(Minghui.org) Five Tangshan City, Hebei Province, residents stood trial on September 15, 2021, for their faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999. The practitioners insisted that they didn’t break any laws by practicing their faith or harm anyone. They demanded acquittal.

Ms. Geng Fuxia, Ms. Lu Caiyun, Ms. Wang Xiuhong, Ms. Fu Ruiying, and Mr. Wei Guoshen were among the 36 local practitioners arrested on June 18, 2020. One of them, Ms. Han Yuqin, died in a police station only hours following her arrest.

Ms. Geng, Ms. Fu, and Mr. Wei were later released on bail due to health issues. Ms. Lu and Ms. Wang remain in custody in the Tangshan City No.1 Detention Center.

At their hearing in the Zunhua Court on September 15, Mr. Wei testified that the police covered his head with a plastic bag filled with an unknown drug three times within a few hours. He almost suffocated from the fumes and couldn’t stop crying. Foggy-headed, he repeated what the police told him to say.

The prosecutor claimed that, of the 18,400 yuan in cash confiscated from Mr. Wei, they had returned 8,400 yuan, which Mr. Wei said he never received. Mr. Wei added that Liushahe Police Station officers intimidated him and searched his home again prior to the hearing. The police threatened to fine him 10,000 yuan and ordered him to turn over the 8,400 yuan that’s yet to be returned to him.

When she defended herself, Ms. Geng presented several Falun Gong keepsakes used as evidence to charge her and other practitioners. “Take a look at them! How do I undermine law enforcement with these items?” She also said that it was her constitutionally protected right to practice her faith.

The prosecutor proposed sentencing Ms. Geng to nine years in prison with a 10,000-yuan fine, Mr. Wei to four years, Ms. Wang to three years, Ms. Fu to two years with a 3,000-yuan fine, and Ms. Lu to one year and five months.

Two other practitioners targeted in the same group arrest were also sentenced, Mr. Sun Jianzhong to two and a half years in prison and Ms. Xiao Huijun to three years.