(Minghui.org) Five of the Yingtan City, Jiangxi Province residents arrested in a police sweep last year were sentenced to two to eight years in early February 2021 for their faith in Falun Gong.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a mind-body practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

At least eight practitioners were arrested between mid- and late-March 2020. Two officers forced Ms. Lu Jinrong to kneel on the ground and took pictures of her. A ninth practitioner, Ms. Tang Xiaobao, in her 70s, passed away in early April 2020 after being harassed by the police in the sweep.

In addition to monitoring and following the practitioners, the police also installed 5G surveillance devices at their doors. Whenever the practitioners opened the door, staff members from the residential committee would be notified on their cell phones. Similar surveillance tools have also been used in nearby cities, including Nanchang and Jiujiang.

The 610 Office and Political and Legal Affairs Committee, the two extralegal and extra-judiciary agencies tasked with persecuting Falun Gong, mobilized local police, traffic police, urban management personnel, sanitation workers, and residential committee staff members to conduct the arrests.

Five of the practitioners, including Ms. Li Meilian, Ms. Xu Huihua, Ms. Lu, Ms. Zhang Jinrong, and Ms. Wang Yumei, had their arrests approved on April 22, 2020. The police later submitted their cases to the Guixi City Procuratorate on charges of “undermining law enforcement with a cult organization,” a standard pretext used to criminalize Falun Gong practitioners.

Ms. Li was transferred to a hospital on May 6, 2020. The other practitioners remain detained at the Yingtan City Detention Center.

It was confirmed by Minghui.org on February 5, 2021 that Ms. Li has been sentenced to eight years, Ms. Xu to five years and two months, Ms. Zhang to two years and eight months, Ms. Wang to two years and three months, and Ms. Lu to two years.

The status of three other practitioners targeted in the same police sweep, including Ms. Wei Qinglan, Ms. Wang Yumei and Mr. Ai Guoxiang, also remain to be investigated.

Mr. Ai’s arrest left his family in deep distress. As his daughter is only a toddler, his wife, who stays home to take care of their daughter, was unable to manage their convenience store. She had to close it and put it up for sale.