(Minghui.org) When a county court in Sichuan Province sentenced a Falun Gong practitioner in February 2022 to a year and a half in prison for refusing to give up her faith, the presiding judge changed her age from 84 to 75 on the verdict.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
The sentencing of Ms. Cai Zefang from Yingshan County, Sichuan Province, stemmed from her arrest on January 29, 2021, for talking to people about Falun Gong.
The Yingshan County Police Department officers who had been monitoring her took her home and confiscated her Falun Gong books, 2,000 yuan in monetary bills with information about Falun Gong printed on them, and other Falun Gong materials. Due to strict information censorship in China, many practitioners use creative ways to raise awareness about the persecution, including printing information on paper currency.
They interrogated Ms. Cai at the police station for several hours and released her at around 8 p.m. They submitted her case to the procuratorate and continued to harass her. In March 2021, her nephew was ordered to sign her bail release document on her behalf at the procuratorate.
Four Yingshan County Police Department officers descended at Ms. Cai’s home at 8 p.m. on October 29, 2021. They ordered her to sign a case document, but she refused to comply. They stayed for an hour, threatening to harass her every day.
Ms. Cai was notified by the procuratorate on November 8, 2021, that she had been indicted. Presiding judge Yi Binhua upheld her bail release condition and ordered her family to sign the relevant document on her behalf the next day.
Ms. Cai appeared in court on January 3, 2022, charged with “undermining law enforcement using a cult organization,” the standard pretext used to criminalize Falun Gong. The persecution she suffered before was listed as evidence for the prosecution. Ms. Cai argued that no law in China has ever deemed practicing Falun Gong a crime. The judge did not respond.
The judge summoned Ms. Cai on February 9, 2022, to pronounce the 1.5-year prison sentence. She was also fined 3,000 yuan. When Ms. Cai asked the judge why her age was changed from 84 to 75, the judge responded that 75 was 80.
Ms. Cai was taken to the Nanchong City Detention Center that evening. When the guards refused to admit her, the police took her home around 3 a.m.
Three officers showed up at Ms. Cai’s home on April 24. They held her arms, dragged her to the police car, and drove her to the Suian Police Station. They searched her and confiscated 200 yuan in cash with information about Falun Gong printed on the bills, and a Falun Gong amulet. Ms. Cai started a hunger strike to protest the persecution and was released at around 8 p.m. The police ordered her to report to their station whenever she was summoned.
The court ordered two Suian Police Station officers to arrest Ms. Cai again on May 16. They took her to the hospital for a physical exam and then to a detention facility without a sign on the door in the Yilong Courthouse at 6 p.m. When the guards refused to take her, the police spent an hour trying to persuade them otherwise, but to no avail. They had to take Ms. Cai home at midnight.