(Minghui.org) Four Ningxia residents were sentenced for their faith in Falun Gong in September 2021 and three of them are appealing the wrongful verdicts.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
The four practitioners, including Ms. Yan Ying, Ms. Zheng Yarong, and a married couple (Ms. Zheng Fengying and Mr. Ma Xiongde), were arrested in late February 2021 by officers from the Litong District Police Station in Wuzhong City. Their arrests were approved by the Litong District Procuratorate on March 27. They stood trial at Litong District Court on August 5 and were convicted on September 14.
Ms. Yan was sentenced to two years and fined 5,000 yuan. Both Ms. Zheng Fengying and Mr. Ma were sentenced to one year and six months, with a 5,000 yuan fine. Ms. Zheng Yarong was given one year and six months, with a two-year probation and 5,000 yuan.
Ms. Zheng Yarong was exempted from serving time. The other three practitioners who are now held at the Wuzhong City Detention Center, have appealed with the Wuzhong City Intermediate Court.
In her appeal, Ms. Yan’s lawyer pointed out the obvious fabrication of prosecution evidence by the police, who accused Ms. Yan of distributing Falun Gong materials. The supporting evidence was one fingerprint extracted from the materials. Ms. Yan’s lawyer questioned how it was possible for anyone to hold anything with only one finger. He also argued that the police failed to show the alleged material in court or provided detailed information about the fingerprint, including which finger it was and what they compared it against.
The lawyer said that they had requested the re-evaluation of the evidence and exclusion of illegal evidence prior to the hearing, but the trial court judge rejected him.
Prior to their latest sentencing, all four practitioners have been repeatedly targeted for their faith in the past two decades.
Ms. Yan, a 58-year-old resident of Lingwu City, about 14 miles from Wuzhong City, was arrested in early 2000 for going to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong. After she returned home, she was held in the police station for one night. She was given 15 days of detention on March 5, 2000, on charges of “obstructing social order.” She was given another 15 days of detention on May 1, 2001, and given three years of forced labor on September 30, 2001.
Mr. Ma Xuede, a 72-year-old retired watch factory engineer of Wuzhong City, was given 15 days of detention on March 1, 2000, and two years of forced labor on December 27, 2000. He was sentenced to five years by the Litong District Court on December 28, 2004, and released on December 6, 2008. He was arrested again years later and sentenced to seven years and a half by the same Litong District Court on January 23, 2013. He was released on January 29, 2019.
Mr. Ma’s wife, 69-year-old Ms. Zheng Fengying, was also given 15 days of detention on March 1, 2000, and two years of forced labor on December 27, 2000. She was sentenced to three years with three years probation by the Litong District Court on December 28, 2004. She was sentenced again to seven years on January 15, 2013 by the Qingtongxia City Court. She was released on November 10, 2018.
Ms. Zheng Yarong, 44, of Wuzhong City, was detained in 2004 and later gave up the practice under pressure. She resumed the practice of Falun Gong in 2019, only to be arrested again in February 2021.