(Minghui.org) A total of 366 Falun Gong practitioners sentenced for their faith were confirmed in the first half of 2022.
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 newly confirmed cases include one that took place in 2013, two in 2014, one in 2016, one in 2017, one in 2018, one in 2019, 12 in 2020, 145 in 2021, and 202 in 2022. For the 202 prison terms that have been handed down in 2022 so far, 45 were in January, 36 in February, 44 in March, 37 in April, 22 in May, and 17 in June.
The 366 wrongly convicted practitioners hailed from 26 provinces and municipalities. Shandong Province topped the list with 54 sentencing cases, followed by 44 in Liaoning, 30 in Beijing, 30 in Guangdong, and 24 in Hebei. Eight other regions reported double-digit cases and the remaining 13 regions had single-digit cases. The practitioners came from all walks of life, including teachers, doctors, engineers, and accountants. Several former police officers were also targeted for practicing Falun Gong.
A total of 107 (29%) of the sentenced practitioners were 60 and above, including 48 in their 60s, 47 in their 70s, and 12 in their 80s. The oldest practitioner sentenced was 85. While sentencing an 84-year-old woman, the judge made up her birthplace and also changed her age to 75, likely to justify a heavier sentence.
The practitioners’ prison terms ranged from six months to 13 years, with an average of three years and two months. A total of 129 practitioners were fined 13,665,000 yuan, with an average of 10,676 yuan per person. After a court forcibly collected the fine from a practitioner’s three bank accounts, they also blacklisted him on the social credit system, which would bar him from traveling or even renovating his own home.
Prior to their latest prison terms, some practitioners had already spent over 10 years behind bars, including a 78-year-old man who was sentenced to three years after serving 11.5 years, a woman who was sentenced to eight years after spending 15 years in prison, and another man who was given six years after being incarcerated for 10 years.
Many sentenced practitioners are not the only ones in their families that have suffered from the persecution. The above-mentioned practitioner who was sentenced to six years also lost his father to the persecution. Several other practitioners lost their husbands, wives, or parents before being sentenced themselves.
With the draconian lockdown and suppression since the pandemic began, the practitioners who persisted in raising awareness about the human rights atrocities are facing ever more severe retaliation for their courageous efforts. In January 2022, just weeks before the Winter Olympics, 11 Beijing residents were handed down heavy terms for sending photos of the city to overseas media. Other practitioners were sentenced to prison simply for distributing flyers or talking to people about Falun Gong.
According to the 2022 Annual Report released by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) on April 25, 2022, China was designated again as “a country of particular concern (CPC)” for “engaging in systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.” The report also noted that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has not only banned its members from believing in or practicing any faith but also become increasingly hostile toward religions in recent years.
Below are snapshots of selected sentencing cases. The full list of sentenced practitioners can be downloaded here (PDF).
Tianjin Native in Ningxia Sentenced to 13 Years for Practicing Falun Gong
Mr. Chu Jidong, a 47-year-old Tianjin native, was sentenced to 13 years around May 2022 for practicing Falun Gong by a court in Yinchuan City, Ningxia Province.
Mr. Chu, an employee of China Petroleum and Natural Gas Pipeline Administration, has been working in Qingyang City, Gansu Province in recent years. While working a night shift in March 2021, he spotted a thief and was severely injured after the thief hit him on the head with a brick.
Heading back to Tianjin to recover, he was stopped by the airport police in Yinchuan City, Ningxia Province, after they found a Falun Gong electronic book in his cellphone. The airport police found a record of his previous labor camp term for practicing Falun Gong in the police databank and arrested him.
The Yinchuan police refused to release Mr. Chu and also force-fed him when he held a hunger strike in the detention center.
Because his wife doesn’t work and their son is still in elementary school, his lengthy term has left the family in deep despair.
Mr. Yu Baiqing of Jiaozhou City, Shandong Province was arrested on June 2, 2021, in a police sweep. Despite the fact that Huangdao Procuratorate returned his case to the police citing insufficient evidence, the police fabricated evidence against him and pressed the prosecutor to indict him.
Mr. Yu was tried by the Huangdao Court on March 18, 2022, in a video conference. His lawyer entered a not guilty plea for him. The lawyer argued that no law has ever criminalized Falun Gong and that the prosecutor failed to demonstrate how his client’s practice caused harm or damage to others. The judge sentenced him to eight years with a 50,000-yuan fine on April 15.
This is the second time that Mr. Yu has been sentenced. He was previously given three years in 2003. His sentencing devastated his son, who had just been admitted to a college, and the teen developed depression. His wife also had to quit her job due to frequent harassment. While Mr. Yu was serving time, she did odd jobs to support the family.
Having served a ten-year prison term and losing his father to the persecution of Falun Gong, a resident in Jiangyou City, Sichuan Province, was sentenced again to six years.
For upholding his faith in Falun Gong, Mr. Wei Bin was first sentenced to 10 years in Deyang Prison in 2002. He was beaten and forced to stand under the scorching sun for long hours. While he was still serving time, his father, Mr. Wei Chaohai, was arrested in September 2009 and sentenced to seven years, also for practicing Falun Gong. The elder Mr. Wei was also taken to Deyang Prison in 2011 and tortured to death in the prison on January 1, 2013.
The younger Mr. Wei’s latest arrest took place on June 18, 2021. Earlier that day, his mother was arrested. The police snatched her backpack and house keys. One group of officers took her to a detention facility with her eyes covered, while other officers broke into her home with her keys and arrested Mr. Wei. The police ransacked the mother and son’s shared residence, confiscating his Falun Gong books, bank deposit cards, and many other valuables.
While Mr. Wei’s mother was released on bail on July 2, he remained in custody. For two weeks, the police kept him handcuffed and deprived him of sleep. Occasionally, he was allowed to sleep for two or three hours. Most of the time, the police kept interrogating him and pressured him to admit that he made 3,800 automated phone calls to the general public about Falun Gong.
The Jiangyou City Court held a total of four hearings for Mr. Wei. His lawyer attended the first three hearings, but not the fourth, due to the 21-day pandemic quarantine requirement. When the prosecutor presented the prosecution evidence submitted by the police during the hearing, it was two pages of Mr. Wei’s phone call records, not the automated phone calls the police claimed. The judge sentenced him to six years with a 6,000-yuan fine on April 29, 2022.
Mr. Wu Chengjun of Benxi City, Liaoning Province, was taken to Panjin Prison on June 18, 2022, to serve an eight-year term.
Mr. Wu, 57, who used to work at Benxi City Steel Company, was arrested at home on October 15, 2020, by more than 20 officers. The Hengren County Court sentenced him to eight years and fined him 50,000 yuan on December 1, 2021.
Days after Mr. Wu was taken to Panjin Prison in mid-June 2022, a guard surnamed Wang called his family and said they weren’t allowed to meet with or call him. They were prohibited from making cash deposits or sending him clothes. Wang also revealed that Mr. Wu would be transferred to another prison after one month of strict management in Panjin Prison.
Since the onset of the persecution, Mr. Wu has served three labor camp terms for a total of six years for upholding his faith. After he was given a two-year labor camp term in 2004, his wife fell ill after living under pressure and in fear for years. She died of heart failure in 2006. She was 42.
After losing both of her parents to the persecution of Falun Gong, Ms. Sun Yujiao, around 30 years old, was incarcerated around February 2022 to serve a seven-year term for her shared faith.
Ms. Sun of Mengyin County, Shandong Province, was arrested at home on June 10, 2021. Her father, Mr. Sun Pinjin, was arrested at work eight days later and died after a day in custody.
When Mr. Sun’s family saw his body at the Mengyin County Funeral Home, he appeared to be leaking brain fluid, one of his eyeballs was missing, and his abdomen and half of his head were sunken. The police refused to let his family order an autopsy. The authorities forced Mr. Sun’s family to have his body cremated on June 26, leaving the real cause of his death a mystery.
Mr. Sun’s death came only six years after his wife Ms. Yu Zaihua died, also due to the persecution of Falun Gong, on August 19, 2015. She was 47.
Nearly four years after a Hanzhong City, Shaanxi Province, woman was arrested and detained incommunicado for practicing Falun Gong, her family recently learned that she had been secretly sentenced to five years.
Ms. Xiao Yanping was arrested on August 22, 2018, for talking to people about Falun Gong. She was held in the Hantai Detention Center before being secretly sentenced and transferred to the Shaanxi Province Women’s Prison. The guards tortured her and forced her to do unpaid labor. With one year remaining to her term, her son is longing for her safe return.
Ms. Xiao used to work for an instrument factory. Because she held firm to her faith in the face of the persecution, she was arrested six times, resulting in two labor camp terms totaling three and a half years and a prison term of eight years.
During her labor camp term, her husband died in a car accident. Her father’s health declined from worrying about her and he passed away in 2005.
While Ms. Xiao’s son joined the military later on, he was dismissed in 2007, after his supervisor found out that Ms. Xiao practiced Falun Gong. He was so upset that he attempted to commit suicide but was fortunately rescued.
Ms. Zhu Mingrong, 48, was arrested on October 24, 2021, after being reported by a student’s parents for talking to the student about Falun Gong. The Leshan City, Sichuan Province, resident was secretly sentenced to eight years either in April or May 2022. Her family has never received any notice about her case.
Since the persecution began, Ms. Zhu has been repeatedly targeted. She has already been incarcerated for 15 years for practicing Falun Gong. She was first arrested in October 1999 when she went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong. She was detained for 15 days and later sentenced to three years. She was given two more prison terms, both for six years, in 2003 and 2010.
Targeted for Raising Awareness about the Persecution
Eleven Falun Gong practitioners were sentenced by the Dongcheng District Court in Beijing on January 14, 2022, after being arrested for sending photos of the empty city during the pandemic to overseas media. The sentencing came weeks before the 2022 Winter Olympics, which were held in China from February 4 to 20.
- Ms. Xu Na was sentenced to eight years with a 20,000-yuan fine.- Mr. Li Zongze, Mr. Li Lixin, Ms. Zheng Yujie, and Ms. Zheng Yanmei were each sentenced to five years with 10,000-yuan fines.- Ms. Deng Jingjing, Mr. Zhang Renfei, Mr. Liu Qiang, and Ms. Meng Qingxia were each sentenced to four years with 8,000-yuan fines.- Ms. Li Jiaxuan and Ms. Jiao Mengjiao were each sentenced to two years with 4,000-yuan fines.
The 11 practitioners were arrested on July 19, 2020, by over 100 police officers. Officers from the Ministry of State Security saw photos of Beijing published on The Epoch Times website in June 2020. By examining surveillance videos, the officers saw Ms. Xu and other practitioners walking by and thus began to monitor them.
After the practitioners were indicted on April 2, 2021, the presiding judge from the Dongcheng District Court hampered their lawyers from reviewing their case documents. He ruled that only when all the lawyers representing the 11 practitioners came to the court at the same time would he allow them to see the documents. Additionally, the lawyers weren’t allowed to make copies or take photos of the documents nor would the court provide any paper or electronic copies of the files.
The practitioners were tried on October 15, 2021, and sentenced on January 14, 2022.
Prior to her latest sentencing, Ms. Xu was also targeted during the 2008 Beijing Olympics and sentenced to three years in November 2008. Her husband, well-known folk singer Mr. Yu Zhou, died in custody 11 days after their arrests in January 2008. He was 42.
Similar to the 11 Beijing residents mentioned above, another resident of Beijing was also sentenced for sending video clips to The Epoch Times.
Mr. Hao Hucheng, a 36-year-old air-conditioner repairman, was arrested on the evening of April 22, 2021, after the police found him sending a greeting video to The Epoch Times via social media WeChat during the Chinese New Year in February 2021.
The police searched his car and found 1,000 five-yuan paper bills with information about Falun Gong printed on them. Due to strict information censorship in China, Falun Gong practitioners use creative ways such as this to raise awareness about the persecution.
Mr. Hao was tried by the Changping District Court in a local detention center on January 20, 2022. The judge sentenced him to three years and fined him an unknown amount in early April 2022.
Ms. Xue Aimei, a 52-year-old accountant in Shenzhen City, Guangdong Province, was reported by a fellow passenger for giving him a booklet about Falun Gong while riding a bus on June 11, 2020. The police arrested her at home that evening, confiscated her valuables, and forced her to tell them the password to her debit card.
Ms. Xue’s arrest dealt a heavy blow to her bedridden father, in his 80s. He passed away soon after, leaving her mother, also in her 80s, struggling to care for herself.
Ms. Xue stood trial in the Nanshan District Court on December 3, 2020. The judge sentenced her to three and a half years with a 5,000-yuan fine in early 2022.
While Ms. Xue was awaiting the verdict, the Nanshan District Detention Center guards handcuffed and shackled her on March 19, 2021, for no reason. They didn’t remove the cuffs and shackles until four days later when her hands and feet had become swollen and bruised.
Ms. Xue was studying economics for a master’s degree at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in the US when the persecution of Falun Gong started in July 1999. While visiting her family in China in 2000, she was arrested for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong and given two years of forced labor on September 29, 2000.
Only one year after she was released, she was arrested again in 2003 and given another three years of forced labor. She was sentenced to four years by the Futian District Court in March 2009 and endured brutal torture in Guangdong Province Women’s Prison. She spent the best time of her life behind bars and never finished her degree in the US.
Ms. Dai Yuzhen, 72, of Qujing City, Yunnan Province, gave out QR code cards with links to websites about Falun Gong outside of a middle school on February 15, 2022. One student’s parents reported her, which resulted in her arrest the next day.
Officer Gong Yanjiang of the Domestic Security Office, who has participated in the persecution for years, attempted to coerce Ms. Dai into reporting on other practitioners by threatening her with a heavy prison sentence. Officer Wen, the deputy director of the Domestic Security Office, said to her, “There must have been a group of you practitioners. How else could your case get published on the Minghu website? We must sentence you quickly.”
Four months later, in mid-June 2022, the Qujing City Intermediate Court sentenced Ms. Dai to one year.
A Yongtai County, Fujian Province, woman has been taken to the Fujian Province Women’s Prison to serve three years and ten months for speaking up for her faith in Falun Gong.
Ms. Guo Xiuhai, 59, is retired from the Yongtai County Health Bureau. She was reported on February 11, 2020, for talking to two young people about Falun Gong. A dozen police officers broke into her home that evening and confiscated her Falun Gong books, cell phone, computer, two iPads, and a thumb drive. Ms. Guo and her husband were taken to the police station and interrogated. While her husband was soon released, Ms. Guo was detained for 15 days. The police returned her cell phone but kept all other confiscated items.
The police stopped Ms. Guo’s husband in his subdivision on his way to work at around 7 a.m. on July 15, 2020. They forced him to return to his home and open the door for them. They searched his residence again and arrested him and his wife. The police later revealed that they arrested Ms. Guo again when they found links on her iPad to introductory videos about Falun Gong that she had sent to her two friends from her WeChat account.
Ms. Guo’s husband was released a day later but she was held in custody. Because she refused to do roll call or recite the detention rules, the guards forced her to stand for two hours every night. She developed high blood pressure, had tightness in her chest, and was short of breath.
She was indicted by the Changle County Procuratorate on November 20, 2020. The prosecutor charged her with “undermining law enforcement with a cult organization,” a standard pretext used by the Chinese authorities to frame Falun Gong practitioners.
Ms. Guo stood trial in the Changle County Court on April 29, 2021. Her lawyers entered a plea of not guilty for her. They argued that no law criminalizes Falun Gong in China and that the prosecutor didn’t provide any evidence of how law enforcement was allegedly undermined by Ms. Guo. Sending the links wasn’t a crime, the lawyers said.
The lawyers noted that Falun Gong doesn’t have membership lists and isn’t a cult, as CCP propaganda falsely claims. The practitioners’ efforts to spread information about Falun Gong are their personal choices and not organized by anyone.
Ms. Guo also testified in her own defense. She said that everything she has told people about Falun Gong are facts. It’s only because the Chinese Communist Party is doing everything to block and filter information that she has to spread the facts about Falun Gong so that people can think for themselves. She emphasized that China's constitution protects freedom of speech and religious belief and that she didn’t violate any law in her efforts.
Ms. Guo added that, after she took up Falun Gong in 1997, her Hepatitis B disappeared. Her family members also enjoyed health improvement even though they didn’t practice Falun Gong themselves. She demanded her acquittal.
The judge later sentenced Ms. Guo to three years and 10 months. She was taken to Fujian Province Women’s Prison on December 21, 2021, and is now in the third ward. The guards restricted her monthly spending on daily necessities to only 100 yuan (15 USD), in order to pressure her to renounce Falun Gong.
Families Kept in the Dark about Status of Practitioners’ Cases
Mr. Zhang Tangjiang, 66, of Pingdu City, Shandong Province, was arrested on June 4, 2021, for practicing Falun Gong. When his lawyer called the Mencun Detention Center on May 23, 2022, he was told that Mr. Zhang had been sentenced to four years on March 3.
Because the detention center couldn’t find a record of Mr. Zhang appealing the verdict, they didn’t let the lawyer visit him. When Mr. Zhang’s family went to visit him themselves on May 25, the guards turned them away again, citing the pandemic as an excuse.
Mr. Zhang’s family previously called the Huangdao District Court around November 29, 2021, after he was indicted. They were told that the court didn’t have his case in the profile. The family also called the person in charge of his case, but no one answered.
On December 1, Mr. Zhang’s family learned that he had been tried a week before but no verdict had been announced.
They called the presiding judge, Ou Xiaobin, and asked about his case. Ou claimed that Mr. Zhang’s attitude was bad because he refused to plead guilty or cooperate with them. Ou said if he later changed his attitude, she might give him a lighter sentence.
Mr. Zhang’s family argued with Ou, pointing out that no law in China says practicing Falun Gong is a crime or labels it a cult. Ou said, “The government already made the decision [to label it a cult] in 1999.”
Mr. Zhang’s family called Ou again on December 3. A person surnamed Yin, who claimed to be a court clerk, answered the call. The family asked why the court didn’t inform them of the hearing. Yin responded that they didn’t have to because Mr. Zhang was an adult.
Mr. Zhang’s family later found out more details about his hearing: he stood trial on November 25, 2021, in a video conference. The session lasted half an hour. Mr. Zhang refused to accept the court-appointed lawyer and acted as his own lawyer to enter a not guilty plea.
After that, Mr. Zhang’s family kept calling the court about his verdict, but judge Ou never gave them any information.
When Mr. Zhang’s lawyer had a video call with him on January 7, 2022, he urged him to file an appeal within ten days once he received the verdict.
Mr. Zhang’s son called judge Ou again on March 8, 2022. Ou still didn’t tell him anything, even though she had just sentenced Mr. Zhang five days before. She also claimed that she couldn’t confirm that he was Mr. Zhang’s son and ordered him to come to the court in person for the inquiry. However, due to the rise of local COVID-19 cases during that time, travel was restricted within the city, which prevented the family from filing the appeal for Mr. Zhang in time.
When Mr. Zhang’s son called Ou again on March 24, she still refused to provide any information about his case. Only when his lawyer called the detention center on May 23 did the guards tell him that Mr. Zhang had been sentenced to four years on March 3.
Mr. Li Guolin of Laishui County, Hebei Province, was dealt a heavy blow when he received a notice on May 16, 2022, to pay a 10,000-yuan court fine imposed on his wife Ms. Song Shuhua.
The notice from the Zhuozhou Court in Hebei Province stated that his wife’s prison sentence for practicing Falun Gong was now in effect and that he had until May 19 to make the payment or the court would withdraw the funds from their bank account.
Mr. Li said he had never received any update about Ms. Song’s case after she appeared in court on December 13, 2021, for her faith in Falun Gong. He hired a lawyer to represent her in March 2022, and the lawyer was surprised to discover that on February 25, 2022, she had been sentenced to one year and ten months. But the lawyer was never made aware of the sentencing hearing or given a copy of her verdict.
Mr. Li, Ms. Song, and their daughter Ms. Li Shuang all practice Falun Gong. Ms. Li has remained in detention since her arrest in Beijing on August 11, 2019. Her parents were both arrested on June 16, 2021. Mr. Li was later released on bail, but Ms. Song was not and was eventually sentenced to prison.
With both his wife and daughter detained, Mr. Li struggles to cope with the mental stress. The order for him to pay the fine only made things worse.
Mr. Wang Meiqing’s family recently discovered that the local court had withdrawn funds from three of their bank accounts without their knowledge to pay his 6,000-yuan fine for practicing Falun Gong. He was also blacklisted on the social credit system and is no longer allowed to travel or even renovate his own home.
Mr. Wang of Jingzhou City, Hubei Province, was arrested on April 15, 2021, for talking to people about Falun Gong in nearby Dangyang City. He was sentenced to two years and two months with a 6,000-yuan fine in the Dangyang City Court on October 12, 2021. He was transferred to Fanjiatai Prison in mid-May 2022.
Without his family’s knowledge, the Dangyang City Court withdrew 2,321 yuan from one of their bank accounts, took the 157-yuan balance from a second account, and withdrew the entire 2,390-yuan balance from a third account. The court also froze the third account, which Mr. Wang was using to buy daily necessities at the local detention center, without giving any explanation. Now the court is ordering Mr. Wang’s family to pay the remaining 1,132-yuan balance on the fine.
On June 3, Mr. Wang’s family received an express mail letter from the court stating that the court had designated Mr. Wang as an “untrustworthy person” and put him on a blacklist, which means he is no longer allowed to travel, take boats or flights, renovate his home, or have his children study at private schools.
The Persecution of Elderly Practitioners
Shortly after the Chinese New Year in early February 2022, an 80-year-old woman was taken to prison to serve a four-year term for her faith in Falun Gong.
This is the third time that Ms. Wang Jingcui has been sentenced since the Chinese communist regime began to persecute Falun Gong in 1999.
Ms. Wang of Daqing City, Heilongjiang Province, was arrested in November 2019 after being reported for talking to people about Falun Gong at a farmers’ market. The police ransacked her home and released her on bail due to her poor health, after holding her at the police station for five hours. After that, the police often called her son and ordered him to sign a statement renouncing Falun Gong on her behalf.
Even though Ms. Wang suffered from declining health and was unable to walk, the police arrested her again at home on May 8, 2021, and took her to the Daqing City No. 2 Detention Center in a wheelchair. She fell into critical condition there and required emergency treatment. Yet the authorities barred her family from visiting her after taking her back to the local detention center.
The Daqing High-tech Industrial Development Zone Court secretly sentenced Ms. Wang to four years and fined her 10,000 yuan. Only when her family called the court themselves on October 15, did the court inform them of the verdict. The family also discovered that the court withdrew the 10,000 yuan directly from Ms. Wang’s bank account without their knowledge.
Ms. Wang was transferred to Heilongjiang Province Women’s Prison in February 2022. It’s not clear if her family has since been allowed to visit her.
Ms. Wang took up Falun Gong in 1998. Since the persecution began in 1999, she has been arrested and had her home ransacked multiple times. In addition to her latest prison term, she has served one labor camp term and two previous prison terms.
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 made up her birthplace and also changed her age from 84 to 75 on the verdict.
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 police interrogated her for several hours and released her at around 8 p.m. They repeatedly harassed her after that.
Ms. Cai was notified on November 8, 2021, that she had been indicted. She 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.
The judge summoned Ms. Cai on February 9, 2022, to pronounce the year and a half 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.
Plainclothes officers broke into 85-year-old Ms. Qu Yuexian’s home in Kunming City, Yunnan Province, on September 28, 2021. They showed her a photo taken on May 13, 2021, that they had confiscated from another practitioner and asked her to confirm if one of the people in the photo was her.
Ms. Qu did read Falun Gong books with a few other practitioners on May 13, 2021, and they took a photo together. When she didn’t deny the fact that she was in the photo, the police began to search her home without showing their IDs or a search warrant. She questioned the legal basis for the raid. The police held up the photo and said, “This is it.”
Ms. Qu’s Falun Gong books and informational materials were taken away. No list of confiscated items was provided. She was then taken to the Liangyuan Police Station and interrogated until 3 a.m. Due to her advanced age, the police charged her a 1,000-yuan bond and released her on bail.
Another practitioner, Ms. Liu Rongxian, 75, was arrested the next day, because she was also in the same photo. Her Falun Gong books, informational materials, and several thousand yuan in cash were confiscated. She was held at the Kunming City No. 1 Detention Center.
The Xishan District Procuratorate later indicted both women, charging them with having an “illegal gathering.”
When Ms. Qu and Ms. Liu stood trial in the Xishan District Court (date unknown), Ms. Qu testified in her own defense. She said that she used to suffer from many ailments, all of which were cured after she took up Falun Gong in 1997. “I have benefitted so much from practicing Falun Gong, yet Master Li never asked for anything in return from me. When I read Falun Gong books with other practitioners on May 13, 2021, as a way to celebrate Master’s birthday, what was wrong with that? What law did we break?” she asked the judge.
The judge was infuriated and didn’t let her say anything else. He later sentenced Ms. Qu to one and a half years with an 8,000-yuan fine and Ms. Liu to three years with a 10,000-yuan fine.
Arrested on December 10, 2021, for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong, Mr. Hu Deyuan, 78, of Yingtan City, Jiangxi Province, has been sentenced to three years.
Since the Chinese communist regime began to persecute Falun Gong, Mr. Hu, a former security guard with the Yingtan Railroad Bureau, has been sentenced twice for upholding his faith.
Mr. Hu was previously arrested on June 28, 2008. He appeared in the Yuehu District Court on November 11 and wasn’t allowed to read his prepared defense statement. Prosecutor Fu Yan introduced as evidence a letter Mr. Hu wrote to the police while he was detained, urging them not to persecute Falun Gong. The judge sentenced him to eight years.
Mr. Hu was arrested again on March 9, 2017. The police accused him of putting up posters about Falun Gong.
Mr. Hu was tried in the Yuehu District Court on June 7. The court didn’t inform his family of the trial until early in the morning that day. The judge told his family that he intended to sentence him to a prison term of anywhere from three and a half to seven years with a 10,000-yuan fine. If they paid the fine in time, he would pass the lower sentence.
Eager for their loved one to be released sooner, Mr. Hu’s family paid the fine, but the judge refused to give them a receipt. Mr. Hu was ultimately sentenced to three and a half years and his pension was suspended.
A former real estate executive was taken to the Yunnan Province No.2 Women’s Prison to serve a three-year sentence for her faith in Falun Gong. This was the second time that Ms. Xiang Dong had been sentenced in six years.
Officers broke into Ms. Xiang’s home in Kunming (the capital of Yunnan Province) on March 1, 2021, after she was reported for practicing Falun Gong.
The police first confiscated her Falun Gong books and other personal belongings. Then they waited outside and arrested her when she returned at around 8 p.m. She was later indicted by the Xishan District Procuratorate and sentenced by the Xishan District Court.
Ms. Xiang, in her 40s, was introduced to Falun Gong in 2011. Practicing Falun Gong improved her health and also made her caring and considerate when she had been demanding before. Her tense family relationship became very harmonious as well.
Having benefitted so much from practicing Falun Gong, Ms. Xiang began to speak up for it in her spare time.
She was reported for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong on January 24, 2016, and arrested. The police confiscated Ms. Xiang’s computer, printer, copy paper, and Falun Gong materials. When her husband insisted that Ms. Xiang didn’t do anything wrong, the police said that the 278 copies and four DVDs found in their home were enough to build a case against her.
The Xishan District Court heard Ms. Xiang’s case on September 13, 2016. Her lawyer entered a not guilty plea for her. He argued that the evidence presented by the prosecutor only demonstrated that his client was a Falun Gong practitioner and failed to support the charges against her. He said that his client’s faith was protected by the Constitution and that it was her basic right. He added that it was illegal for the police to break into his client’s home and arbitrarily search it, that it was the police who violated the law.
The judge still sentenced Ms. Xiang to one year.
Ms. Liu Yan, a former English professor in Yunnan Province and also mother of a Toronto resident, was sentenced in April 2022 to three and a half years for practicing Falun Gong.
Ms. Liu was an associate professor and former director of the Foreign Language Department of Yunnan University of Arts and Sciences. While taking a taxi on September 29, 2021, the driver, surnamed Luo, made unwanted advances toward her. Ms. Liu firmly rejected him and told Luo that she practiced Falun Gong and lived by its principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. In retaliation, Luo reported Ms. Liu to the police.
A dozen officers, including Ding Jianfeng and Guo Hongwei of the Wuhua District Domestic Security Office, arrested Ms. Liu the next day, while she was working at the environmental protection art museum that she and her husband operated. She was held in the Kunming City Detention Center and denied visits from her lawyer and family.
The Wuhua District Court sentenced Ms. Liu to three and a half years in prison and fined her 5,000 yuan in April 2022 following a hearing on February 25. She was charged with “undermining law enforcement with a cult organization,” the standard pretext used to criminalize Falun Gong practitioners. She is in the process of appealing the verdict.
Ms. Liu’s daughter, Ms. Liu Mingyuan, who is pursuing a computer animation degree at Sheridan College in Toronto, has held press conferences since last October and written letters to government officials, calling for the immediate release of her mother.
When Ms. Liang Yaomin appeared in court for the third time on January 20, 2022, for her faith in Falun Gong, she and her lawyers refuted the evidence that had been fabricated by the police. They said that none of the evidence could prove she violated any law by practicing Falun Gong and demanded her acquittal. Despite the lack of evidence, the judge sentenced her to three and a half years in prison in April 2022.
Ms. Liang, a former police supervisor in Haiyang City, Shandong Province, was arrested at her clothing store on January 9, 2021. The 62-year-old suffered severe heart problems and her legs shook uncontrollably while she was in the Yantai City Detention Center.
Despite her condition, the police refused to release her on bail and attempted to use the bail release to deceive her into writing statements renouncing Falun Gong or plead guilty for practicing Falun Gong. The prosecutor also attempted to deceive her into signing documents acknowledging the fabricated evidence in exchange for her bail release. She refused to comply.
Ms. Liang experienced severe chest pain when she was tried by the Haiyang City Court in virtual hearings on December 16 and December 30, 2021. The judge adjourned both sessions and rescheduled the hearing to January 20, 2022.
Ms. Liang previously worked as a trace inspection engineer for the Haiyang City Police Department as a third-class police supervisor. She was one of the few female investigative officers in the province. She has superb skills and cracked many major and important cases.
Due to long-term stress at work, Ms. Liang suffered from many ailments, including heart disease, atrophic gastritis, gallbladder edema, pancreatitis, neuropathic pain, arthritis, and cervical spine hyperplasia.
A friend introduced her to Falun Gong on January 20, 1996, after learning about Falun Gong’s tremendous health benefits. After two weeks of studying the Falun Gong spiritual teachings and doing its exercises, Ms. Liang improved. She completely recovered one month later.
Since the CCP launched the persecution in July 1999, Ms. Liang has been arrested, detained in a brainwashing center, admitted to a psychiatric hospital and forced labor camp, and sentenced to prison for refusing to renounce Falun Gong. She was also fired by the police department. She opened a clothing store to make a living, only to be arrested again and face another prison sentence.
Targeted in a police sweep, a retired military doctor in Changsha City, Hunan Province, was sentenced to a three-year prison term for practicing Falun Gong. Her pension was also suspended.
Ms. Zhu Cuihua, who previously worked at the Hunan Armed Police Corps Hospital, was arrested on October 28, 2020, and her home was ransacked. She has since been held in the Changsha City No. 4 Detention Center.
Ms. Zhu was one of more than 20 Falun Gong practitioners in Changsha arrested on October 27 and 28. The police attempted to get information about them through their families during the home raids. While most of their families said they didn’t know anything, the police included that in their testimonies and later forbade them from attending the practitioners’ hearings, with the excuse that their families were prosecution witnesses.
Seven of the arrested practitioners have now been convicted. Ms. Zhang Lingge was sentenced to four years on May 8, 2021; Mr. Meng Kai, a lawyer, to three years and six months on September 17, 2021; Ms. Wen Jing to three years and three months on December 6, 2021; Ms. Xu Lihua to three years and six months on December 7, 2021; Mr. Li Zhigang to five years and three months on December 21, 2021; and both Mr. Cao Zhifang and his wife Ms. Yang Fang to three years and four months on December 24, 2021. Another couple, Mr. Chen Yang and Ms. Cao Zhimin, who stood trial on December 21, 2021, are still awaiting verdicts.
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