(Minghui.org) Two young women in their early 30s in Beijing were sentenced to four years each for practicing Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
The Haidian District Court announced the guilty verdicts against Ms. Liu Zixuan and Ms. Ye Linlin on December 10, 2021. Both of them have appealed the sentences.
Ms. Liu, 30, and Ms. Ye, 32, were arrested at their shared apartment in Beijing at around 10 p.m. on August 7, 2019. Officers from the Xisanqi Police Station ransacked their place and confiscated their Falun Gong books, printers, laptop computers, and 40-50 copies of informational booklets about Falun Gong.
A prosecutor later revealed that the two women were recorded by surveillance cameras entering a residential area, and that they were thus suspected of distributing Falun Gong materials there. The pamphlets found by officers in the neighborhood were later used as prosecution evidence against them.
The police ordered both practitioners to write statements renouncing Falun Gong. They also showed them the renouncing statements written by two other practitioners and asked them to shift the blame to the other practitioners to exonerate themselves. But both refused to comply.
The two women’s arrests were approved on September 13, 2019. They have since been held at the Haidian District Detention Center.
The Haidian District Procuratorate returned their joint case to the Xisanqi Police Station in late 2019, citing insufficient evidence. The police re-submitted the case on January 3, 2020, and saw it returned again on January 19.
On March 18, the police submitted the practitioners’ case for the third time. The prosecutor accepted the case this time and indicted the practitioners on April 29.
The Haidian District Court initially scheduled a hearing for September 2020 but postponed it at least five times before finally holding a hearing on February 25, 2021.
During the practitioners’ second hearing on August 4, both Ms. Liu’s grandmother in her 80s and Ms. Ye’s mother came to attend it. Judge Tan claimed that Ms. Liu’s grandmother, the only person from her family who could attend the hearing, wasn’t her immediate family and blocked her entry into the courtroom.
When the elderly woman tried to argue with Tan, a tall and strong-built officer came over and shouted at her, “Go, go, go! You are already interfering with our job! Get out of here immediately!” Together with another officer, they dragged the elderly woman outside of the courtroom. Ms. Ye’s mother was allowed to attend the hearing.
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