(Minghui.org) Two Xinyang City, Henan Province residents are appealing their wrongful sentences for practicing Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Ms. Bai Yuzhen, 80, was arrested at home on June 22, 2021. The other practitioner, Ms. Jin Yuling, 60, who happened to be visiting her, was also arrested. Both women also had their homes ransacked.

Ms. Jin used to work as an accountant at the Xinyang Sports Middle School. She suffered a severe stomach problem that caused her to be emaciated and have sallow skin. She recovered less than six months after she took up Falun Gong.

Ms. Jin and Ms. Bai were tried by the Huangchuan County Court at the Xinyang City No. 1 Detention Center on December 14, 2021. Due to Ms. Bai’s advanced age, she staggered while walking into the makeshift courtroom. The judge kept both of them handcuffed throughout the hearing.

Prosecutor Wu Weichen of the Huangchuan County Procuratorate accused them of “undermining law enforcement,” the standard pretext used to criminalize Falun Gong practitioners. He presented Falun Gong books, informational materials, media players, and banknotes confiscated from their homes as prosecution evidence against them. It’s not clear whether the banknotes were printed with information about Falun Gong, like what many Falun Gong practitioners have been doing as a creative way to raise awareness about the persecution, given the strict censorship in China.

Another piece of evidence was the footage of two women recorded by surveillance camera in a mall. In the video, both women were wearing masks and hats. It can’t be seen clearly whether they were Ms. Bai and Ms. Jin. It was also not clear whether they acknowledged if it was them who were recorded.

The two practitioners’ lawyers entered not guilty pleas for them. The practitioners also testified in their own defense and recounted how they benefitted from practicing Falun Gong. They argued that the police ransacked their homes when no one was present. Since the police violated the law in the first place, the items presented shouldn’t be admissible as prosecution evidence against them. Judge Zhang Junjun constantly interrupted them.

The judge announced the practitioners’ verdicts on January 11, 2022. Ms. Jin was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison with an 8,000 yuan fine. Ms. Bai was given 3 years with a 5,000 yuan fine. They have appealed with the Xinyang City Intermediate Court.

Perpetrators’ contact information:
Zhao Mingya (赵明亚), officer of Shihe Police Station: +86-18837691173
Wu Weichen (吴微晨), prosecutor of Huangchuan County Procuratorate: +86-13839799819Zhang Junjun (张军军), judge of Huangchuan County Court: +86-13526060979

(More perpetrators’ contact information is available in the original Chinese article.)