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Four Sichuan Residents Sentenced for Their Faith

Sept. 28, 2021 |   By a Minghui correspondent in Sichuan Province, China

(Minghui.org) After over two years of detention, four Luzhou City, Sichuan Province residents were sentenced to prison on August 24, 2021 for their faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Ms. Tang Zunqun and Ms. Ao Qizhen were both sentenced to three years and three months with 10,000-yuan fines. Ms. Peng Zhaoqun and Ms. Zhang Xinglian were each given three years and fined 8,000 yuan.

Ms. Tang, a retired employee of the Highway Management Bureau, Ms. Ao, a retired employee of Rural Credit Cooperatives, Ms. Peng, and Ms. Zhang, all in their 50s, were arrested at their respective homes on September 10, 2019. All of their homes were ransacked and their personal belongings related to Falun Gong were confiscated.

The police claimed that the practitioners were caught on surveillance cameras putting up banners with messages about Falun Gong and accused them of “undermining law enforcement,” a standard pretext to criminalize Falun Gong practitioners.

After a year of detention in the Naxi Detention Center, the four practitioners stood trial at Jiangyang District Court on November 24, 2020. Ms. Tang and Ms. Zhang’s lawyers entered a guilty plea for her and asked for lighter prison terms. Ms. Peng was represented by a court-appointed lawyer, who also entered a guilty plea for her.

Even though Ms. Ao’s family hired a lawyer from Beijing to enter a not guilty plea for her, the court still appointed a lawyer for her, claiming that the Beijing lawyer wasn’t allowed to travel to Luzhou during the pandemic. During the hearing on November 24, Ms. Ao’s own lawyer still attended the session and defended her innocence, while her court-appointed lawyer entered a guilty plea, just like his colleague who represented Ms. Peng.

Ms. Ao’s own lawyer demanded her acquittal, but the judge still sentenced her and the other three practitioners to prison, nine months after the hearing.

Since the onset of the persecution in 1999, the Jiangyang District Court has sentenced at least 31 practitioners to prison. In particular, Ms. Liang Wende, who was sentenced to 5.5 years on December 13, 2016, was tortured to death on June 24, 2019 at the Chengdu Women’s Prison. She was 64 years old.

Related reports:

Four Sichuan Residents Tried for Their Faith

Luzhou City, Sichuan Province: Four Falun Gong Practitioners Arrested in Two Hours