(Minghui.org) A 71-year-old woman in Pengzhou City, Sichuan Province was sentenced to a 3.5-year prison term and fined 5,000 yuan on March 9, 2021, for her faith in 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.

Ms. Chen Dechun, a retired machinery plant employee, was arrested along with another practitioner, Ms. Tang Yongxian, on April 12, 2019, after they were videotaped by plainclothes officers distributing informational materials about Falun Gong and talking to people about it.

Both women were taken to Guangming Police Station. The police forcibly took their photos and collected their fingerprints. Ms. Tang was released at around 1:30 a.m. and Ms. Chen around 4:00 a.m.

Two police officers and a residential committee director harassed Ms. Chen at home on July 9, 2019. They took her photos and asked whether she still practiced Falun Gong. Ms. Chen replied, saying how could she not practice something so good.

While taking care of her bedridden husband in the hospital, Ms. Chen received a call from the Pengzhou City Procuratorate on June 29, 2020. The caller said they were intending to sentence her to three years, and asked her to report to the Procuratorate on July 2.

Ms. Chen went to the Procuratorate as requested. One prosecutor said to her, “Because you distributed Falun Gong materials and asked people to quit the Chinese Communist Party, the three-year sentence we are giving you is already the lightest.”

The prosecutor forced Ms. Chen to sign some paperwork and fined her 2,000 yuan. He also asked her to be on the lookout for the court hearing notice in the mail.

As the procuratorates in China are not authorized to directly sentence citizens or impose fines, Ms. Chen's local procuratorate was probably threatening her with prison sentences that they had recommended to the local court.

Three officers arrested Ms. Chen again on January 19, 2021, and took her to a hospital for physical examination. After the detention center refused to accept her due to her high blood pressure, she was released at around 10:00 p.m.

Ms. Chen was tried by the Pengzhou City Court on March 9, 2021. She denied any wrongdoing and said there was no legal basis for the persecution.

The judge sentenced her to 3.5 years with a 5,000 yuan fine at the end of the one-hour hearing.

Chinese version available

Category: Accounts of Persecution