(Minghui.org) A couple in their 80s in Shifang City, Sichuan Province, were given a probation sentence for practicing Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Mr. Gong Xueliang, 85, and his wife, Ms. Wang Zhongqiong, 82, appeared in the Shifang City Court on July 8, 2022. The trial lasted two hours and their lawyers entered not guilty pleas for them. Judge Li Kaixian sentenced Ms. Wang to one and a half years of probation with an 8,000-yuan fine. The judge initially gave Mr. Gong a one-year probation with a 4,000-yuan fine, but later increased the fine to 5,000 yuan. Both husband and wife were allowed to go home after receiving the verdicts.

Mr. Gong, a retired employee of the Shifang City Environmental Protection Bureau, and Ms. Wang, a retired hospital employee, were arrested twice, in October and November 2021, and had their home ransacked. 

They filed complaints against the officers who participated in their arrests and home raids, including Wang Xiaobin, Li Baiyang, Yang Qing, Long Lin, and Liu Enyu. While the Shifang City Procuratorate refused to accept their complaints, the procuratorate worked with the police in indicting the couple in the first week of December and moved their case to the Shifang City Court on December 28. 

The couple were charged with “undermining law enforcement with a cult organization,” the standard pretext used to criminalize Falun Gong practitioners. The prosecution evidence used against them was a Falun Gong amulet confiscated from their home.

In addition to the elderly couple’s own ordeal, their daughter, Ms. Gong Xingcan, an economist, has been repeatedly arrested and detained, also for practicing Falun Gong. She was given two forced labor camp terms and held in a brainwashing center three times. Her legs became disabled as a result of torture. It has been seven years since she was forced to live away from home to hide from the police, after escaping from custody following an arrest in June 2015.

Related report:

Sichuan Couple in Their 80s Arrested a Second Time Within a Month