(Minghui.org) A woman and her 79-year-old mother-in-law were sentenced to prison on August 21, 2020, for their faith in Falun Gong, a mind-body discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999. Both women were also fined 1,000 yuan each. 

Ms. Zhang Xiangrong, her mother, and her mother-in-law Ms. Liu Naifen were arrested on July 7, 2017 for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong. All of the women are residents of Langfang City, Hebei Province. While Ms. Zhang’s mother was soon released as she didn’t practice Falun Gong, Ms. Zhang and Ms. Liu were later sent to the Langfang Detention Center. 

Ms. Zhang’s mother was traumatized by the arrest. The police frequently harassed her after her release and lied to her, saying that they had frozen Ms. Zhang in a freezer. The elderly woman was so terrified that she became ill and passed away three months later.

In the meantime, Ms. Zhang and Ms. Liu were abused in the detention center. The guards only gave them five minutes to use the restroom each time and only allowed them to take a shower every 15 days, despite the summer weather.

Ms. Liu couldn’t keep food down and had persistent diarrhea. She was forced to sign a statement to renounce Falun Gong against her will and released on bail on August 10, 2017. The police harassed her at home after she was released.

Ms. Zhang was held in detention for an additional month. She also had diarrhea and trouble taking in food. She was released on bail on September 2, 2017. The police also harassed her after her release.

On August 11, 2019, Ms. Zhang was taken back to the detention center. When her lawyer visited her on the morning of January 20, 2020, before her court hearing in the afternoon, she told him that she hadn’t been able to eat or have a normal bowel movement for 13 days. The guards force-fed and beat her. Instead of providing medical treatment to Ms. Zhang, they attempted to have her sign a waiver to clear the detention center of responsibility if she died there. She refused to comply. 

Both Ms. Zhang and Ms. Liu were tried by the Anci District Court on the afternoon of January 20. The judge announced on August 21, 2020 that Ms. Zhang was sentenced to two years and Ms. Liu to one and a half years. They were each also fined 1,000 yuan. 

Having being detained for a total of around 14 months (2 months between July 7, 2017 and September 2, 2017 and 12 months between August 11, 2019 and August 21, 2020), Ms. Zhang has about 10 more months left on her prison term.

Ms. Liu, who had been detained for just over one month (from July 7, 2017 to August 10, 2017), has about 17 months to serve. Due to her advanced age and health condition, she was allowed to serve the remainder of her sentence at home under supervision.

Related reports:

Woman in Serious Condition and Mother-in-Law, 78, Made to Stand Trial for Their Faith

Mother and Daughter-in-law Arrested for Posting Falun Gong Materials