detained. She served one year in a labor camp and five years in prison.

Ms. Liu was first arrested in late December 1999 for going to Beijing to appeal for the right to practice Falun Gong. She was accused of “illegally petitioning” and detained for a month.

Ms. Liu was arrested again in July 2001 for giving out pamphlets about Falun Gong. She was sentenced to five years and was tortured in prison for refusing to give up her faith. 

Ms. Liu’s sentencing and constant police harassment caused her mother serious distress. The elderly woman’s health declined quickly and she passed away not long after that.

Ms. Liu was arrested again while filling up her gas tank in August 2011. She was taken to Laodaohe Brainwashing Center and held for 30 days. The police ransacked her home and confiscated her computer, printer, and other belongings before releasing her. She was forced to live away from home to avoid further harassment.

Ms. Liu went to the local 610 Office, an extralegal agency created specifically to persecute Falun Gong, on February 8, 2012, and demanded the return of her computer and printer confiscated the year before. She also demanded that they stop harassing her and her family, especially her daughter who was attending college. 

Ms. Liu was instantly arrested. After Changsha Prison refused to accept her, the police took her to Baimalong Forced Labor Camp to serve a one-year term.

Only six months after Ms. Liu was released, she was taken to the Laodaohe Brainwashing Center again on August 31, 2013, by the 610 Office agents and local police.

She was arrested another time in the summer of 2017 after being reported for talking to people at a farmers’ market about Falun Gong. She was detained in Liuyang City Detention Center for 15 days this time. 

Because Ms. Liu’s husband died years ago and she herself was often arrested and detained, her daughter was frequently left at home by herself. The young girl relied on her relatives to pay her school fees and buy her food. 

She recently graduated from college and found a job, only to be dealt another blow with Ms. Liu’s most recent sentencing.