(Minghui.org) Mr. Qi Yingjun, 63, from Jinan City, Shandong Province, lost his appeal against a four-year prison sentence on November 9, 2023.

Mr. Qi Yingjun was arrested on June 19, 2023, for practicing Falun Gong, a mind-body practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party since July 1999. He developed some severe illness symptoms and was soon released on house arrest. On June 25, the police submitted his case to the Laiwu District Procuratorate, which forwarded it to the Laiwu District Court four days later.

Mr. Qi stood trial on August 14. During the court hearing, he rejected the court-appointed lawyer, as the lawyer was instructed to enter a guilty plea for him. He refuted the prosecutor’s allegation that he used a “cult organization” to undermine law enforcement, a standard pretext used to frame and imprison Falun Gong practitioners. He emphasized that no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong or labels it as a “cult.” He challenged the prosecutor to present in court the so-called prosecution evidence to be examined, but the judge turned down his request.

Because Mr. Qi defended himself, the prosecutor yelled, “Qi Yingjun is promoting Falun Gong!” The judge then confiscated Mr. Qi’s written defense statement before asking, “Do you have anything else to say?” Mr. Qi responded that he still had a lot to say about his being wrongfully charged for exercising his constitutional right to freedom of belief. The judge told Mr. Qi to write down whatever else he intended to say and then hand deliver or mail the statement to him.

The judge sentenced Ms. Qi to four years with a 10,000-yuan fine on September 25. His appeal was rejected by the Jinan City Intermediate Court on November 9.

It is unclear whether Mr. Qi has been taken back into custody to serve time.

Prior to his latest persecution, Mr. Qi and his wife were repeatedly targeted for upholding their faith during the past 24 years. Mr. Qi was given three years of forced labor in 2000 and brutally tortured in detention. His daughter was given three years of forced labor in 2005 after being interviewed by human rights lawyer Mr. Gao Zhisheng. She was only 19 at the time. Her mother was sentenced to two and a half years in prison following her arrest in 2019.

For details of Mr. Qi’s latest arrest and sentencing, as well as his family’s past persecution, refer to the following related reports.

Related reports:

Mr. Qi Yingjun Barred From Testifying in His Own Defense During Court Hearing

Four Shandong Residents Sentenced for Their Faith

Jinan City, Shandong Province: Eight Falun Gong Practitioners Arrested, Three Remain in Custody