(Minghui.org) Having served 1.5 years in a labor camp and 3.5 years in prison for practicing Falun Gong, a 69-year-old Kunming City, Yunnan Province resident is facing another prison term following her latest arrest at a farmer’s market. Her crime? Spending banknotes printed with information about Falun Gong.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999. Due to strict information censorship in China, many practitioners are using creative ways to spread information about the persecution, including printing messages on banknotes. 

Arrested While Grocery Shopping

Two police officers stopped Ms. Duan Xuying, a retired Yunnan Concrete Factory worker, as she was grocery shopping on June 3, 2020. They brought her to the Haikou Police Station. Upon finding 700 yuan banknotes printed with information about Falun Gong in her bag, the police interrogated her about where she got the money. They also ransacked her home and confiscated her Falun Gong books. 

In the evening, the police took Ms. Duan for a physical exam. Even though she had high blood pressure, the police still drove her to the Kunming City Detention Center. 

When they arrived late at night, the detention center doctor refused to admit Ms. Duan due to her health. The police had to drive another hour to take her back. They summoned her daughter to the police station, forced her to pay a 1,000-yuan bail bond and released her mother on bail. 

The next day, the police ordered Ms. Duan and her daughter to come to the police station to fingerprint a document. They interrogated Ms. Duan and searched her home again a month later. 

In August, the authorities suspended Ms. Duan's pension, citing a new regulation that Falun Gong practitioners aren’t entitled to any retirement benefits while serving time for their faith (although no Chinese labor law stipulates such a rule). As Ms. Duan was sentenced to 3.5 years in 2015, the authorities suspended her pension to recoup the funds she had received during her term.

On September 9, the police searched Ms. Duan’s home for the third time. 

Indictment and Hearing

After the police submitted Ms. Duan’s case to the Xishan District Procuratorate, a prosecutor came to the police station on November 19, 2020, and questioned Ms. Duan.

On December 15, Ms. Duan was indicted by prosecutor Guo Yanni. 

The Xishan District Court informed Ms. Duan on February 27, 2021, that she was scheduled to appear in court three days later. The court-appointed lawyer called her on March 1 and told her that he has been instructed to enter a guilty plea for her. Ms. Duan told him she hadn't done anything wrong and is innocent.

During her hearing on March 2, Ms. Duan recounted how the police arbitrarily arrested her, and the violation of legal procedure in their handling of her case. 

The judge asked her at the end of the hearing, “Can you accept it if I sentence you to four or five years?” Ms. Duan maintained her innocence. The judge adjourned the hearing without announcing the verdict.

Additional Information

Just a year ago, prosecutor Guo Yanni had indicted four practitioners, including Ms. Zhu Cuifen, Ms. Zhou Huifen, Ms. Yang Gongxiu and Ms. Xia Meixian. The indictment resulted in Ms. Yang being sentenced to two and a half years and Ms. Zhu and Ms. Zhou to one year and two months each. The persecution was so traumatizing that Ms. Xia's cancer relapsed and she passed away while awaiting trial.

Chinese version available

Category: Accounts of Persecution