(Minghui.org) After 11 Beijing residents were sentenced to prison in mid-January 2022 for practicing Falun Gong, another local Falun Gong practitioner was given a four-year sentence shortly before the Winter Olympics is set to take place in Beijing from February 4 to 20.

Mr. Lei Zhongfu, who has been detained for a year and a half, will not be able to celebrate the Chinese New Year (which falls on February 1 this year) with his family for the second time in a row.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Mr. Lei was arrested around August 2020 and has been detained incommunicado since. His latest arrest was due to his determination to uphold his faith in Falun Gong during the “Zero-out” campaign in March 2020, a coordinated harassment operation targeting every practitioner on the government’s blacklist. Another practitioner arrested with him, Ms. Zhao Chunying, has also been detained incommunicado ever since.

Mr. Lei’s family was called in early 2022 to go to the courthouse to pick up his verdict. Other details about his sentencing aren’t yet available.

Before Mr. Lei’s sentencing, 11 more local practitioners were sentenced to up to eight years on January 14. Ms. Xu Na, who was sentenced to eight years this time, was also arrested with her husband, Mr. Yu Zhou, before the Beijing Olympics in January 2008. Mr. Yu died in custody 11 days later, on February 6, at the age of 42. Ms. Xu was sentenced to three years in November 2008.

Mr. Lei is retired from the China Construction Second Bureau. Since the onset of the persecution in 1999, he has been arrested and incarcerated several times. He was arrested on March 9, 2002, and sentenced to three years. Similar to Ms. Xu, he was also arrested before the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and held in the notorious Masanjia Forced Labor Camp in nearby Liaoning Province for over three years.

During the harassment campaign in March 2020, he was forced to submit to a physical exam and have a sample of his blood and photos taken. The police also forced him to sign a form, alleging that he had the physical exam voluntarily before allowing him to go home.