(Minghui.org) Two Chongqing residents were recently sentenced to prison for their faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Ms. Hu Kaijun, a 67-year-old retired construction company employee, was arrested on July 17, 2020 for delivering Falun Gong informational materials to Ms. Liu Deying, who is in her 80s. Both of their homes were ransacked. Their Falun Gong books and related materials, as well as Ms. Hu’s computer, printer, 1,000 yuan in cash, media player, and photo of Falun Gong’s founder, were confiscated.

Another dozen practitioners, including Ms. Deng Jianrong, Ms. Tan Mingqiong, Ms. Huang Zhiqiong, Ms. Zhou Kailan, and Ms. Xiang Tainyu, were also arrested and had their homes ransacked on the same day.

Both Ms. Hu and Ms. Liu were taken to a brainwashing center following their arrests. They were released on bail 12 and 19 days later, respectively. Ms. Liu was put on residential surveillance after being released.

The police later submitted both women’s cases to the Kaizhou District Procuratorate. They were charged with “undermining law enforcement with a cult organization,” the standard pretext used to criminalize Falun Gong practitioners in China.

When they first appeared in Kaizhou District Court for a joint hearing on August 19, 2021, Ms. Liu, who had been seriously ill, was carried by a nurse and her son into the courtroom. She was unable to sit up or stand. None of their family members were allowed to attend the hearing.

On December 28, three weeks after their second court appearance on December 2, the judge sentenced Ms. Hu to 5 years with a 15,000 yuan fine and Ms. Liu to 4.5 years with a 10,000 yuan fine. It’s not clear whether Ms. Liu’s condition has since improved, or whether she has been taken into custody following the verdict.