(Minghui.org) The lawyer representing Mr. Du Zhentian, a Zhaoyuan City, Shandong Province resident, was recently informed that he had been sentenced to four years with a 15,000-yuan fine for practicing Falun Gong. As the Weifang Prison refused to take Mr. Du due to local outbreaks of COVID-19 cases, he remains at the Longkou City Detention Center at the time of writing.

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

Mr. Du, 35, was arrested on September 8, 2021. The police handcuffed him, covered his head with a black hood, and kept him in the hallway, while they ransacked his home when no one was present. Many of his personal belongings were confiscated, including nearly 10,000 yuan in cash. His private car was also impounded.

While Mr. Du’s two sisters and parents were also arrested on the same day, they were released shortly after.

The police revealed that they followed Mr. Du for over six months before arresting him. He was taken to the Xinyang Hotel in the nearby Longkou City on the next day and held there for 42 days. His family frequented the police station and Domestic Security Office to inquire about his case, but was told that it was confidential. They then hired a lawyer to visit him, only to be told that the lawyer would be rejected visitation as well.

During the time when Mr. Du was held in the hotel, his parents aged quickly. They were worried about his depression, which was cured by practicing Falun Gong, would relapse.

Before taking up Falun Gong, Mr. Du suffered from severe depression after witnessing multiple arrests of his mother Ms. Wang Baolian for her shared faith in Falun Gong. He became withdrawn and had difficulty communicating with others. He dropped out of school and went to several hospitals in town to seek treatment, but none could offer him much help. Encouraged by his mother, Mr. Du began to practice Falun Gong and gradually recovered.

After one and a half months of incommunicado detention of Mr. Du, his family received a notice that his arrest had been approved on October 20. They were also told that he had been transferred to the Zhangjiagou Detention Center in Longkou, where another 20 practitioners are also held.

The Longkou City Court scheduled a hearing of Mr. Du’s case on December 17, 2021, but abruptly canceled it when his lawyer went to the court on December 14 to review his case document. The court scheduled another hearing for February 18. It’s not clear whether the hearing ever took place before Mr. Du was sentenced.