79-year-old Woman Sentenced to Three Years for Her Faith
(Minghui.org) A 79-year-old woman was recently sentenced to three years for her faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Ms. Dong Yunxian, a retired employee of a sugar, tobacco and alcohol company in Wenshan City, Yunnan Province, was arrested on June 30, 2020, for distributing Falun Gong materials.
The police ransacked her home and confiscated her two computers, two printers, Falun Gong books, and other materials. After that, the police also ransacked her sister’s home, before taking her to the Wolong Police Station for interrogation.
On July 1, Ms. Dong’s family learned that she has been put on criminal detention at Yanshan County Detention Center. They received her detention notice the next day.
The Wenshan City Court informed her family on November 30 that she was scheduled to appear in court on December 1 through a video conference.
As the court didn’t appoint any lawyer to represent her, Ms. Dong entered a not guilty plea herself. She demanded that the judge present the prosecution's evidence in court and summon the witnesses for cross-examination, but the judge ignored her request. The judge constantly interrupted her defense. He also pressured her family to persuade her to plead guilty after the hearing, or he might give her a heavy term. It’s not clear whether they complied.
Weeks after the hearing, the judge sentenced Ms. Dong to three years. She is still held at the detention center at the time of writing.
Tao Zhengwu, the deputy director of Wenshan City Domestic involved in Ms. Dong’s arrest, has actively participated in the persecution of local Falun Gong practitioners. After arresting two other practitioners Ms. Ren Huaiping and Ms. Peng Yunkui on May 13, 2020, Tao arrested the two of them again in September 2020. The two practitioners are now held at the Wenshan City Detention Center and it’s not clear whether the police have submitted their cases to the procuratorate.