(Minghui.org) A total of 633 cases of Falun Gong practitioners being sentenced for their faith were recorded in 2022. The newly confirmed cases included 21 (4%) that took place between 2013 and 2020, 166 (26%) cases in 2021 and 446 (70%) cases in 2022.
Due to strict information censorship in China, such cases can’t always be reported in a timely manner, nor is all the information readily available.
The 633 sentenced practitioners are from 28 provinces and regions. Shandong reported the highest number, at 107, followed by Liaoning (83) and Guangdong (59). Fourteen regions had cases numbering in the two-digits and the remaining eleven regions had cases in the single digits.
Among the 43 practitioners in Beijing, 11 of them were handed heavy terms weeks before the Winter Olympics in 2022 for sending photos of the city to overseas media. One of the practitioner, Ms. Xu Na, a well-known artist in Beijing whose husband Mr. Yu Zhou was tortured to death days after his arrest before the Beijing Olympics in 2008, was given eight years.
There were also cases of practitioners from several different regions sentenced by the courts in Henan Province after they were arrested by the Internet police in Henan for posting information about Falun Gong on social media.
The practitioners’ prison terms ranged from six months to fifteen years, with an average of three years and two months. In particular, a disabled woman was given 15 years despite her physical condition. A man in Shandong was given 11 years and fined 100,000 yuan. The owner of a private school in Guangdong was sentenced to 7 years and fined 500,000 yuan. Another 251 practitioners were fined a total of 2,749,500 yuan.
Among the 320 sentenced practitioners whose ages are known, ages range from 26 to 86 at the time of sentencing, including 25 practitioners in their 80s. When sentencing an 84-year-old woman to 1.5 years in prison, the judge in charge of her case changed her age to 75 [to justify the conviction] and claimed that “75 was 80.”
Another court increased a practitioner’s term from 3.5 to 6 years after first allowing him to serve time at home due to his health condition. A Shandong resident was given 3.5 years after a 20-minute virtual trial by phone in a brainwashing center.
The sentencings have claimed the lives of three practitioners. An 83-year-old man died due to mental distress after he was sentenced to one year. Two women, aged 47 and 51, also passed away after developing serious medical conditions in custody. Another woman deteriorated into a vegetative state a few months after she was transferred to a prison to serve a five-year term. Many other practitioners were sentenced despite being in precarious physical condition due to prior abuse in custody.
Some of the sentenced practitioners have already served over ten years in prison prior to their latest sentencing. A 38-year-old man in Guangdong was expelled from school at age 16, given one year of forced labor at 17, and served four years in prison in his early 20s, before being sentenced to another four years in July 2022.
Many sentenced practitioners are not the only ones in their families that have suffered from persecution. Some practitioners have lost their children, spouses or parents before being sentenced themselves. Their imprisonment has also left some of their loved ones without care or financial support.
Below are further details of the sentencing cases for 2022. The full list of sentenced practitioners can be downloaded here.
Deaths After Sentencing
Ms. Liu Hongxia, a 47-year-old Falun Gong practitioner, was denied medical parole despite her critical condition, and died on November 8, 2022.
Ms. Liu, of Dalian City, Liaoning Province, was arrested on October 28, 2021, for putting up posters about Falun Gong. She started a hunger strike on February 14, 2022, to protest the persecution.
When her lawyer went to visit her on February 28, 2022, he was told that she had been moved to Xinhua Hospital, which is associated with the Dalian City Detention Center and local prisons. In the hospital, Ms. Liu was tied to a bed, force-fed, and injected with unknown drugs. She was denied all visits, including by her lawyer and family.
Judge Guo Danhua of the Ganjingzi District Court tried Ms. Liu virtually and sentenced her to four years on July 13, six days after she was taken back to the detention center. No one in her family was allowed to attend the hearing. Her lawyer’s request to postpone the proceedings was also denied. Ms. Liu was so weak and emaciated that she couldn’t even sit up and remained slumped in her chair during the entire proceedings.
When her lawyer was finally given a pass to visit her after the trial, she couldn’t remember her hospital stay but she did know that she was force-fed and given injections. Her lawyer appealed the case for her, but the higher court ruled in October to uphold the original verdict.
Ms. Liu was admitted to Xinhua Hospital again in late August and was moved to an intensive care unit in late October. The doctors issued a critical condition notice for her. Her family applied for medical parole for Ms. Liu on October 25, but the court and the detention center denied it.
Ms. Liu was extremely weak when her family was allowed to visit her on October 29. She began to bleed from her mouth and nose on November 4. Thinking that she would die in a few days, the doctor asked her family to bring her child to see her for the last time. The visit was monitored by a police officer. Ms. Liu passed away on the morning of November 8.
Six months after Ms. Qing Liju was sentenced to five years for her faith in Falun Gong, the once healthy 51-year-old Pengzhou City, Sichuan Province resident died.
Ms. Qing was arrested on March 9, 2021, while distributing Falun Gong informational materials. The arrest came only two years after Ms. Qing was released from serving ten years for her faith. The police body searched her and used a knife to cut her shoes, the buttons on her clothes, waistbands, and zippers.
Ms. Qing was taken to the Xinjin Brainwashing Center the next day, with her head covered with a black hood. She was later taken to the Chengdu City Detention Center and tortured there.
Since Ms. Qing’s arrest, the authorities prohibited her family from visiting her. They were only allowed to deliver clothes to her twice. Later, the detention center also forbade them from delivering any clothes, citing the pandemic as an excuse.
The Pengzhou Court sentenced Ms. Qing to five years at the Qionglai Prison on June 21, 2022.
On October 1, Ms. Qing’s family received a call from the prison, telling them that she was in serious condition. The family went to the prison that same day and were allowed to have a video chat with her. But when they applied for medical parole for her, the prison refused their application.
Two weeks later on October 14, the prison called them and said that Ms. Qing had been hospitalized. The family went to the prison hospital on October 16 and had another video chat with her. By then, she had become extremely weak and her legs had become severely swollen. The family demanded medical parole for her again, yet the prison still refused.
The family had another video chat with Ms. Qing weeks later and her condition was even worse. When the family made one more request to see her in mid-November, the prison refused again, citing the pandemic lockdown as an excuse.
The last call the family received from the prison was on December 11 and they were told that Ms. Qing was undergoing emergency treatment in the hospital. When they rushed to the hospital, Ms. Qing had already passed away. The doctor told them that when Ms. Qing was transferred from the Zhengcheng Hospital in the morning, she had already stopped breathing.
Prior to her latest sentencing, Ms. Qing was previously arrested on October 23, 2009. She was sentenced to ten years by the Guanghan City Court on October 13, 2010 and taken to the Sichuan Province Women’s Prison in December 2010.
The prison guards once deprived her of sleep for six days because she refused to renounce Falun Gong. As soon as she closed her eyes, they beat and kicked her. The guards also forced her to wear a straitjacket and hung her from a window frame by her wrists.
83-year-old Man Dies After Being Sentenced to One Year
Mr. Liu Xihua, of Jingmen City, Hubei Province, was arrested in early 2021 for talking to people about Falun Gong. His health kept deteriorating after he was released on bail.
The Dongbao District Court held a hearing of Mr. Liu’s case in late 2021. He was sentenced to one year and fined 6,000 yuan on April 7, 2022. He appealed with the Jingmen City Intermediate Court, but the judge ruled to uphold his original verdict. Due to his physical condition, he was allowed to serve time at home.
The persecution caused Mr. Liu to live under tremendous fear and distress. He suffered systemic edema and high blood pressure. He was often dizzy and unable to take care of himself. He passed away at home on October 8, 2022.
A severely disabled woman in Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province, was convicted in late September 2022 and ordered to serve 15 years in prison for practicing Falun Gong.
The 15-year sentence against Ms. Niu Xiaona, 47, included a 14-year term previously given in 2004. She was allowed to serve the prior 14-year sentence outside of prison due to her physical disability. Following her latest conviction, the court claimed that Ms. Niu failed to provide official documentation proving she had served the 14-year sentence outside of prison and thus ordered the combined term of 15 years. Ms. Niu was also fined 1,000 yuan.
Ms. Niu developed progressive rheumatoid arthritis, the same disease that killed her grandfather, while she was a college student in the 1990s. Tormented by the disease, she became emaciated and lost almost all her hair. Her knees became extremely swollen and were bent at nearly 90 degrees. Her arms were also swollen and crossed in front of her chest. Her finger joints were deformed from the swelling as well. Confined to bed, she experienced constant excruciating pain all over her body.
After she began to practice Falun Gong, Ms. Niu’s pain disappeared and the swelling subsided. But as her joint periosteum, the membrane that covers the outer surface of bones and provides attachment for muscles and tendons, had already deteriorated, her legs were severely deformed and she could no longer fully stand up on her feet. She remains wheelchair-bound.
Her condition worsened following her latest arrest on April 19, 2021. She couldn’t move her right ankle. Unable to walk, she had to scoot on her buttocks. In only a few days, the skin on her buttocks was abraded away.
Unable to move up the stairs leading to the restroom, Ms. Niu had to ask for help from inmates to carry her there. Also, because she couldn’t squat due to her rigid knees, she often soiled her pants when urinating. She later bought a commode for defecating. She ate very little to avoid using it. During the three months she was detained, she only defecated four times, each time required hours to accomplish.
When Ms. Niu’s family visited her in early June, she told them that she had chest tightness and extreme pain all over her body, including in her head and eyes. Her hands were also deformed and she was emaciated.
Meanwhile, Ms. Niu’s mother, Ms. Tuo Wenxia, 72, who was arrested with her in 2021 but was released on bail, has been diagnosed with late-stage endometrial cancer. She is so weak now that she doesn’t have the strength to walk.
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 database 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 distress.
Shortly after Mr. Wu Chengshou returned home from a decade of displacement to avoid being persecuted for practicing Falun Gong, the Weifang City, Shandong Province resident was arrested and secretly sentenced to eleven years with a 100,000-yuan fine.
Mr. Wu, 57, was arrested at work on April 20, 2021. His wife, Ms. Wang Xian, was handcuffed and held aside while the police ransacked their home. The couple’s Falun Gong books, photo of Falun Gong’s founder, 10,700 yuan in cash, a computer, a broken paper cutter and their son’s old computer were all confiscated. Ms. Wang was interrogated in the basement of the local police station and forced to pay a 11,000-yuan bail bond before she was released.
In order to gather information about the couple, the police forced their son, Mr. Wu Binjie, who doesn’t practice Falun Gong and works in Inner Mongolia about 600 miles away, to come back to Weifang for interrogation. When the younger Mr. Wu reported to the police station on June 9, the police also accused him of being a “suspect.”
The elder Mr. Wu has been denied family visits since his arrest. His family later heard from an insider that he was experiencing some medical condition in custody. Worried about his health, his family hired a lawyer to visit him. The detention center initially approved the lawyer’s visit, but soon revoked it, with the excuse that his prosecution process has finished (since he was already sentenced to prison and his appeal was rejected).
Mr. Wu’s family later confirmed from a person familiar with his case that he was sentenced to 11 years and fined 100,000 yuan.
Having served eight years for practicing Falun Gong, a Shanghai resident was sentenced to 9.5 years with a 40,000-yuan fine by a court in Henan Province, about 600 miles from Shanghai, for spreading information on social media about the persecution of Falun Gong.
Ms. Dai Zhiying, 66, was arrested at home in Shanghai on April 12, 2021, by seven police officers from the local Ganquan Police Station. Her laptop and cellphone were confiscated without a search warrant. That evening, the Shanghai police handed her over to the police from Luoyang City, Henan Province. She has been held in Luoyang since.
Ms. Dai’s most recent sentencing dealt a heavy blow to her 88-year-old mother, who also practices Falun Gong. The elderly woman now struggles to live on her own and take care of herself.
Shortly after Ms. Dai’s sentencing, the same court in Luoyang handed down a 9-year sentence to Ms. Zhang Xia, of Wuhan City, Hubei Province, also for raising awareness about the persecution of Falun Gong online.
Ms. Zhang, 53, a former police officer herself, was arrested at home on February 28, 2021, by officers from Luoyang, about 350 miles from Wuhan. In order to frame Ms. Zhang, the Luoyang police returned to Wuhan and attempted to force her parents to record a video to persuade Ms. Zhang to plead guilty.
Ms. Zhang stood trial at the Jianxi District Court on June 21, 2022, and was sentenced to 9 years and fined 30,000 yuan on the charge of “promoting a cult with a communications network.”
Since 2019, the police in Henan have gone across the country and arrested multiple practitioners for spreading information online about the persecution of Falun Gong. In addition to Ms. Zhang and Ms. Dai, three more practitioners, Ms. Fu Nijuan of Zhijiang City, Hubei Province, Mr. Li Fuchun of Beijing, and Mr. Wu Jiajian of Laixi City, Shandong Province, have also been arrested by the Luoyang police between October and November 2020. They are now awaiting trial by the Jianxi District Court, after being indicted by prosecutor Wu Jiangyang of the Jianxi District Procuratorate on April 25, 2021.
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 Falun Gong’s 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.
Mr. Xu Yongqing, a 58-year-old electrical engineer in Shanghai, was arrested in October 2021 at the local train station, when he was traveling from his hometown in Longquan City, Zhejiang Province back to his residence in Shanghai.
Mr. Xu was tried on July 11, 2022, by the Liandu District Court. His lawyer entered a not guilty plea for him. The prosecutor accused him of being a “repeat offender,” as he had been sentenced to two years in 2018 for practicing Falun Gong. Judge Ye Lu sentenced Mr. Xu to four years with a 10,000-yuan fine on November 2, 2022.
Prior to his latest ordeal, Mr. Xu was arrested on August 22, 2016 for demanding that authorities remove a propaganda bulletin board smearing Falun Gong near a subway station. Resisting his persistent effort to seek justice, the authorities retaliated by arresting him again on November 29, 2017. He was sentenced to a two-year prison term months later.
Mr. Xu lost his job and struggled with poor health due to being tortured in prison, after he was released on November 28, 2019. He was forced to move four times, as the police kept pressuring his landlords to terminate his rental leases.
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 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. Peng Shuming, a 51-year-old doctor of Chinese medicine in Gaotang County, Shandong Province, was arrested at his clinic on April 12, 2021, by Gaotang County police officers and their counterparts who traveled over 1,000 miles from Taonan City, Jilin Province. Mr. Peng was taken to Taonan that day and held in the Taonan City Detention Center.
The authorities later revealed that the internet police in Taonan saw information about Falun Gong posted by Mr. Peng on Chinese social media platform WeChat. To benefit from the persecution, they decided to arrest Mr. Peng.
Mr. Peng’s lawyer argued that the case didn’t fall under the jurisdiction of the Taonan police, and requested that it be returned to Mr. Peng’s residence in Gaotang County. The Taonan police rejected the request and also refused to let Mr. Peng attend the funeral of his mother, who was so traumatized by his arrest that she passed away soon after.
Meanwhile, the guards in the Taonan Detention Center beat Mr. Peng for refusing to recite the prison rules. His left eye swelled up, his nose bled, and his ribs hurt for over three weeks. When his lawyer challenged the guards for beating him, they replied, “Hasn’t he recovered already?”
After the prosecutor indicted Mr. Peng and moved his case to the court, the judge ordered his lawyer to obtain permission from the justice bureaus both where he lived and in Taonan before he was allowed to represent Mr. Peng in court. When the justice bureau in Taonan refused to provide the required paperwork for the lawyer, he was forced to drop the case.
Although the court told Mr. Peng’s son that he could hire a local lawyer for him, the family later learned that the justice bureau in Jilin had an internal policy prohibiting all local lawyers from taking on Falun Gong cases. Even if they did, they would be required to obtain many documents to just visit the practitioners. Representing Falun Gong practitioners in court has been made almost impossible. Due to all the hurdles, almost no lawyers in Jilin are willing to accept Falun Gong cases.
Mr. Peng began to learn Chinese medicine in his early 20s. He opened his clinic around the same time he started to practice Falun Gong in 1996. He always tried his best to help his patients and lessen their financial burden. He only charged 15 yuan for medicine that other clinics sold for 50 yuan. Many of his patients spoke highly of him and recommended him to their relatives and friends.
Three Huizhou City, Guangdong Province residents were sentenced on October 27, 2022, for practicing Falun Gong. Mr. Zhao Tianhua was sentenced to seven years in prison and fined 500,000 yuan. Mr. Chen Hualiang and Mr. Lian Yueguang were each given four years with a 20,000-yuan fine.
The three practitioners were arrested at Mr. Zhao’s home-based private school on May 11, 2021 after the police broke in through his neighbor’s place. The police initially charged them with engaging in “illegal business.” As they couldn’t find enough evidence to support the charge, they changed it to “undermining law enforcement with a cult organization,” the standard pretext used to criminalize Falun Gong practitioners. The Falun Gong books confiscated from the practitioners were then used as prosecution evidence against them.
During several months of detention, Mr. Zhao developed a severe heart condition and was hospitalized. His family applied three times to have him released on bail for medical treatment, but their requests were repeatedly denied by the police, even after the detention center guards also suggested not keeping him in custody any longer.
The three practitioners appeared in the Boluo County Court on October 28, 2021, and their lawyers entered not guilty pleas for them. Judge Hu Jinhui didn’t allow the lawyers to elaborate on the fact that no law has ever criminalized Falun Gong or labeled it as a cult in China.
Mr. Zhao, 51, has a bachelor’s degree in computer and information management. He worked as an accountant in a bank in Nanhai City, Guangdong Province after graduating from college. Because of his Falun Gong practice, he was given three years at the Sanshui Forced Labor Camp on February 13, 2002. Due to continued police harassment, Mr. Zhao was forced to live away from home after being released. In July 2017, he started a private school named “Intelligent Spring Private School,” teaching classes in Chinese, math, English, and traditional Chinese culture.
Mr. Chen, 65, is a native of Guiyang City, Guizhou Province. He previously taught at the Guizhou Business School. For upholding Falun Gong, he was sentenced to a three-year prison term in October 2004 and fired from his job.
Mr. Lian, 56, was an elementary school teacher. He was sentenced to five years in Yangjiang Prison on July 20, 2007 and also fired from his job. The police continued to monitor him on a daily basis and constantly harassed him after he was released.
Persecution of the Elderly
Since June 2021, staff members from the Jiangyang District Court in Luzhou City, Sichuan Province repeatedly came to Ms. Zhao Zhaoquan’s home and took her away for various physical examinations.
When they took the 83-year-old retired elementary school teacher for the final examination on the morning of November 10, they told her that if all results looked good, they wouldn’t take her to do more physicals in the future. They also bought breakfast for Ms. Zhao as she hadn’t had anything to eat that morning.
After two hospitals both confirmed that Ms. Zhao was perfectly healthy, however, she was not allowed to return home, but was instead taken to the local detention center where she was handed a two-year prison sentence.
Ms. Zhao’s family learned from an insider that she is experiencing a medical condition while in custody. But a person familiar with her case told the family that because she is a political prisoner for her faith in Falun Gong, there is no way for them to get her out. Another official directly told the family that they could just wait to pick up Ms. Zhao’s ashes.
Ms. Zhou Shuzhen, an 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. 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.
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.
Mr. Wang Zhigeng, an 82-year-old retired teacher in Weifang City, Shandong Province, was arrested at home on August 15, 2022. After the police took him to the Beihailu Police Station, a court employee handed him a copy of his indictment and his residential surveillance notice. The police then told his son to take him home.
On the morning of August 26 (Friday), nine people, including the police, the prosecutor, and the judge, went to Mr. Wang’s home to hold a trial. He was sentenced to three years and fined 5,000 yuan. After handing down the sentence, the police took Mr. Wang to the hospital for a checkup. By the time they took him to the Weifang City Detention Center, it was already late at night. The guards refused to accept him and told the police to return Monday morning.
Mr. Wang’s ordeal dates back to his earlier arrest on October 23, 2019, as the police claimed that they had caught him putting up posters about Falun Gong two weeks before. His son received a call from the court on July 9, 2020, and was told that his father was scheduled to appear in court a month later. It’s not clear if the hearing ever took place before he was sentenced two years later.
Ms. Zhang Xiaona’s family confirmed on October 9, 2022, that the Huludao City, Liaoning Province, resident has been admitted to Liaoning Province Women’s Prison to serve a four-year term.
Ms. Zhang, 48, was arrested on December 3, 2021, and later released on house arrest. She was sentenced to four years with a 10,000-yuan fine on May 30, 2022, and was taken back into custody at the Huludao City Detention Center on July 10.
Ms. Zhang’s imprisonment left her husband, Mr. Chen Jie, and their two children in a dire situation. After being shocked by a power line due to an accident at work in 2020, Mr. Chen had his lower left leg amputated. He cannot hold things with his right hand. He later became blind too. With the family already in huge debt for his medical expenses, he also struggles to pay for the two children’s college and high school tuition, as Chinese students don’t have access to student loans.
Mr. Chen filed complaints against the perpetrators involved in Ms. Zhang’s case, but to no avail. He is now desperate about how to go about his daily life since Ms. Zhang has been incarcerated.
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 confirmed in late October that both of them have been imprisoned, but 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 has 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.
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 their 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 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.
Three members of an extended family in Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province, were sentenced to prison on August 9, 2022. Mr. Zeng Xingyang, 49, was sentenced to five years with a 10,000-yuan fine. His wife, Ms. Deng Fang, 45, was given three and a half years and fined 6,000 yuan. His younger sister, Ms. Zeng Yueling, 43, was sentenced to three years and fined 6,000 yuan.
The couple’s sentencing has devastated their family. Their younger son is only five, a kindergartner, and their older son is going to college this year. When the couple was arrested in April 2021, their older son was still in high school and preparing for the college entrance exam. He managed to overcome the stress of his parents’ arrest, do well on the exam, and get admitted to his dream college.
The boys have been cared for by their paternal grandparents, in their 70s, since their parents' arrest. The elderly couple doesn’t get a pension and are having tremendous difficulties supporting themselves and their grandsons. With the fall semester fast approaching, they are also struggling to find the money to pay for their older grandson’s college tuition, as most Chinese college students don’t have access to student loans.
Meanwhile, the elderly couple’s daughter, Ms. Zeng, was widowed a few years ago when her son was only nine. Her parents-in-law don’t have any income and they are also facing a dire situation caring for her son.
Sentenced Despite Medical Condition
A woman widowed by the persecution of Falun Gong was sentenced in September 2022 to eight years in prison for her faith. Even though Ms. Zhang Xiulan was emaciated and very weak, the detention center guards still beat her and ordered her to renounce her faith. Her family is demanding that the authorities release her on medical parole.
Ms. Zhang of Jiaozhou City, Shandong Province, took up Falun Gong with her husband Mr. Liu Fuxi in 1996. Mr. Liu’s migraines, stomach problems, and addiction to nicotine and alcohol subsequently disappeared. Ms. Zhang credits Falun Gong for curing her arthritis and gynecological disease.
When the Chinese Communist Party started the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999, the couple was forced to live away from home for five years to hide from the police.
Mr. Liu later became incapacitated and bedridden. He was terrified when the police broke in at 1 a.m. on August 28, 2016, after Ms. Zhang was reported for distributing information about Falun Gong. The police turned their home upside down and confiscated a large number of personal belongings. The mental stress took a toll on Mr. Liu’s health and he passed away less than three weeks later. He was 59 years old.
As soon as she finished arranging her husband’s funeral, Ms. Zhang was forced into displacement again to avoid further persecution. Every time she heard a police siren, she was paralyzed with fear. Her own health began to decline. She lost a significant amount of weight and became hunchbacked.
Unable to live on her own any longer, she moved in with her daughter. Before she could recover, the police deceived her daughter into opening the door on December 16, 2021, by pretending to be property management personnel. Four officers barged in and took Ms. Zhang away. Her mother, who was staying with them, was petrified and passed away the next day.
Ms. Zhang was tried in the Huangdao District Court on August 23, 2022, and sentenced to eight years in prison. Her family wasn’t allowed to attend the trial.
According to an insider, Ms. Zhang is merely skin and bones and extremely weak. Despite her condition, the guards still beat her and verbally abuse her to try to force her to renounce Falun Gong.
Ms. Huang Jingru, a Changchun City, Jilin Province, resident in her 70s, was sentenced in June 2022, to three and a half years for practicing Falun Gong. The emaciated woman is struggling with poor health, especially after she accidentally lost her dentures last year.
Ms. Huang was arrested in 2021 for appealing the suspension of her pension during an earlier detention and urging the officers to stop participating in the persecution. In July 2021 and February 2022, she held two hunger strikes, for three weeks each time. The guards ordered the detainees to force-feed her every day but not give her any water.
Due to the hunger strikes, Ms. Huang remained very weak. Her weight dropped from 50 kg (110 lbs) to 30 kg (66 lbs). She couldn’t keep her balance while walking. Her hands kept shaking and her mouth trembled. It made things worse when she accidentally threw away her dentures in October 2021.
The Chaoyang District Court handed down a 3.5-year sentence against Ms. Huang in June 2022. In the same month, she was transferred from the detention center to the Weizigou Detention Center and held in the ward for elderly and sick detainees.
Ms. Huang used to work at a gold mining company. She suffered from a congenital heart disease, vascular stenosis, and lumbar muscle strain. When she was only in her 40s, she often fainted and struggled to climb the stairs to her home on the fifth floor. Shortly after she took up Falun Gong in 1997, she was delighted to see her diseases go away and she was full of energy.
A healthy woman in her 70s developed severe symptoms after three months of incarceration. Despite her condition, the authorities still sentenced Ms. Nie Junhua to five years and transferred her to a local prison, where she deteriorated into a vegetative state within one year and was released on medical parole.
Ms. Nie of Zhengzhou City, Henan Province, was arrested on June 27, 2021. She was taken to the Zhengzhou City No. 3 Detention Center after two days of interrogation. She was subjected to intensive torture for upholding her faith, and her health quickly declined.
On September 26, 2021, two days after she fainted in her cell, the detention center informed her family that she had developed high blood pressure, diabetes, and uterine fibroids, as well as suffering a stroke. Her family questioned the guards as to what they had done to her over the past three months that resulted in her condition, as she was perfectly healthy and full of energy when she was arrested.
The Zhongyuan District Court secretly sentenced Ms. Nie to five years with a 20,000-yuan fine in December 2021, even though she had become incapacitated and couldn’t care for herself.
The police took Ms. Nie to the hospital for an operation in January 2022 but didn’t inform her family until February 14. When her family rushed to the hospital, they were devastated to see a dying woman in front of them, who had lost half of her weight (from nearly 160 lbs to only 80 lbs) within the six months following her arrest.
Shortly after, the judge ordered the police to take Ms. Nie to the Xinxiang Women’s Prison to serve time.
In just a few months, Ms. Nie’s health continued to deteriorate until she was in a vegetative state. The prison didn’t release her on medical parole until November 2022. Her family has sought treatment for her at two hospitals, but she hasn’t had any improvement. Her husband is caring for her now.
Prior to her latest ordeal, Ms. Nie was sentenced to two years in 2008 for practicing Falun Gong and released on December 10, 2009.
Violation of Legal Procedure
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.”
A Hengshui City, Hebei Province, resident was sentenced to three and a half years in mid-April 2022 for talking to people about Falun Gong. While he was allowed to serve time at home due to his poor health, the court nevertheless tried him months later and increased his term to six years.
Mr. Zhao Changyu, 64, was arrested a few years ago after being reported for talking to people about Falun Gong. Although the police released him on bail a few days later, they came back several times to harass him. The mental trauma took a toll on his health and he lost the ability to walk. The police even harassed him when he was in the hospital.
The Jizhou District Court held a virtual trial of Mr. Zhao in mid-April 2022 and sentenced him to three and a half years. Because he couldn’t walk, the judge allowed him to serve time at home.
Two months later, however, the judge went to Mr. Zhao’s home, tried him again, and re-sentenced him to six years.
Mr. Zhao was arrested and taken into custody after being deceived into believing that the police were taking him to the hospital for a COVID-19 test.
Just as Ms. Xu Li was about to finish serving four years for her faith in Falun Gong, the authorities arbitrarily added another year to her term.
Ms. Xu, a bus driver in Dalian City, Liaoning Province, was reported by a village secretary in October 2018 for removing a public banner smearing Falun Gong. The police found her car’s license plate through surveillance cameras and located her address. She was seized at home on the evening of October 28 and taken to the Yaojia Detention Center. The Gaoxinyuan District Court sentenced her to a four-year prison term in late June 2019.
Ms. Xu was taken to the Liaoning Province Women’s Prison on October 22, 2019. Because she refused to renounce Falun Gong throughout her imprisonment, the Dalian Political and Legal Affairs Committee and the 610 Office, two agencies tasked with orchestrating the persecution, ordered the local court to add a one-year sentence to her term. She is now scheduled to be released on October 27, 2023.
Ms. Xu was previously arrested on July 22, 2013, after being reported for giving out DVDs with information about Falun Gong. She was sentenced to four years by the Ganjingzi District Court on December 28 that year. While being held in the Liaoning Women’s Prison, she was tied up, shocked with electric batons, beaten, forced to stand for a long time, and deprived of sleep.
The guards stripped off her clothes one day in November 2014, tied her to a chair, and taped her mouth. While one officer shocked her with an electric baton on sensitive areas, another one slapped her on the face, and a third wrote defaming words against Falun Gong on her face, body, socks, and shoes.
Three weeks into Mr. Zhu Tianfu’s detention at a brainwashing center for refusing to give up his faith in Falun Gong, a local court held a virtual hearing of his case over the phone. Within 20 minutes, he was sentenced to 3.5 years and fined 5,000 yuan. Due to a local outbreak of COVID cases, he was released the same day, pending developments in the medical situation.
Mr. Zhu, 69, of Weifang City, Shandong Province, was arrested at his sister’s home on December 6, 2022, and taken to the Fangzi District Brainwashing Center.
Officer Liu Guangyong went to Mr. Zhu’s room in the brainwashing center on the evening of December 8. He verbally abused him, his parents, and Falun Gong’s founder, while keeping him restrained in a metal chair. Liu also threatened to shoot Mr. Zhu to death if he dared to leave the brainwashing center.
The police submitted Mr. Zhu’s case to the Fangzi District Procuratorate on December 9. On December 23, Jiang Xiaohui, the head of the brainwashing center, suddenly told Mr. Zhu that he was scheduled to stand trial that day. Jiang opened a virtual meeting on his phone and connected Mr. Zhu to the Fangzi District Court. A judge announced that Mr. Zhu was sentenced to 3.5 years after a 20-minute trial. Jiang deceived Mr. Zhu into signing the verdict and didn't give him a hard copy. He was allowed to go home shortly after.
Mr. Zhu used to suffer from severe rheumatism and back pain. When he was just in his 40s, he was no longer able to do intense physical labor. He tried herbal remedies, acupuncture, and several different qigong schools, but to no avail. One month after he learned Falun Gong in 1995, he recovered. He also changed his bad temper and became a kinder person. Impressed by this, his wife, Ms. Zhang Ximei, also took up the practice and regained her health.
Because Mr. Zhu refused to renounce Falun Gong, he was arrested in 2002 and sentenced to five years. While his wife was forced to live away from home to hide from the police, their two teenage children were left unattended. Their son left home and went to work at the age of 18. Their 15-year-old daughter moved frequently for several years.
Shortly after Mr. Zhu was released in 2007, his wife was arrested and sent to Wangcun Forced Labor Camp. When she was released a year and a half later, she was in a delirious state as a result of the relentless torture she experienced.
A former middle school teacher in Dongying City, Shandong Province, was sentenced to prison in June 2022 for practicing Falun Gong, despite her husband’s efforts to rescue her.
Ms. Meng Yu, a teacher at Shengli No. 1 Middle School, was arrested at work on April 23, 2021. When the police ransacked her home, they also confiscated her husband’s work computer, cellphone, and portable drive, even though he doesn’t practice Falun Gong. The couple’s son, who had just returned from college abroad, was still asleep when the police arrived. He was terrified when the police pulled off his comforter. He suffered digestive problems afterward and vomited after eating.
Mr. Zhou Gong, Ms. Meng’s husband and a senior design engineer, was working from home that morning. He was taken to the police station and interrogated from 2:20 to 8:30 p.m. No officer presented any legal document to him for the raid or interrogation. No confiscation list was given to him either. Under tremendous pressure, Mr. Zhou said he couldn’t remember how he answered their questions. He was forced to sign his name on their deposition.
After he was released, Mr. Zhou returned to the police station several times to ask about his wife and get a copy of her detention certificate, but to no avail. Most of the time, the police either refused to answer his call or stopped him at the entrance to the station. The same thing happened when he reached out to the procuratorate.
Without any evidence to show how Ms. Meng violated the law by practicing Falun Gong, prosecutor Ren Yaohai approved her arrest and indicted her on charges of “undermining law enforcement with a cult organization.” The deposition that Mr. Zhou was forced to sign after six hours of interrogation was also included in the prosecution evidence against Ms. Meng.
The Dongying District Court tried Ms. Meng twice, first on March 10 and then in May 2022. Her lawyer entered a not-guilty plea for her, but the presiding judge, Yan Xiaohui, stopped Ms. Meng when she was about to read her own defense statement.
Mr. Zhou was barred from attending the sessions, because the judge claimed that he was a witness since the prosecutor used his deposition.
Other evidence included by prosecutor Ren were Falun Gong informational materials and memory cards confiscated from their home. None of the materials were exhibited in court. Merely based on the number of copies of materials, the judge sentenced Ms. Meng to three and a half years with a 30,000-yuan fine on June 23.
Mr. Zhou is very worried about his wife’s situation, having heard she was beaten twice by inmates at Binhai Detention Center. Two pairs of her glasses were broken. She was also forced to wear handcuffs and shackles every day for a month.
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.
Two Decades of Persecution
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.
A former teacher in Chifeng City, Inner Mongolia, was arrested on July 13, 2022, after being reported for talking to people about Falun Gong. Ms. Wang Xiufang’s daughter was shocked to learn that she has been sentenced to four years when she went to the Pingzhuang Detention Center in early November 2022 to make a cash deposit for her. The authorities, including the police, the procuratorate, and the court, never informed their family of her trial and sentencing. Ms. Wang is appealing the verdict.
Prior to her latest sentencing, Ms. Wang, a 56-year-old former employee of Yuanbaoshan Power Plant, has been arrested many more times, sentenced twice to seven years, and given three terms of forced labor totaling six years for refusing to give up her faith. One of her prison terms was extended by five months. During her incarceration, she was whipped, tied to a metal chair, hung up, forced to stand under the hot sun, shocked with electric batons, and deprived of sleep.
Once, in an attempt to force her to renounce her faith, Ms. Wang’s husband struck her in the back with a knife. Then he tried to choke her. Terrified, their two daughters ran to their paternal grandfather’s home. Hearing what had happened, the grandfather rushed over. Seeing that Ms. Wang was bleeding from her mouth and nose, he kicked open the window and climbed in to stop his son.
Due to Ms. Wang’s repeated arrests and lengthy incarceration, her husband divorced her, leaving her to care for their two young daughters all by herself. Her older daughter dropped out of school at age 12 and went to work to help support the family.
Sentenced 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.
A little over a year after a Tianjin resident was released from serving 2.5 years for hanging up a banner about Falun Gong, she was arrested again for writing a letter and has now been sentenced to 3.5 years.
Since the Chinese communist regime began to persecute Falun Gong, Ms. Zhao Shuxia, 58, has served two labor camp terms and a prison term for her faith.
Following an arrest in 2016 for hanging up a banner about Falun Gong, her elderly father’s health deteriorated due to his constant worries about her. He suffered from severe diabetes and became blind. He passed away on September 10, 2016. A year later, Ms. Zhao was sentenced to 2.5 years.
After Ms. Zhao was released, she did odd jobs to support herself and her elderly mother. She later found a job as a house aide to an elderly woman, after getting to know her daughter in prison, a petitioner sentenced for protesting to the authorities for illegally seizing her property.
When the authorities harassed the petitioner after she was released, they found that Ms. Zhao was working at her home and ordered her to fire Ms. Zhao. Not wanting to put any pressure on the family, Ms. Zhao quit the job.
Not long after, Ms. Zhao heard that the petitioner appealed and was arrested again. She wrote a letter to the police, urging them to release the petitioner, only to be arrested herself on February 3, 2021. After appearing in the Nankai District Court twice, first in July and then in September 2021, she was sentenced to 3.5 years and taken to the Tianjin Women’s Prison in mid-May 2022.
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