(Minghui.org) A native of Ning’an City, Heilongjiang Province recently lost her appeal against a five-year prison sentence for her faith in Falun Gong, a mind-body practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party since July 1999.

Ms. Sun Xia, around 60, was arrested at her daughter’s home in Harbin (the capital city of Heilongjiang) on January 28, 2023, after being reported for distributing Falun Gong informational materials in a residential area. The arresting officers from the Hanan Police Station raided Ms. Sun’s daughter’s home and took her to the Harbin City Detention Center. 

The Daoli District Procuratorate indicted Ms. Sun in early May 2023 and submitted her case to the Daoli District Court one month later. The Harbin City Judicial Bureau offered her free legal counsel service but she declined because she knew that the lawyer would be instructed to enter a guilty plea for her. She attended a virtual hearing held by the Daoli District Court on June 14 and was sentenced to five years with a 50,000-yuan fine at an unknown date.

It was recently learned that the Harbin City Intermediate Court had denied Ms. Sun’s appeal. It is unclear where she is being held.

This is not the first time that Ms. Sun has been targeted for her faith, which she credits for restoring her health and saving her marriage. Prior to this latest round of persecution, she served 5.5 years at the Heilongjiang Province Women’s Prison and suffered brutal torture there.

Past Persecution

Ms. Sun had multiple diseases since she was young, including rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, stomach disease, and chronic headaches. Her income was only enough to cover her basic daily expenses, and she couldn’t afford to see a doctor. She always looked sad and listless. 

All her symptoms disappeared after Ms. Sun took up Falun Gong. Her strained relationship with her husband, who often beat her, also improved. She no longer thought about divorcing him and was able to see his good traits. She also took good care of his mother when the elderly woman was ill. He was moved by her compassion and became a loving husband. 

Having had positive experiences with Falun Gong, Ms. Sun never wavered in her faith after the persecution began in 1999. She was arrested by police officer Xu Huibin on June 1, 2000, for reading Zhuan Falun, the main teaching of Falun Gong, at home. She was taken directly to the Ning’an Detention Center. When she was about to be released on June 21 that year, the police extorted 5,000 yuan from her.

Ms. Sun and three other practitioners were arrested on April 22, 2008, while distributing Falun Gong informational materials. She was sentenced to 5.5 years by the Ning’an City Court around August 2008. While serving time at Heilongjiang Province Women’s Prison (in Harbin), she was subjected to various forms of torture. She was once tied to a bed and tortured for 48 hours without being allowed to sleep. She went on a hunger strike in protest and was force-fed. The guards also forced her to do unpaid labor. Her health was damaged as a result of the abuse.

Three years after she was released, Ms. Sun was arrested again on March 26, 2016, for talking to people about Falun Gong. 

Related reports:

Heilongjiang Woman Attends Virtual Court Hearing for Her Faith in Falun Gong

Heilongjiang Woman Imprisoned 5.5 Years for Upholding Her Faith in Falun Gong