(Minghui.org) Twenty-eight cases of Falun Gong practitioners being sentenced for their faith were reported in October 2022. Except two cases that took place in 2014 and 2021, respectively, the remaining 26 happened in 2022, including one in May and June each, six in July, two in August, and eight in September and October each.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999. Since then, countless practitioners have been arrested, detained, sentenced, and tortured for upholding their faith. But due to strict information censorship in China, the incidents can’t always be reported in a timely manner, nor is all the information readily available.
The sentenced cases were reported in nine provinces. Liaoning recorded the most cases of eight, followed by seven cases in Guangdong and four in Shandong. Henan and Sichuan had three and two cases respectively. The other four provinces each had one case.
The practitioners’ prison terms ranged from 1.5 to 10 years, with an average of 3.5 years. One practitioner was fined 5,000 yuan and three other practitioners were fined 10,000 yuan each. Among the 12 practitioners whose ages were known at the time of sentencing, they were between 38 and 86, including seven who were 65 or above.
Some of the sentenced practitioners had endured two decades of persecution before being convicted again. Some lost their lives in the persecution. The parents of a 16-year-old student were arrested shortly after she left China for New York to study music and both have been sentenced to unknown prison terms.
Below are snapshots of selected sentencing cases. The full list of sentenced practitioners can be downloaded here (PDF).
Ms. Zhou Shuzhen, a 86-year-old retired textile factory worker in Zigong City, Sichuan Province, was arrested on November 10, 2021, while studying Falun Gong’s teaching with five other practitioners at her home. Her Falun Gong books, photo of Falun Gong’s founder, computer, printer, and other office supplies were confiscated.
Three of Ms. Zhou’s guests were released that evening. Another two, a married couple in their late 60s, were detained for seven days.
Ms. Zhou was detained for three days before being released on house arrest. Since then, the local police and residential committee staff members kept coming to harass her. She tried to explain to them what Falun Gong is, how it helped her to regain health, as well as how the regime had no legal basis for the persecution. The police refused to listen and still pursued her prosecution.
The Da’an District Court held a trial of Ms. Zhou’s case on September 15, 2022, and sentenced her to three years with a five-year probation and a 5,000-yuan fine. As she couldn’t afford to pay the full amount of the fine with her limited pension, her son paid 3,000 yuan for her.
Ms. Wang Junqiao, a 75-year-old Dingzhou City, Hebei Province, resident, was arrested on July 7, 2021, after being reported for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong. She was sentenced to two years on August 17, 2022.
Prior to Ms. Wang’s latest ordeal, she was previously arrested on March 13, 2018, also for distributing Falun Gong materials. One officer slapped her in the face when she refused to tell them where she got the materials. With the help of her village secretary, she was released shortly after.
Two Decades of Persecution
Ms. Liu Suzhi, a 65-year-old resident in Anshan City, Liaoning Province, was sentenced to 3.5 years in September 2022 for raising awareness about the persecution of her faith in Falun Gong. This is the fourth time she has been convicted for her faith. She has appealed to the higher court.
Ms. Liu was arrested on January 4, 2022 for talking to people about Falun Gong at a farmers’ market. She was tried by the Lishan District Court on August 10, 2022 and her family learned about her sentencing on September 29.
Shortly after the communist regime ordered the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999, Ms. Liu went to Beijing to appeal for the right to practice her faith. She was arrested and sentenced to five years in the Liaoning Province Women’s Prison on October 1, 2001.
The guards ordered the inmates to beat her and deprive her of sleep for two weeks. When she was too sleepy to keep her eyes open, they stabbed her with needles and an awl tool and hit her head with a broom. As she still refused to renounce Falun Gong, the guards shocked her with electric batons. She was very dizzy and kept vomiting. Later the guards forced her to sit on a 5 cm by 13.2 cm (2 x 5 inches) small stool from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Only a year after she was released, she was arrested again in 2007 and sentenced to six years at the Liaoning Province Women’s Prison. The guards forced her to watch videos smearing Falun Gong and didn’t provide her with a blanket and bedding in the winter.
When she applied for retirement after being released, she was devastated to learn that she had been fired and not entitled to any retirement benefits.
Ms. Liu was sentenced to another two years in 2018 by the Lishan District Court.
Mr. Dong Yiran, a 61-year-old former police engineer in Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, was arrested on February 24, 2022, while distributing informational materials about Falun Gong.
Mr. Dong was tried by the Yuhong District Court through a video hearing on August 4. He was represented by a court-appointed lawyer. The judge sentenced him to three years on August 7. After he was taken to the Shenyang City No. 2 Prison, the prison authorities barred his family from visiting him, sending daily necessities, or making cash deposits for him.
Mr. Dong’s sister, Ms. Dong Xinhua, who currently resides in Los Angeles, called for his release during a rally in front of the Chinese Consulate on July 18, 2022.
“My eldest brother Dong Xinran died from the torture in custody. My sisters were arrested and detained in brainwashing centers. Living in fear and under tremendous pressure due to the persecution of my siblings, my mother also passed away. My other brother Dong Yiran served two labor camp terms and a prison term for a total of 7.5 years. When he was released, the once strong and healthy middle-aged man had significantly aged. He was emaciated and gray-haired,” said Ms. Dong.
Mr. Tong Xuesheng, of Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province, has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime for his faith in Falun Gong since he was 16 years old. After being expelled from school at age 16, given one year of forced labor at 17, and serving four years in prison in his early 20s, he was sentenced again after his most recent arrest two years ago.
Mr. Tong, 38, was arrested with three other practitioners, Ms. Sun Xiuli, Ms. Zhang Yongmei and Mr. Mai Kanglin, on July 3, 2020. Despite the fact that the prosecutor twice returned their cases, citing insufficient evidence, the police refused to release them and submitted their cases for the third time on February 8, 2021. The prosecutor later indicted the practitioners.
The Haizhu District Court held a hearing of the four cases on November 2, 2021. The judge announced their verdicts in July 2022. Mr. Tong was given four years and the other three practitioners’ terms ranged from two to four years.
Mr. Tong began to practice Falun Gong in September 1997 when he was 13. Not long after, the short-tempered and foul-mouthed teen with many bad habits became a broad-minded and kind-hearted young man.
After the persecution started two years later, the then 16-year-old teenager went to Beijing to appeal for the right to practice Falun Gong in March 2000. He was arrested and expelled by the Tianjin Light Industry College he was attending.
Mr. Tong was given one year of forced labor in 2001, after he was arrested again for returning to Beijing to appeal. Following his third arrest in 2005, the then 21-year-old man was sentenced to four years.
Because he refused to renounce Falun Gong, he was often handcuffed and beaten by the prison guards. He was once ordered to remain on the athletic field all day long, either standing or sitting, but not moving. The guards beat him if he moved. He was given a limited amount of water to drink despite the scorching sun. He was unable to sleep at night because of the mosquitoes.
Mr. Chen Yang and his wife Ms. Cao Zhimin, of Changsha City, Hunan Province, were targeted in a police sweep on October 27, 2020, while studying Falun Gong books at another practitioner’s home. They stood trial at Liuyang City Court on December 21, 2021. Minghui.org recently confirmed that Mr. Chen has been taken to the Wangling Prison and Ms. Cao to the Hunan Province Women’s Prison. The lengths of their prison terms aren’t known.
The couple’s arrest came shortly after their daughter, Grace Fayuan Chen, 16, moved to New York to study music. She now lost financial support from the family and struggles to live on her own.
Mr. Chen, an engineer in his 50s, took up Falun Gong in 1995 and credits the practice for lessening his health problems, especially severe asthma, as well as purifying his mind. He met Ms. Cao at a Falun Gong exercise practice site in 1996. They later got married. Ms. Cao, who worked at the HR department of a state-owned car company, credits Falun Dafa for curing her severe eye condition.
Since the onset of the persecution, Mr. Chen and Ms. Cao were sentenced to four and three years, respectively, in 1999 for appealing for the right to practice Falun Gong. Mr. Chen endured horrendous torture in prison. Ms. Cao lost her job after she was released.
Ms. Cao was arrested again on July 5, 2010 with her daughter and held at a brainwashing center.
Three officers knocked on Mr. Miao Jianguo’s door on the early afternoon of February 21, 2022. His wife opened the door and told the police that Mr. Miao wasn’t home. After staying for a brief while, the officers left. They returned at around 4 p.m., shortly after Mr. Miao had returned.
Thinking it was his friends, Mr. Miao, a 51-year-old resident in Jinzhou City, Liaoning Province, opened the door, only to have the officers barge in. They ransacked his home and confiscated Falun Gong related materials. Mr. Miao tried to call for help, but the officers took away his phone.
Although the officers told Mr. Miao’s wife that they were just taking him to their police station to ask him some questions, they arrested and took him to the Jinzhou City Detention Center, where he was beaten by the inmates. The police promised that they would release Mr. Miao in seven days. But when his brother went to the detention center to pick him up on February 27, the authorities refused to release him.
Mr. Miao was later indicted by the Linghai City Procuratorate. The Linghai City Court sentenced him to 1.5 years around October.
Mr. Miao used to work as an electrician for the Jinzhou railroad bureau. For upholding his faith in Falun Gong, he was arrested in October 2001. His wife, who was then eight months pregnant, was terrified and suffered placental abruption, resulting in the unborn child’s death. She has never been able to carry a baby again.
Mr. Miao was given three years of forced labor following his arrest on July 23, 2002. While he was briefly released on bail, he was later taken back into custody and had his term extended. He wasn’t released until February 15, 2007. He was arrested again on February 25, 2008 and later sentenced to four years in prison. While he was serving his term, his mother passed away without seeing him one last time. His father suffered mental instability and died in a car accident three years later.
Violation of Legal Procedure at Every Step of Prosecution
Two Anshan City, Liaoning Province, residents were sentenced to prison in September 2022 for practicing Falun Gong. Both of them have appealed the verdicts.
Ms. Shi Yanying was arrested on January 19, 2021 while working at a senior center. A computer and printer were confiscated from her home. She was held at the Xiuyan Detention Center. The police continued to monitor Ms. Shi’s home after the raid and arrested two more practitioners, Mr. Bai Xuesong and Ms. Lou Yan, when they went to Ms. Shi’s home for a visit the next day.
While Ms. Lou was later released, Mr. Bai was interrogated and beaten at the Fanrong Police Station. Deputy police chief Wu Chunsong restrained him in a metal chair and slapped him repeatedly in the face. When Wu became tired, he ordered another officer to continue beating Mr. Bai.
On January 21, an officer surnamed Zhang dragged Mr. Bai into the restroom and hit him on the head. Mr. Bai was then taken to the Anshan City No. 2 Detention Center.
The Lishan District Procuratorate later approved Ms. Shi’s and Mr. Bai’s arrests. Both appeared at the Lishan District Court four times before being sentenced.
During their first hearing on December 27, 2021, Ms. Shi refused to plead guilty when pressed by prosecutor Zhang Yi. She also testified that none of the police officers were in uniform during her arrest, nor did they show their IDs or an arrest warrant. One officer promised to release her if she admitted that some of the Falun Gong materials were hers. She refused to acquiesce.
Ms. Shi’s lawyer demanded that the prosecutor exhibit the prosecution evidence in court, but the prosecutor insisted that the photos of the evidence included in the indictment were sufficient. When the lawyer raised the demand with the judge to examine the evidence in court, the judge agreed.
After a brief adjournment, the prosecutor presented the evidence. The lawyer argued that the amount of materials shown was significantly less than that indicated in the indictment. He added that the China Administration of Press and Publication had lifted the ban on Falun Gong literature in 2011, and thus his client didn’t violate any law in having or distributing them. The judge didn’t respond to the lawyer and adjourned the session.
For the next three hearings on January 7, August 19, and September 16, the practitioners’ three lawyers focused their argument about the police fabricating the practitioners’ signatures and testimonies in the case documents, as well as editing the interrogation videos.
The judge sentenced Ms. Shi to three years and Mr. Bai to three and a half years on September 29.
Mr. Mo Xinzhong, a 55-year-old Dezhou City, Shandong Province, resident, was sentenced to seven years for practicing Falun Gong. The local higher court ordered a retrial after Mr. Mo Xinzhong’s first appeal, but the trial court still issued the same verdict after the retrial. He appealed again, only to be rejected the second time around.
Mr. Mo and his wife were arrested at their daughter’s bakery on the evening of February 9, 2020, after the police found Mr. Mo’s information while searching another practitioner’s home earlier. His two computers, three printers and over 20,000 yuan in cash were confiscated.
The police suspected that Mr. Mo had worked with other practitioners to travel from his residence in Xiajin County (under the jurisdiction of Dezhou City) to the nearby Gaotang County (under the jurisdiction of Liaocheng City), about 25 miles away, to put up informational materials about Falun Gong.
After three days of detention and interrogation, Mr. Mo was released on bail on February 12. Terrified by the raid and arrest, his wife fell ill and was hospitalized.
On February 2, 2021, ten days before Mr. Mo’s one-year bail condition expired, an officer of the Gaotang County Domestic Security Office called him and summoned him to the police department on the next day.
When Mr. Mo didn’t comply, the police from Gaotang came to his home at 7 a.m. on May 30. They turned off his power supply from outside and arrested him when he came out to check the situation.
Mr. Mo’s lawyer visited him several times. All of their conversations were closely monitored by a guard sitting next to Mr. Mo. Whenever the lawyer mentioned the words “not guilty,” the guard would stand up and warn the lawyer not to talk about the defense argument.
Sentenced to Seven Years
The Gaotang County Domestic Security Office later submitted Mr. Mo’s case to the Dong’e County Procuratorate, which, together with Dong’e County Court, were designated to handle Falun Gong cases in the counties in Liaocheng City.
A prosecutor went to see Mr. Mo in the detention center and promised to give him a lighter sentence of four years if he pleaded guilty, or he would be given seven years or more. He said he’d plead not guilty.
His lawyer thus submitted a legal opinion not to indict him, but prosecutor Zhang Min still did so and forwarded his case to the Dong’e County Court.
Judge Rong Chuigong contacted Mr. Mo’s lawyer and said that he received a letter from Mr. Mo’s family, who urged him not to sentence him. The lawyer added that the persecution didn’t have any legal basis. The judge affirmed his position to follow the persecution policy and said that Mr. Mo had violated the law if the government said so.
The Dong’e County Court held the first hearing of Mr. Mo’s case on November 23, 2021. Except for Mr. Mo, who was connected through a video conference at the detention center, the judge, prosecutor and lawyer attended the session in the courthouse.
The lawyer entered a not guilty plea for Mr. Mo. He argued that the police had committed several violations of legal procedure while handling his case, which would render the evidence submitted by them inadmissible.
First of all, the police failed to show a search warrant before ransacking Mr. Mo’s home on the evening of February 9. Only after holding him at the police station overnight did they issue a detention certificate, which didn’t have a specific date of the arrest.
What’s more unacceptable was that the police fabricated Mr. Mo’s deposition and forced him to sign it, without allowing him to read it first.
In addition, the police listed the paper currency confiscated from Mr. Mo’s home as Falun Gong flyers, because it had information about Falun Gong printed on it. The over 20,000-yuan cash confiscated from Mr. Mo, including bills of one yuan and ten yuan, were counted as 2,700 Falun Gong flyers.
Prosecutor Zhang Min kept ordering Mr. Mo to plead guilty and admit that he printed the paper currency himself. Zhang said that if he had a good attitude, they would sentence him to five years, otherwise seven years.
When Mr. Mo retorted that he didn’t violate any law in practicing Falun Gong, judge Rong interrupted him, accused him of having a bad attitude and indicated that he would sentence him to seven years. Rong also ordered Mr. Mo to plead guilty, leaving him with almost no opportunity to defend himself during the hearing.
By the end of the hearing, the judge allowed Mr. Mo’s family, who attended the hearing in person, to take a look at him through the video. He warned the family to be prepared for a heavy sentence.
Four days after Mr. Mo’s second hearing on December 9, the lawyer received his verdict, dated December 10, that Mr. Mo was sentenced to seven years and fined 20,000 yuan. Mr. Mo appealed with the Liaocheng City Intermediate Court.
Appeal Rejected after a Retrial
In late February 2022, Mr. Mo’s family received a letter from the intermediate court, which decided to reverse the lower court’s verdict and ordered a retrial.
After receiving the intermediate court’s decision, judge Rong filed a complaint against Mr. Mo’s lawyer with the local justice bureau, which resulted in an investigation of the lawyer. The justice bureau questioned the lawyer whether he gave their phone numbers to overseas Falun Gong practitioners, as they kept getting calls from them, who urged them to release Mr. Mo.
Zhang Wei, the vice president of the Dong’e County Court, also said to Mr. Mo’s lawyer, “The reason the higher court ordered a retrial was because they had some issues with the members of the trial court. You shouldn’t think that the result would be changed at all.”
During Mr. Mo’s retrial on June 17, the court bailiffs kept his family from entering the courthouse initially. They relented upon the lawyer’s strong protest. As soon as the family sat down in the gallery, several armed bailiffs came over and stood next to them.
This time, the presiding judge was changed to Zhao Liyan and Zhang Min remained the prosecutor. Mr. Mo was still connected through a video conference.
Similar to judge Rong, the first question judge Zhao asked Mr. Mo was whether he would plead guilty. After Mr. Mo replied that he didn’t break any law, Zhao said to him, “I’m asking you again. I hope you can seize this opportunity.” Mr. Mo still replied to her, “I won't plead guilty. I didn’t break any law.”
After moments of silence, Zhao announced to adjourn the hearing for ten minutes. She then walked out of the courtroom with prosecutor Zhang and his assistant Shen Jian.
When they came back, Zhao said to Mr. Mo that his attitude wasn’t good and that she had decided to sentence him to seven years. After she announced the verdict, she then asked Mr. Mo where he got his Falun Gong books and the paper currency with information about Falun Gong printed on it.
Mr. Mo refused to answer her question. He also denied the charge of “undermining law enforcement with a cult organization.” Both the judge and prosecutor frequently interrupted him.
The judge issued a formal seven-year verdict against Mr. Mo on August 2. He appealed with the Liaocheng City Intermediate Court, which has ruled to uphold the verdict.
The Family’s Plight
Mr. Mo had a daughter and a son. On July 29, 1996, his son, then 7, drowned in the river. As the water was very deep, it took local villagers several hours to find his body.
The tragic death of their son dealt Mr. Mo and his wife a huge blow. Unable to cope with the deep grief, they often cried and lost hope for life. Later, with the encouragement from their family, they decided to have another baby. But because his wife had undergone a sterilization procedure, she tried to do the tubal ligation reversal surgery to conceive again, which failed after several attempts.
The surgery caused much damage to his wife’s health and also left the couple with huge debt. Under tremendous pressure, Mr. Mo’s wife suffered a mental breakdown and often attempted to commit suicide.
Mr. Mo had to take his wife to the Liaocheng City Psychiatric Hospital, only to take her home soon after, as the doctor often shocked her with electric batons.
In 1997, upon learning about Falun Gong’s health benefits, Mr. Mo’s wife took up the practice. She stopped the medication and recovered in a month. A year later, Mr. Mo also joined her and happiness returned to the family again.
Mr. Mo’s wife used to have a tense relationship with her mother-in-law. But practicing Falun Gong changed her into a better person and she began to treat her mother-in-law well.
Mr. Mo’s daughter recalled, “Before my parents took up Falun Gong, our family lived a miserable life. If it were not for Falun Gong, my mother would have died a long time ago and I wouldn’t have had a complete family. This is why I support them in practicing Falun Gong despite the persecution.”
“Only because my father lives by Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and tries to be a good person, he is now sentenced to seven years. He didn’t do anything wrong. His right to practice his faith should have been protected by the law.”
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