(Minghui.org) After living away from home for over three years to avoid persecution for her faith in Falun Gong, Ms. Rong Tiewen, a 74-year-old native of Jilin City, Jilin Province, was arrested and sentenced to 4.5 years.
The Fengman District Court delivered the verdict to Ms. Rong shortly after her arrest in late July 2021. She was taken to the Jilin Province Women’s Prison in September 2021. It’s not clear if a trial ever took place.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Four years ago, on October 6, 2017, Ms. Rong was arrested while putting up Falun Gong information posters with two other elderly practitioners. The police raided Ms. Rong’s home and confiscated over 100 Falun Gong books, more than 70 Falun Gong posters, and a picture of the founder of Falun Gong.
Both she and another practitioner were found to have dangerously high blood pressure, but the police still forced the local lockup to detain them. The three seniors were stripped naked for a body search at the detention facility. Ms. Rong was force-fed pills the guards claimed were to lower her blood pressure. The prison doctor said that she had to take the medication no matter what. Ms. Rong was first forced to take a white pill every day for two weeks and then a red pill every day for a month and six days.
When Ms. Rong was released on 5,000-yuan bail on November 14, 2017, she was incoherent and couldn’t recognize her family. Days later, her face began to swell, her hands were festering, and there were blisters on her fingers. Her left thumb didn’t recover even after six months.
Prosecutor Gao Jiwei of the Fengman District Procuratorate called Ms. Rong on March 27, 2018, and ordered her to appear to renew her bail documents. Once there, she was told that she would have to go to the Fengman District Court to have the documents renewed.
When Ms. Rong went to the court on April 20, 2018, she was arrested and shoved into a cage after refusing to renounce Falun Gong. The court personnel attempted to get Ms. Rong’s son to persuade her to sign a guarantee statement to renounce Falun Gong, but he refused to comply. Ms. Rong was held in the cage for almost the entire day. That evening, she was taken to the Jiangnan Police Station, where the police took her photos and collected her fingerprints against her will.
After the Jilin City Detention Center refused to admit her, she was taken back to the court and ordered to sign a renewed bail document with a paragraph defaming Falun Gong. When she refused to sign, the court staff had her sign on a blank bail release form before releasing her.
Ms. Rong was informed in July 2018 that the court had scheduled a hearing of her case. To avoid further persecution, she lived away from home and remained displaced for three years. She was arrested again in July 2021, shortly after she returned home.
Ms. Rong, the former principal of a driving school, took up Falun Gong in 2001. She credits the practice for curing her many ailments. Prior to her latest sentencing, she was arrested in September 2009 for putting up informational materials about Falun Gong. She was held at a detention center for 28 days. The police force-fed her and injured her mouth and teeth. She was very thirsty after being forced to drink several bottles of water, which she suspected had toxic drugs mixed in. The police extorted an unknown amount of money from her family before releasing her.