622 Falun Gong Practitioners in China Sentenced for Their Faith in 2020
(Minghui.org) As the coronavirus outbreak ravaged China, the Chinese Communist Party's suppression of Falun Gong practitioners remained unabated in 2020.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a mind-body practice that has been persecuted since July 1999.
According to data collected between January 1 and December 31, 2020, by Minghui.org, a total of 622 Falun Gong practitioners were sentenced in 2020. After 47 practitioners were sentenced in January 2020, most of China went into lockdown due to the pandemic and the monthly sentencing cases remained at around 20 between February and May.
After the country gradually opened in the second half of the year, the sentencing cases doubled between June and October, ranging from 41 to 54 each month. Entering November, more cases suddenly surged. The 104 cases in November doubled the 49 cases from the previous month and further increased to 146 in December. Due to information blockade, the actual cases is believed to be much higher.
Compared to the sentencing cases in 2019, which now has been updated to 928 and had more fluctuation throughout the year, the sudden increase of sentencing cases in December 2020 were similar to the month the year before. It’s not clear whether the courts were given a certain quota for the sentences for the year or the authorities were trying to send more practitioners to prison before the second wave of coronavirus outbreak hits China.
Of note, as Minghui reported many group arrests in 2019, many of the practitioners were then sentenced in groups in 2020. For example, thirteen practitioners in Weichang County, Hebei Province were arrested on July 13, 2019 and sentenced on October 30, 2020, and another twelve practitioners in Zunhua City, Hebei Province arrested on July 6, 2019 were secretly sentenced to two to eight years on November 27, 2020.
In some cases, families were targeted together for their faith. In Bozhou City, Anhui Province, out of the ten family members and two others arrested by more than 100 police officers on April 17, 2019, four sisters and a fifth woman were sentenced to between 4.5 and 7.5 years in mid-January 2020. A married couple and their daughter in Taiyuan City, Shanxi Province arrested on September 7, 2019 were sentenced a year later to 2-3 years.
Another notable persecution against Falun Gong in 2020 was the “Zero-out” campaign ordered by the Political and Legal Affairs Committee, which is an extra-judiciary agency tasked with overseeing the persecution. In this campaign, police and residential committee staff members harassed every practitioner on the government’s blacklist and ordered them to renounce their faith. While some practitioners were also arrested and briefly detained, a 54-year-old hotel manager from Zhumadian City, Henan Province was the first known practitioner to have been sentenced to seven years on December 9.
Statistics of the 2020 Sentencing Cases
In 2020, the sentenced practitioners came from 149 cities in 27 provinces and centrally-controlled municipalities. Liaoning (68), Shandong (57), Sichuan (57), Hebei (56), and Jilin (50) were the top provinces with the most cases. Fifteen provinces registered double-digit cases and the remaining seven provinces had single-digit cases. Hubei Province, as the epicenter of the pandemic, ranked sixth on the list with 35 cases.
Available information indicated that a total of 208 courts were involved in sentencing 454 practitioners (73%), representing a widespread involvement of the judiciary system across China, including district-, township-, county-, and city-level courts.
Liaoning Province had the most courts (26) involved, followed by Shandong (22), Sichuan (22), Hebei (15) and Hubei (12). One court in Hebei sentenced 14 practitioners and another court in Liaoning sentenced 8 practitioners.
The prison terms ranged from 3 months to 14 years, with an average of 3 years and 4 months. Five practitioners were given terms of 10 years or longer. Forty practitioners were given probation, and the terms of another 18 practitioners are unknown.
Some practitioners were given heavy terms again after already spending more than a decade behind bars. A former tennis player was sentenced to 4 years after being imprisoned for 11 years. A Liaoning woman got 6 more years after previously being incarcerated for 13 years. A Yinchuan City, Ningxia Province resident was sentenced to 14 years and fined 30,000 yuan, after having served 12 years.
The authorities violated legal procedures in every step of the prosecution process, from arbitrary arrests and ransacking the practitioners’ homes without a search warrant to holding them in incommunicado detention and denying family visits; from forcing their families to dismiss their lawyers to threatening their lawyers and forcing them to drop the cases themselves; from barring the practitioners’ families and lawyers from attending their trials to not informing them of their verdicts; from fabricating evidence and witness accounts and sentencing the practitioners with predetermined terms to only allowing them to defend themselves after having announced the verdicts.
A majority of the practitioners were charged with “undermining law enforcement with a cult organization,” which has been a standard pretext used by the Chinese courts to frame and imprison Falun Gong practitioners.
Irwin Cotler, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, said that “The members of the group have been the ongoing targets of illegal arrest and arbitrary detention, of torture in detention, of false and trumped up charges, of the denial of any presumption of innocence, of the denial of any right to rebut any of the charges, of the denial of any semblance of due process, in the denial of the right to counsel, the right to a fair trial, or the right to a hearing of independent judiciary, where 99.9 % have their charges secured as convictions.”
Additionally, 265 of the sentenced practitioners were fined by the court, with a sum of 2,788,234 yuan and an average of 10,522 yuan each person.
In Nanchang City, Jiangxi Province, the Xihu District Court sentenced five practitioners to up to 7.5 years on October 22. The judge also imposed heavy fines on them, between 30,000 to 100,000 yuan and for a total of 250,000 yuan.
In Tianjin, two sisters were sentenced to 8 and 9 years, and fined 40,000 and 50,000 yuan, respectively.
The 622 sentenced practitioners came from all walks of life, including entrepreneurs, college professors, teachers, government employees, police officers, journalists, engineers, IT professionals, accountants, translators, doctors, and dancers.
A Canadian billionaire businesswoman who was arrested in her home in Beijing in 2017, was sentenced to 8 years after spending nearly 3.5 years in custody. A 29-year-old dance teacher was sentenced to 2.5 years in late November 2020 for talking to a friend about Falun Gong. And an appliance shop owner in Qishan County, Shaanxi Province was sentenced to seven years.
Elderly and Ailing Practitioners Not Spared
The ages of sentenced practitioners ranged from 25 to 82, with 114 of them being 65 or older, and 11 in their 80s. An 80-year-old man in Dazhou City, Sichuan Province was sentenced to 8.5 years after over two years of incommunicado detention. A 74-year-old woman, of Jilin City, Jilin Province, and the mother of a U.S. resident, was sentenced to five years.
Two women in their late 60s, one from Yueyang City, Hunan Province, and the other from Foshan City, Guangdong Province, were held in psychiatric hospitals for months, before being sentenced to 1 and 7 years, respectively. The Hunan woman had previously been arrested 11 times, served 4 years in prison, administered with unknown drugs in a brainwashing center, and had her salary suspended for 9 years before being sentenced again.
Compared to younger practitioners, the sentencing and imprisonment of the elderly practitioners put them at much higher risks of physical harm and suffering.
In the case of 81-year-old Mr. Zhu Zhihe, he was taken to prison on May 7, 2020, to serve a 1.5-year term given on December 7, 2019, after the judge reversed his decision of allowing him to serve time at home. Having just spent two weeks in the hospital, including one week in the intensive care unit, Mr. Zhu’s health continued to deteriorate in the prison and he passed away on November 11, two months after he was released.
While Ms. Yu Shourong, a 71-year-old Fushun City, Liaoning Province resident who was sentenced to three years in early 2020, has been released on medical parole in December 2020 after developing cancer while in custody, Mr. Zhong Guoquan, also 71, was admitted to the Jixi City Prison in Heilongjiang Province to serve a 3.5-year term given on August 18, despite that he is experiencing severe diabetes and has lost his vision.
Other than the elderly practitioners, a woman in Anguo City, Hebei Province, who was sentenced to six months on November 8, suffered a cerebral hemorrhage while in detention. She had a craniotomy on November 10 and was forcibly taken out of the hospital after spending two weeks in the intensive care unit and sent to a senior living center without her family’s consent.
Another woman, of Xuchang City, Henan Province, showed symptoms of hemiplegia in the detention center and lost the ability to take care of herself. Despite her condition, the authorities took her to prison to serve time after she was sentenced to a three-year term in June 2020.
In addition to the above-mentioned cases of families sentenced together, the persecution has caused far-reaching tragedies to families across China in many different ways.
A Tianjin resident’s incapacitated 93-year-old mother was so terrified by the police raid during her arrest in October 2019 that she couldn’t stop shivering. She passed away in January 2020, six months before her 57-year-old daughter, Ms. Ma Jinxia, was sentenced to 4.5 years.
Ms. Xu Xiufen, a Beijing resident, lost her mother and sister to the persecution in 2001 and 2017 respectively. Her father was dealt a heavy blow and his health quickly declined after her arrest in 2014. He experienced high blood pressure and had a stroke. Ms. Xu herself has served two labor camp terms for a total of 3.5 years, a prison term of 2 years, before she was sentenced again to three years in early 2020.
Five years after Mr. Cai Jianyu’s wife, Ms. Li Liefeng, was persecuted to death on July 10, 2014, he was arrested himself in September 2019 and then sentenced in June 2020.
And two months after Ms. Dong Mei, a Shenyang City, Liaoning Province resident, was sentenced to two years on November 9, 2020, her 76-year-old mother, Ms. Zhang Jun, is also facing prison time after a hearing on December 24, 2020.
Below are more sentencing cases in 2020. Due to the information blockade by the government, the number of Falun Gong practitioners who are targeted for their faith cannot always be reported in a timely manner, nor is all the information readily available.
The list of sentenced practitioners is available for download here (PDF)
Persecution Against Elderly Practitioners
Mr. Huang Qingdeng, 83, a resident of Leqing City, Zhejiang Province, who is serving seven years for practicing Falun Gong, is in critical condition. His family received a call from Hangzhou Second Prison in mid-November 2020 and was told that he has been sent to the hospital for emergency treatment. The prison staff said that Mr. Huang has been found to have six diseases and he could die at any time. Yet they refused to release him on bail.
Mr. Huang was arrested at home on April 17, 2019, together with his wife, Ms. Chen Eying. Both of them were taken to the Leqing City Detention Center.
The Leqing City Court sentenced Mr. Huang to seven years on March 12, 2020. Days later, his wife was released. He was admitted to prison on an unknown date.
Ms. Chen Guifen, 80, who has developed medical problems following her arrest for practicing Falun Gong was sentenced in her hospital ward on September 17, 2020.
Ms. Chen, a resident of Chongqing, was arrested by officers from Jiangjin Domestic Security Division. The police ransacked her home and said she was recorded by a surveillance camera while distributing materials about Falun Gong in a residential area.
She suffered a stroke and had a cerebral vascular blockage that paralyzed her on one side of her body. She was tried by the Jiulongpo District Court on September 17 while she was still hospitalized for her condition.
The court staff went through the motions and announced her 1.5-year term shortly after. All five witnesses were police officers involved in her arrest. The police also subtracted five years from her age so that they could press charges against her.
Ms. He Guizhen, 78, a resident of Kunming City, Yunnan Province was sentenced to a three-year prison term for practicing Falun Gong, and sent to the Yunnan Province No. 2 Women’s Prison on April 30, 2020.
Ms. He was arrested on August 11, 2019 after being recorded by surveillance cameras while she was distributing informational materials about Falun Gong. The police ransacked her home and confiscated her 48 Falun Gong books and some of her Falun Gong keepsakes. She was sent to the Kunming City Detention Center the next day.
Ms. He was tried by the Wuhua District Court on November 27, 2019, and later sentenced to a three-year prison term.
Her husband, Mr. Lu Zuda, a senior engineer at the Yunnan Province Forestry Research and Planning Institute, was constantly pressured to renounce Falun Gong. He refused to comply and was subjected to frequent harassment by the police. His health declined and he passed away on December 4, 2003, at age 68.
Ms. Mou Yongxia, a 72-year-old retired teacher in Daqing City, Heilongjiang Province, was sentenced to six years in May 2020 for her faith in Falun Gong.
Ms. Mou was getting ready to board a train to visit her ailing sister in Jilin Province on March 16, 2018, when she was stopped by police at the train station’s waiting room and arrested.
Ms. Mou developed a serious digestive system condition on July 2, after she had been detained for three months. She was unable to keep food down, and had severe stomach pain and difficulty breathing. At her family’s request, the Ranghulu District Court agreed to release her and put her under house arrest on July 10, 2018.
Ms. Mou was later forced to live away from home to avoid police harassment, only to be arrested in a police sweep in Harbin, a city about 100 miles from Daqing, on September 11, 2019. The police pretended to be from the property management office and deceived her into opening the door by claiming they needed to check her water pipes.
While detained at the Harbin City No. 2 Detention Center, Ms. Mou held a hunger strike to protest the persecution and was force-fed. She was also subjected to other torture and mental abuse.
Ms. Mou was transferred to the Daqing City No. 2 Detention Center on December 12, 2019. She appeared in the Ranghulu District Court in May 2020 and sentenced to a six-year prison term.
Ms. Ji Guizhen, a 73-year-old resident of Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province, was sentenced to three years and three months in December 2020 for her faith in Falun Gong.
Ms. Ji was arrested on September 23, 2019, and dragged to the police car. She was released on bail on the same evening.
The police later submitted her case to the Wujiang District Procuratorate, which indicted her and forwarded it to the Wujiang District Court.
Around mid-March 2020, Ms. Ji received a letter from the Wujiang District Court, saying that “due to an unforeseen reason, the judge won’t be able to hear the case for a long time,” so they’d decided to dismiss it.
However, the court informed her in late July that they had scheduled a hearing on August 11, 2020. Ms. Ji attended the hearing as scheduled and was sentenced to prison in mid-December. The judge also fined her 3,000 yuan.
Heavy Terms and Repeated Persecution
Ms. He Lianchun of Mengzi County, Yunnan Province, moved to Kunming City, the capital of Yunnan, in late August 2019 to find a job, after she was released on February 2, 2019, from serving a ten-year prison term for practicing Falun Gong.
She was arrested again on September 27, 2019, and sentenced to four years in prison with a 2,000-yuan fine on August 24, 2020. Her cellphone, which was confiscated by the police after her arrest, was used as evidence against her, as it contained Falun Gong-related information.
Ms. He’s latest term was preceded by two prison terms for her faith. She was given 7 years in 2001 and released 1.5 years ahead of time. She was sentenced to 10 years in 2009 and had just been released from her ten-year term in 2019 when she was seized.
Ms. He was subjected to many kinds of torture during her 15 years of incarceration, including being forced to sit on a small stool for extended periods of time, denied restroom use, put in solitary confinement, as well as given hundreds of force-feeding sessions that caused severe damage to her mouth, nose, teeth, and stomach. She was in critical condition twice because of the force-feedings.
Ms. He is not the only person in her family that has been targeted for practicing Falun Gong. Her younger sister, Ms. He Lichun, is serving a seven-year term at Yunnan No. 2 Women’s Prison and has been denied family visits since January 2020 because she refused to renounce her faith.
Grief-stricken, the sisters’ mother passed away in 2017 while both of them were in prison. Still mourning his wife's death, their 79-year-old father was dealt another blow with both daughters imprisoned again.
Mr. Ma Zhiwu, a Yinchuan City, Ningxia Province resident, was sentenced to 14 years and fined 30,000 yuan on December 17, 2020, for his faith in Falun Gong.
Mr. Ma, a 50-year-old former railroad crew driver, was arrested on June 5, 2020, while looking for a job in Guyuan City in the same province. He held a hunger strike at the Guyuan City Detention Center. His family frequented the local police station and detention center to seek his release but to no avail. The detention center also barred his family from visiting him.
Mr. Ma’s lawyers went to the detention center on July 10 and 28 to meet with him but were rejected both times.
The police submitted his case to the Yuanzhou District Procuratorate in late August, and the Yuanzhou District Procuratorate forwarded his case to the Guyuan City Procuratorate on September 2.
The Guyuan City Procuratorate indicted him on September 24 and moved his case to the Guyuan City Intermediate Court.
After two hearings on November 19 and November 22, the judge sentenced him to 14 years on December 17. Mr. Ma was informed of his verdict on December 25. He is now preparing to appeal the case.
Prior to his latest term, Mr. Ma has been repeatedly arrested and held in detention for 12 years.
He was first given three years of forced labor, shortly after he was arrested in September 1999 for appealing for Falun Gong. Because he went on a hunger strike to protest the illegal detention, the local court sentenced him to six years in prison at the two-year mark of his labor camp incarceration.
The prison guards once tied him to a death bed torture device, with his four limbs stretched tightly in a spread eagle position for more than 40 days. He was also force-fed with unknown drugs with dead flies in it. He felt his body was burning inside afterward, and he was unable to stand or walk for six months.
Mr. Ma’s wife was pregnant with their daughter when he was first arrested in 1999. The little girl grew up without her father around. She was taken into police custody on November 20, 2001, when she was two years old, as the police tried to use her to force her mother to renounce Falun Gong.
When Mr. Ma was released in February 2008, his daughter was already 8 years old. However, only two years later, Mr. Ma was arrested again on September 12, 2010, and sentenced to three and a half years in prison. He suffered brutal torture, including beatings, sitting on a small stool for long hours every day for 1.5 years, sexual assault, and freezing. His left kidney was injured. His rib was broken. He had blood in his urine. His legs were severely swollen and bruised, and he was unable to stand.
During the time of his incarceration, his father passed away in 2010 due to the mental distress of worrying about him.
Mr. Yang Zhixiong, a resident of Baoding City, Hebei Province, was sentenced to seven years on December 1, 2020, for his faith in Falun Gong.
Mr. Yang, 56, a former journalist and real estate sales manager, was stopped at a highway toll station on September 26, 2019, as he forgot to bring his ID with him. The police arrested him and ransacked his home after discovering that he was a Falun Gong practitioner.
After a few days of detention in Rongcheng County, a prefecture-level city in Baoding, he was transferred to the Xiong County Detention on October 10.
Guo Junxue, the head of Xiong County Domestic Security Office, talked to Mr. Yang three times, attempting to force him to renounce Falun Gong. But he refused to comply.
Mr. Yang was tried on December 1, 2020, and sentenced to seven years. He appealed. The local appeals court heard his case on December 9 and ruled to uphold the original sentence.
Prior to his latest prison term, Mr. Yang was sentenced to four years after his arrest in June 2003. His wife, Ms. Qi Hongjin, who was arrested at the same time, was given two years of forced labor for practicing Falun Gong. As his employer had fired him when he was released, Mr. Yang had to do odd jobs to make ends meet. In 2008, he was deceived into going to a brainwashing center and held there for a month.
On November 3, 2012, less than one month after he started a new job as a sales manager in Beijing, he was arrested again and put on trial by the Xiong County Court on December 25. He was sentenced to three years and transferred to the Jidong Prison on January 16, 2013.
After more than ten months of a hunger strike, Mr. Du Ting of Shanghai was tried for practicing Falun Gong in his hospital room through a video conference on November 26, 2020. Mr. Du's lawyer and a family member entered a not guilty plea for him. The presiding judge from the Jing’an Court sentenced him to one and half years in prison.
Mr. Du, 54, was arrested on September 26, 2019, for passing out informational materials about Falun Gong. The Putuo District Procuratorate approved his arrest on October 30, 2019, and indicted him on January 21, 2020.
When Mr. Du’s lawyer went to the local detention center to visit him on January 19, 2020, he had been hospitalized for holding a hunger strike. This was his second hospitalization since his arrest, for holding a hunger strike.
Prior to his hearing on November 26, the judge warned Mr. Du’s lawyer and family member that they weren’t allowed to mention the lack of legal basis for the persecution.
When his family member said that the government’s cult list didn’t include Falun Gong in it and that the Chinese publication bureau had lifted the ban on Falun Gong books in 2011 during the hearing, the judge stopped him and asked him to summarize his point. Mr. Fu’s family member said one more sentence, that no law criminalizes Falun Gong, before the judge completely barred him from talking anymore.
Mr. Du’s lawyer argued the violation of legal procedure in how the police handled the case and collected evidence. He said the judge should address such violations before the hearing, but now the hearing became just a formality.
Mr. Du, who was sitting in a wheelchair during the hearing, also testified in his own defense. The judge didn’t allow him to finish reading his statement and cut him off.
Mr. Du’s family is preparing his appeal and will submit it to the Shanghai City No.2 Intermediate Court.
Because of not renouncing his faith, Mr. Du was imprisoned in Tilanqiao Prison between 2001 and 2009. The guards shackled him naked on a bed in a spread-eagle position for almost four years. They kept a feeding tube in his stomach and had him relieve himself in the bed. He suffered pleural effusion, tuberculosis, and pneumonia, and almost died.
Persecution Against Families
Three siblings were sentenced in December 2020 for their shared faith in Falun Gong. Ms. Luo Qiaoli was sentenced to five years and fined 30,000 yuan, Ms. Luo Qiaoping was sentenced to four years and fined 20,000 yuan. Their brother, Mr. Luo Xiaoxing was sentenced to eight years and fined 50,000 yuan.
Ms. Luo Qiaoli and her sister Ms. Luo Qiaoping, both residents of Hunan Province, visited their parents in Panzhihua City, Sichuan Province, in February 2020. On February 24, the two sisters were reported for distributing information about the persecution of Falun Gong and how the Chinese communist regime used similar tactics from the persecution in covering up the pandemic.
The police arrested the women at around 7 a.m. on February 28. Their mother and younger brother, Mr. Luo Xiaoxing, who lives with their parents, were also arrested. Nine officers ransacked the family home and confiscated many valuables. The family patriarch, in his 80s, was left at home by himself. His wife was released near 11 p.m.
A few days later, the elderly couple went to the local police station and demanded the release of their three children and the return of the confiscated items. The police only returned some cash.
Due to the pandemic, the couple wasn’t able to deliver clothes and daily necessities to their children in the Mianshawan Detention Center (formerly known as the Wanyaoshu Detention Center) until late June.
The three siblings appeared in the Xi District Court twice, on September 2 and October 30. They testified in their own defense and denied any wrongdoing in spreading information about their faith.
The judge later sentenced all three to prison. The siblings have appealed the verdicts and are now awaiting the results in the detention center.
Five months after his wife passed away as a result of police harassment, a 68-year-old Pingdingshan City, Henan Province, resident was sentenced to four years and fined 2,000 yuan on October 28, 2020, for his faith in Falun Gong.
Mr. Si Taian’s ordeal started when the police broke into his home to harass him on October 26, 2019. While police chief Chen Liupan interrogated Mr. Si and his wife Ms. Hao Zhi, several other officers searched their home and took pictures. Mr. Si’s Falun Gong books were confiscated. The police ordered Mr. Si to sign the interrogation record, but he refused.
The police harassed Mr. Si two more times, on October 30 and 31, 2019, and threatened to give him 15 days of detention.
The frequent harassment caused tremendous mental distress to Ms. Hao and her health started to decline. Her condition continued to deteriorate over the next few months and she passed away on May 3, 2020.
On June 26, 2020, the police arrested Mr. Si at home. He was tried by the Lushan County Court in the Lushan County Detention Center on October 26. His family wasn’t allowed to attend the hearing. The judge didn’t allow his lawyer to enter a not-guilty plea for him but ordered him to make a guilty defense in exchange for a lighter sentence.
Mr. Si refused to plead guilty and entered a not guilty plea for himself. At the end of the hearing, the judge told him to sign a statement promising to stop practicing Falun Gong and participating in Falun Gong-related activities. Mr. Si refused.
The judge sentenced him two days later.
A married couple in Xiaogan City, Hubei Province, were sentenced to prison for their faith in Falun Gong around early December 2020. Their son, who doesn’t practice Falun Gong, was implicated and also convicted.
Arrests and Violent Home-ransacking
Mr. Xu Zhangqing, a government employee, and his wife, Ms. Tu Ailian, a retired elementary school teacher, live with their son, Mr. Xu Gaorui, daughter-in-law, Ms. Chen Chunyan, and one-year-old granddaughter.
Just as Ms. Chen finished bathing her baby girl at around 9:30 p.m. on September 26, 2019, two officers and a village official knocked on the door. The officers said they cared about the family and so they came to visit.
Upon entering the door, one officer walked around and checked what the family had at home. Another officer made a call, and more officers showed up and arrested Ms. Chen's husband and parents-in-law. They told Ms. Chen that they were just going to ask the trio some questions and would release them soon.
Not long after they left, another team of officers came and turned the family’s home upside down. One female officer closely monitored Ms. Chen and followed her even when she used the restroom. When Ms. Chen was putting her daughter to sleep, the officers didn’t allow her to close the door, while they were ransacking the home.
After the police finished searching other rooms, they went to Ms. Chen’s room. She was sitting on the side of the bed and holding her daughter in her arms. The little girl had fallen asleep. The officers forcibly pulled Ms. Chen from the bed. She fell on the floor, while still holding her girl in her arms. When the officers tried to pull her up, the girl almost fell.
Ms. Chen and her daughter were brought to the living room. Ms. Chen sat on the sofa. The little girl was so scared that she burst into tears and hid in her mother’s arms.
Not wanting Ms. Chen to see how they ransacked her room, the police brought her to her in-laws’ room. They closed the door and kept one female officer there to monitor her.
During the raid, the police didn’t turn on their body-cams, as required by law. After they finally finished at around 3 a.m., they consolidated all confiscated items, including the little girl’s diapers, in the living room and yelled at Ms. Chen. They ordered her to sign the list of confiscated items and said she would face serious consequences if she didn’t sign it. She didn’t comply, so the police asked the village secretary and another official, who also came, to fingerprint the document.
By the time the police left, the place was almost empty, with only some appliances and a few printers left. Nearly 400,000 yuan of valuables, including cash, were taken away. Two officers stayed to monitor Ms. Chen – one was in the living room and the other at the front door.
The two officers left at 9 a.m. Ms. Chen took her daughter and tried to go out to get some food for her. As soon as she went downstairs, the two officers came back and stopped her. They returned to her home and confiscated more items. Even some paintings, which were wedding gifts she and her husband received, were removed from the wall.
To avoid the frequent harassment, Ms. Chen moved in with a relative, only to see the police following her there. She was then forced into displacement with her baby girl.
Family Members Harassed
After their arrests, Ms. Tu was kept at the Anlu City Detention Center and her husband and son were sent to Xiaonan Detention Center. Their arrests were approved by the Xiaonan District Procuratorate on October 24, 2019.
The elder Mr. Xu’s mother, in her 80s, who was still recovering from two strokes she had suffered in 2018, managed to go to the local Xiaonan Police Station with two relatives, in their 70s, to demand her loved ones’ release. The police arrested her two relatives and sent them to the Xinpu Police Station for interrogation. After one of them began to feel dizzy-headed due to high blood pressure, the police sent them to their local police station, where they were held and interrogated for a few more hours before being released.
One day in November 2019, the police brought Ms. Chen’s mother to Mr. Xu and Ms. Tu’s home and took some of the remaining items.
The Xiaonan Domestic Security Office submitted the family’s case to the Xiaonan District Procuratorate in December 2019.
After the family’s lawyer visited them on June 29, 2020, the police and residential committee staff harassed Mr. Xu Zhangqing’s elderly mother and Ms. Chen’s mother and attempted to force them to fire the lawyer. In addition, Ms. Chen’s uncle and some other family members were also harassed. The police went to their homes and demanded to know their names, phone numbers, and employers’ information.
The family of three appeared in Anlu City Court on November 17, 2020. This was the first time that Ms. Tu, her husband, and their son saw each other again after their arrests one year ago. The family’s lawyer entered not guilty pleas for them and demanded their acquittal.
The judge sentenced the family to prison on November 26: Mr. Xu Zhangqing was sentenced to seven years and nine months; Ms. Tu was sentenced to seven years; and Mr. Xu Gaorui was sentenced to seven years and six months. Each of them was also fined 10,000 yuan.
The family’s lawyer has filed appeals with Xiaogan City Intermediate Court.
A father in his 90s fell ill and became bedridden in mid-August 2020, two months after he was denied a visit to his 50-year-old daughter, who has been held incommunicado for over a year and secretly sentenced to 5 years in prison for her faith in Falun Gong.
Ms. Li Qian, of Kunming City, Yunnan Province, went to the local police station on September 2, 2019, after she suspected the police of monitoring her because she practiced Falun Gong. She urged the police not to participate in the Communist Party’s persecution of Falun Gong and gave them some informational materials on her way out.
Upon seeing the materials, the police interrogated her about the source and then brought her back home and ransacked her residence. Her laptop, Falun Gong books, and materials were confiscated. She was then taken to the Kunming City Detention Center.
The police didn’t inform Ms. Li’s elderly father of her arrest. After he learned about it a few days later from an acquaintance, the elderly man went to the police station to demand her release, only to be given a detention notice. He has never received any updates about her case since, nor has he been allowed to visit her.
Ms. Li was secretly sentenced to five years and fined 10,000 yuan by the Xishan District Court on April 24, 2020.
An insider who sympathized with Ms. Li’s case hired a lawyer for her in June 2020, to help her appeal the verdict. When the lawyer went to the detention center, he learned that Ms. Li had already been taken to the Yunnan Province No. 2 Women’s Prison on June 20, 2020.
After the lawyer informed Ms. Li’s father of her situation, the elderly man went to the prison to visit her. But the guards, who claimed that he didn’t have a letter from the local police station proving he was Ms. Li’s father, refused to allow him to see her. Nor did they let him deposit money for her to buy daily necessities.
Ms. Zhan Zhongxiang, a Pingdu City, Shandong Province resident, was arrested on September 24, 2019, at a farmer’s market, together with two other Falun Gong practitioners, Ms. Zhou Jun and her aunt Ms. Zhou Yuxiang. While Ms. Zhou Jun and Ms. Zhou Yuxiang were sentenced to one year and four years, respectively, on July 30, 2020, Ms. Zhan's case took longer to resolve.
Ms. Zhan was tried by the Huangdao District Court through a video hearing in the Pudong Detention Center on August 12, 2020. Her lawyer entered a not-guilty plea for her.
The lawyer refuted the prosecutor’s accusations against Ms. Zhan of distributing Falun Gong materials and said that according to the testimony submitted by witness Han Xiaodong, there was no evidence indicating that the materials he had received had been distributed by Ms. Zhan.
Then the prosecutor blamed Ms. Zhan for talking about Falun Gong at her son’s wedding. Ms. Zhan’s lawyer replied, “Every citizen has the right to talk about their faith, including Falun Gong practitioners. This is very normal. It’s one’s freedom of belief.”
The judge later sentenced Ms. Zhan to four years in prison, and her appeal was rejected.
The day after Ms. Zhan’s arrest, her son, Mr. Shao Zhanpeng, was beaten by the officers and sustained severe injuries to his right eye and ribs, for inquiring about her case at the police station. He also had bruises all over his body.
The police blamed Ms. Zhan’s son for submitting information to the Minghui.org website about their beating Mr. Shao. They harassed him, his cousin, and aunt for the next few months. His aunt was arrested on October 22, 2019, after being deceived into going to the police station, and she was charged with “obstructing law enforcement.” She was later sentenced to one year and two months.
Mr. Shao was arrested on July 29, 2020, two weeks before Ms. Zhan’s hearing. He was detained with the charge of “disrupting social order” and “robbery.” After over two months of detention, he was tried by the Pingdu City Court on October 10 and November 6. The judge revealed that he was planning to sentence Mr. Shao to 3.5 or 4 years for his “bad attitude.”
On October 26 and 27, 2020, Ms. Zhan’s nephew and sister were also arrested. It’s not clear whether they have been released at the time of writing.
Ms. Zhang Lijuan and her son Mr. Cao Boyu of Yitong County, Jilin Province, were sentenced to prison in December 2020 for practicing Falun Gong.
Ms. Zhang and Mr. Cao were arrested on the street and at home, respectively, on July 20, 2020. The police ransacked their residence and took away their Falun Gong books, materials, photo of Falun Gong’s founder, computer, printer, and other office supplies. Both of them were taken to the Liaoyuan City Detention Center, which is about 40 miles from Yitong. While Mr. Cao was released one month later, Ms. Zhang remains in custody.
Another practitioner, Ms. Li Xiaojuan, was arrested at home on August 10, 2020. She was also detained at the Liaoyuan City Detention Center. Her husband, Mr. Wang, who doesn’t practice Falun Gong, was taken to the police station and intimidated. The police didn’t release him until he was forced to sign statements denouncing Falun Gong.
The three practitioners were targeted because they had gone to Liaoyuan City in January 2020 and mailed some New Year’s greeting cards to the public with information about Falun Gong. They were reported by the postal workers and then arrested.
Ms. Zhang and Ms. Li were tried by the Xi’an District Court in Liaoyuan through a video conference on November 11, 2020. Ms. Zhang was sentenced to four years with a 3,000-yuan fine. Ms. Li was given one year with one and a half years of probation. She was also fined 2,000 yuan.
Mr. Lu Yongliang, 62, of Yueyang City, Hunan Province, was sentenced to four years and fined 5,000 yuan on July 20, 2020.
Mr. Lu was arrested at home on May 27, 2019, while studying Falun Gong with several other practitioners. Four of the practitioners and Mr. Lu’s wife were later interrogated and intimidated by the police. Some of their testimonies were submitted by the police as prosecution evidence against Mr. Lu.
The police submitted Mr. Lu’s case to the Lou District Procuratorate on July 2, 2019. The prosecutor twice rejected his case for insufficient evidence before indicting him and forwarding his case to the Lou District Court on December 26.
The Lou District Court later transferred Mr. Lu’s case to the Pingjiang County Court, which eventually sentenced him.
Mr. Lu has been denied family visits since his arrest. After spending a year at Yueyang City No.1 Detention Center, he was taken to the Yueyang Rehabilitation Psychiatric Hospital in early June 2020. When his family went to the detention center to inquire about his situation, the guards told them that Mr. Lu was doing well in the detention center without telling them that he had been transferred away.
The Pingjiang County Court announced his verdict on July 20, 2020, which happened to be the 21st anniversary of the persecution of Falun Gong. His computer, printer, DVD burner, and stapler confiscated during his arrest were formally impounded. He was also ordered to pay the 5,000-yuan fine within ten days of the verdict’s announcement.
Mr. Liu Jianmin, a Zhuhai City, Guangdong Province, was arrested on November 1, 2019, after being reported for writing “Falun Dafa is good” in a public area.
After he was indicted, the Doumen District Court appointed a lawyer for him in early 2020. After Mr. Liu found out the court-appointed lawyer had been instructed to enter a guilty plea for him, he refused to be represented by the lawyer. Instead, he asked his family to hire a lawyer, who would then enter a not guilty plea. He met with his own lawyer in the detention center in April.
Mr. Liu appeared in the Doumen District Court on June 29, 2020. The witness who accused him of writing “Falun Dafa is good” said he saw Mr. Liu writing the message several times by using the “location tracking” function on his cellphone, without providing any detailed explanation of how he was able to track Mr. Liu's whereabouts.
Mr. Liu’s lawyer said that it was illegal for the witness to monitor his client’s daily activities. He demanded Mr. Liu's acquittal.
Mr. Liu was sentenced to three years around November 2020 and is now awaiting the result of his appeal case at the Doumen District No. 2 Detention Center in Zhuhai.
A group of officers knocked on the door of Mr. Xie Jianxin and Ms. Zhao Renyuan’s home in Guilin City, Guangxi Province around midnight on February 5, 2020, and said they were there to take the couple's temperature. After Mr. Xie refused to open the door, the police broke in and arrested him and his wife. Their Falun Gong books and related materials were confiscated.
When the couple’s family called the police on February 8 to inquire about their case, a police officer said that the two were arrested for handing out Falun Gong materials, but he refused to provide any other information.
The couple’s family called the police again on February 15 and demanded to know their whereabouts. The police initially refused to reveal anything and insisted that they wait for the detention notice. But after the family asked if they were hiding something and demanded that they be able to send some winter clothes and bedding for the couple, the police relented and revealed that they were detained at the Jinjilinglu No. 2 Detention Center.
When the couple’s family contacted the detention center, however, the guards repeatedly denied their visitation request. The detention center guards also blocked Ms. Zhao’s lawyer from visiting her and refused to pass his letter to her when he went to get her signature on a power of attorney form on June 18.
The couple was tried by the Xiufeng District Court through a video conference on November 6, 2020, and both sentenced to four years with a combined fine of 10,000 yuan on December 1. Ms. Zhao has appealed her case with the Guilin City Intermediate Court.
It was reported that Mr. Xie is having gastrointestinal bleeding again in the detention center. His family is very worried about his health.
Violation of Legal Procedure
Ms. Fan Jirong of Beijing was sentenced at home in December 2020 for her faith in Falun Gong.
A total of ten judges and clerks from the Changping District Court went to Ms. Fan’s home on November 27, 2020, and announced that they were re-activating her case from 2013, for putting up Falun Gong banners. They then ordered three Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT), who had come along in an ambulance, to examine Ms. Fan. After the EMTs said Ms. Fan shouldn’t be detained, due to her health, the judges proceeded to hold a hearing in her home.
The judges returned on December 3 and announced that she was sentenced to four years with a 10,000-yuan fine. She is preparing to appeal the verdict.
Ms. Li Yuemian, Ms. Zheng Yanmei, and Ms. Bian Yanjuan, of Xinji City, Hebei Province, were arrested on the afternoon of April 12, 2019, after being reported for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong.
The police put them in criminal detention at the Hengshui Detention Center the next day, and the local Procuratorate approved their arrests on April 30. The over 200 copies of Falun Gong materials, including DVDs, booklets, and posters, were used as prosecution evidence against them.
The practitioners made two joint court appearances, first on November 8, 2019, and again on January 8, 2020. The judge announced their verdicts in March 2020: Ms. Bian was sentenced to two years and three months with a 10,000-yuan fine, Ms. Zheng was given two years and two months and fined 9,000 yuan, and Ms. Li was sentenced to two years with an 8,000-yuan fine.
The practitioners noted that the verdicts were dated December 26, 2019, before their second hearing even took place.
Mr. Pan Peide, a 64-year-old retired worker in Maoming City, Guangdong Province, was deceived into opening the door by police officers pretending to be delivery men on September 16, 2019. Eight officers searched his place and arrested him. They took him to his other residence and ransacked it as well. Mr. Pan was interrogated in the evening at the Kaifa District Police Department without being given any food or water.
Mr. Pan was admitted to the Maoming City No. 1 Detention Center the next day. His family received his criminal detention notice on September 18.
When Mr. Pan’s two sons went to the property management office to see the video recording of their father’s arrest, a staff person told them that the police had already made them delete the video.
Mr. Pan appeared in court on November 24, 2020. After more than a year of detention, he was so weak that he was unable to walk on his own. Presiding judge Ke Xuejun sentenced him to three years in prison on December 17.
Ms. Li Yuhua of Beijing, 67, was arrested on May 22, 2019 and sentenced to one year with a 1,000 yuan fine by the Fengtai Court on September 29, 2020.
Ms. Li recounted several violations of legal procedures in her appeal.
She said that police officers Niu Bo and Song Dongming didn’t wear their uniforms or show their IDs while arresting her. When a retired police officer who happened to be passing by tried to stop them, Niu and Song didn’t listen but blamed Ms. Li for trying to distribute Falun Gong materials to passersby.
Ms. Li also said that the Fengtai Court-appointed lawyer Shang Wei to represent her. After Shang deceived her into signing his representation document, he said to her, “The local court has hired me for 15 years to represent Falun Gong practitioners. I enter guilty pleas on their behalf and most of them have been convicted and sent to prison.”
During her court hearings, the presiding judge took away the defense script she had prepared and ordered Shang to enter a guilty plea for her, despite her opposition.
Police officers Niu and Song presented some Falun Gong DVDs as prosecution evidence against her, but Ms. Li said those DVDs were not hers and she didn’t know where the officers got them. She said the judge didn’t even bother to confirm whether they were her belongings and also ignored her request to play them in court to verify if the DVDs were sufficient to prove the charge against her.
Her appeal was rejected in December 2020 by the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate Court.
Three court staff members and three police officers broke into Ms. Dong Shuxian’s home on July 14, 2020, and said they were there to take her to prison to serve the seven years she had been sentenced to for practicing Falun Gong.
Ms. Dong, a 72-year-old Chaoyang City, Liaoning Province resident, was in total shock. She asked Geng Hongyan, the presiding judge of the Shuangta Court, “What did I do? I have been staying at home and didn’t know anything. Why was I sentenced to seven years? What law did I break? You need to show me the documents.”
Geng said nothing. An officer from the Qianjin Police Station said they were enforcing an order from their superiors.
The police took Ms. Dong to a hospital for a physical exam, where she was found to have dangerously high blood pressure. After the local prison refused to accept her, the officers took Ms. Dong back to the hospital. When her blood pressure remained high, they had to take her back home late at night.
On August 20, the same three officers returned to Ms. Dong’s home. They took her to see a medical specialist, who examined her with the newest devices. She still didn’t meet the health requirements for prison admission.
It’s not clear whether the authorities will continue to try to get Ms. Dong admitted to prison.
In the past two decades, Ms. Dong has been arrested several times for her faith and served time in a brainwashing center and a forced labor camp. It was reported that the authorities targeted her this time because she filed a criminal complaint in 2015 against Jiang Zemin, the former head of the Chinese communist regime who ordered the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999.
Group Arrests and Sentencing
Thirteen Weichang County, Hebei Province residents were arrested on July 13, 2019, while studying Falun Gong’s teachings together. The police ransacked most practitioners' homes the next day and confiscated their Falun Gong books, computers, and printers.
Although the Luanping County Procuratorate returned the practitioners’ cases to the police for insufficient evidence in November 2019, the police refused to release the practitioners and submitted their cases again a month later. The prosecutor indicted them on January 19, 2020, and moved their cases to the Luanping County Court.
The practitioners were tried on September 28, 2020, and convicted around October 30, 2020.
Mr. Liu Zhifeng was sentenced to six years and fined 10,000 yuan.Mr. Wang Guangxue was sentenced to five years and fined 10,000 yuan.Mr. Wang Yongxing and Ms. Wang Haiqin were each sentenced to four years and fined 10,000 yuan.Mr. Chen Haidong, Ms. Wang Sufang and Ms. Du Guilan were each sentenced to one year and eight months, and fined 5,000 yuan.Ms. Ge Sufen was sentenced to one year and six months, and fined 5,000 yuan.Ms. Li Yanhua was sentenced to one year and three months, with two years probation, and fined 5,000 yuan.and Ms. Liu Lina, Ms. Wang Haibing, Ms. Tang Fengxia, and Ms. Liu Fengxia were each sentenced to one year and two months, with two years’ probation, and fined 5,000 yuan.
More than three hundred police officers were mobilized to round up Falun Gong practitioners in Zunhua City, Hebei Province on July 6, 2019. A police chief revealed that they had monitored the practitioners’ cell phones for two months before making the move. A total of nineteen practitioners were arrested that day.
Ms. Wang Ruiling and her husband Mr. Ma Kuo were arrested at home at around 3 a.m. The police ransacked their place and confiscated their Falun Gong books, laptop, printer, printing paper, and all the cash they kept at home, including the money in their safe.
Mr. Wang Jian was also arrested at around 3 a.m. A group of officers scaled their fence and broke in. Mr. Wang and his wife were woken up by a dog barking. The police immediately took Mr. Wang away and then ransacked the home. They returned in the afternoon and ransacked the home again.
A group of officers scaled the fence around Ms. Lin Xiuzhen’s yard at around 4 a.m., broke into her home, and arrested her.
One of the twelve sentenced practitioners, Mr. Zhang Yuming, was arrested on July 2 for talking to people in a market about Falun Gong. Eight officers ransacked his home and confiscated his Falun Gong books, a photo of Falun Gong’s founder, several cellphones, two computers, a printer, and some printing paper.
The twelve practitioners were tried by the Zunhua City Court on December 17, 19, and 23, 2019, before being secretly sentenced on November 27, 2020.
Ms. Wang Ruiling, 68, was sentenced to eight years and fined 10,000 yuan.Mr. Zhang Yuming, 65, was sentenced to seven years and fined 6,000 yuan.Mr. Wang Jian, 70, was sentenced to seven years and fined 5,000 yuan.Ms. Tian Shuxue, 82, was sentenced to five years and six months and fined 6,000 yuan.Ms. Zhang Qin, 78, was sentenced to four years and six months and fined 5,000 yuan.
The other seven practitioners, including Ms. Sheng Jinling, Ms. Lu Cuihua, Ms. Guo Shuhuan, Ms. Gao Jingru (Mr. Wang Jian’s wife), Ms. Lin Xiuzhen, Mr. Wang Kun, and Mr. Ma Kuo, were given prison sentences of two to five years and fined between 2,000 and 5,000 yuan.
Group Arrests in Four Different Provinces
Below is a snapshot of other group arrests and sentencing in Hubei, Jiangxi, Sichuan, and Heilongjiang provinces.
On July 23, 2020, five Falun Gong practitioners from Wuxue City, Hubei Province were given heavy prison terms ranging from four to ten years. One practitioner was fined 10,000 yuan while the rest were fined 20,000 yuan each. The sentences came more than two years after they were arrested on February 3, 2018.
Five Nanchang City, Jiangxi Province residents were sentenced on October 22, 2020, more than a year after their arrests in July 2019. Their prison terms ranged from 2 years to 7.5 years. They were also fined between 30,000 yuan to 100,000 yuan.
The authorities in Chengdu City, Sichuan Province conducted mass arrests on July 10, 2019, and arrested over 40 practitioners. Most of the practitioners were released, but four remained in custody and later sentenced to prison terms ranging from 7.5 years to 11.5 years in December 2020.
Also in Sichuan Province, the police in Dazhu County arrested a group of five practitioners on July 27, 2019. All of them were sentenced to 2 to 7.5 years on December 29, 2020, together with a sixth practitioner arrested on August 28, 2019.
In Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province, four practitioners and a family member were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 22 months to 4 years. They were arrested in April 2019 and sentenced in December 2020.
Sentenced for Upholding Their Faith That Transformed Them
Mr. Song Yucen, 25, of Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, was sentenced to 5.5 years on December 29, 2020, for practicing Falun Gong, which he credits for curing his depression.
Mr. Song's father had a stroke in 2006 when he was 11 years old. In the same year, his mother lost her job. He felt inferior to others and grew depressed.
After graduating from college, he was swindled out of 40,000 yuan looking for a job, worsening his depression. He was fired from his job in January 2019 due to incompetence. He tried many things to cure his depression but to no avail. He attempted suicide and ran away from home many times. The whole family suffered with him.
In despair, he remembered Falun Gong, which his grandfather had told him about when he was little. Two months after taking up the practice, he began to think sensibly and speak normally. He got over his depression.
Happy and excited, he went to the hospital to tell other patients about his experience, only to be reported by a nurse and arrested on March 29, 2019. The police held him in the Heping District Detention Center on the next day.
The Heping District Procuratorate approved Mr. Song’s arrest on April 30, 2019. The prosecutor returned his case twice to the police in late July and on October 17 for insufficient evidence. After the police submitted his case for the third time on November 17, the prosecutor indicted him and moved his case to the Heping District Court.
Mr. Song was tried by the Heping District Court on June 16, 2020, and sentenced to 5.5 years on December 29, 2020.
Mr. Zhu Zhaoshui, a 66-year-old Shulan City, Jilin Province resident was sentenced to 3.5 years for practicing Falun Gong.
Mr. Zhu was arrested on September 10, 2019, and was detained at the Shulan City Detention Center. He appeared in the Shulan City Court on December 19, 2019. His family learned in November 2020 that he had been convicted. His mother, 93, cries every day about his ordeal and longs for her son's return.
Mr. Zhu began to practice Falun Gong in 1998. Those who knew him before were surprised to see the changes he underwent after taking up the practice.
Once a heavy smoker and drinker who often initiated fights with people with his martial arts skills, Mr. Zhu quit smoking and drinking and refrained from fighting.
He became humble, honest, gentle, and kind. He took good care of his bedridden wife for more than ten years until she passed away. He then invited his hot-tempered mother to move in with him since none of his siblings were willing to take care of her.
Because he refused to give up Falun Gong, Mr. Zhu was repeatedly arrested and tortured while in detention.
Mr. Wei Yuexing from Anyang City, Henan Province, 60, used to be a salesman for a pharmaceutical company. He had a persistent stomach condition that was cured after he started to practice Falun Gong. He lives by the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance and is known for his devotion to his parents.
His father suffered a stroke and entered a vegetative state years ago. Mr. Wei took meticulous care of him, cleaning him, turning him over in bed, removing the mucus from his tracheostomy tube, and changing his diapers. He cared for his father for over four years until he passed away. Despite the fact that he’d been bedridden for so long, his father never had a bedsore.
Mr. Wei’s mother, nearly 90, was diagnosed with rectal cancer. She couldn’t walk after an operation and relied on Mr. Wei to take care of her before his arrest.
Mr. Wei was arrested on December 24, 2019, for talking to people about Falun Gong at a bus station. He was tried by the Wenfeng District Court through a video hearing on July 13, 2020.
The prosecutor counted each sheet of paper from the Falun Gong materials confiscated from him as a piece of evidence against him. The judge sentenced Mr. Wei to three years in prison and fined him 5,000 yuan. After the intermediate court rejected his appeal, he was taken to Xinmi Prison in mid-October.
Mr. Liu Shehong and his wife Ms. Zhao Xiujuan were arrested in Jingzhou City in Hubei Province on September 4, 2019, while living away from home to avoid the persecution. It was confirmed on December 3, 2020, that Mr. Liu has been sentenced to 7.5 years and Ms. Zhao to seven years.
Mr. Liu quit school when he was 16 years old and went to Wuhan City in the same province to work at a timber processing company, and joined a gang shortly. At the age of 26, he started taking drugs. He served a few prison terms for doing drugs, fighting, and swindling people. He was released in June 2004, however his work unit fired him. Within a few months he went back to drugs and started borrowing from friends, who in the end stopped giving him money and avoided him.
In his forties, he had become an outcast in Wuhan, so he returned to his hometown in December 2006. His lifestyle had ruined his health. His complexion was dark, and he suffered from edema in both of his legs. He had difficulty walking. His mother cried all the time and his fellow villagers thought that he might die before the 2007 Chinese New Year. He began to borrow money from the villagers, and whenever he got money he would buy drugs with it. His mother was very worried, but couldn't help him. She even tried to have him commit suicide by drowning in a river.
Only four months after Mr. Liu took up Falun Gong in 2006, he quit the drug addiction. His health recovered and his complexion had changed. He looked a lot healthier.
After he learned Falun Gong, he tried to be a good person and live by the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. He no longer swore or fought with people and became a hard worker who helped his family and others, and turned completely around. Many people who knew him before were impressed with his changes.
He was arrested in December 2010 for telling people about Falun Gong, and sentenced to four years in prison.