(Minghui.org) A 52-year-old woman in Dandong City, Liaoning Province, recently lost her appeal against a 1.5-year prison term for her faith in Falun Gong, a mind-body practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party since July 1999.

Ms. Liu Pintong

Ms. Liu Pintong was arrested on February, 3, 2023, three years after she finished serving an eight-year prison term for practicing Falun Gong. She was living with her aunt in Fushun City in the same province at the time of her arrest. The Shuncheng District Court in Fushun City sentenced her to one and a half years around September 2023. She filed an appeal with the Fushun City Intermediate Court, which held a hearing on October 31, 2023.

Judge Cao Yang presided over the appeals hearing, with judges Zhang Lijuan and Qiu Zhongcui assisting him. After the hearing began, Cao read out aloud the trial court’s verdict and then asked prosecutor Zhang Yu if he had anything to say. Zhang said no and Cao then asked if Ms. Liu had any statement to make. Ms. Liu said Falun Gong only teaches people to be good, but was immediately cut off by Cao.

Cao next called on prosecutor Zhang to read aloud the indictment against Ms. Liu. After Zhang was done, Cao gave Ms. Liu a chance to respond. As soon as she said Falun Gong teaches people to follow the principles of the Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, Cao stopped her and reprimanded her for saying things unrelated to her case. She protested, “I was sentenced exactly for practicing Falun Gong...” Cao interrupted her and turned to her lawyer to ask if he had anything to add.

The lawyer again refuted the prosecution evidence as he did when he was also representing Ms. Liu in her trial. Prosecutor Zhang did not respond, and judge Cao ended the appeals hearing.

Cao ruled around mid-November (exact date unknown) to uphold the guilty verdict against Ms. Liu.

Son Calls for Mother’s Release

Upon learning of her arrest, Ms. Liu’s son, Mr. Hu Xuanming, who is currently studying for a graduate degree in the U.K., wrote to Boris Johnson, his Member of Parliament (MP) and former U.K. Primer Minister, seeking his help in rescuing Ms. Liu.

Johnson on March 27, 2023, forwarded Mr. Hu’s concern to The Rt Hon Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, Minister of State in the British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. Trevelyan replied to Johnson on May 2, saying that the U.K. government will “monitor this issue closely and will continue to impress upon China the need to immediately end serious violations of human rights.”

Ms. Liu was given 15 days of administrative detention at the Fushun City Detention Center (also known as the Nangou Detention Center) following her arrest. On February 8, the police forced her family to take them to her aunt’s home for a raid.

Ms. Liu’s family called Jiao Chen, the deputy head of Shuncheng District Domestic Security Office in Fushun City, on February 14 to inquire about her case. Jiao claimed that due to Ms. Liu’s earlier arrest in May 2022 for distributing Falun Gong materials and talking to people about Falun Gong, they were planning to sentence her to three to five years in prison.

The Shuncheng District Court held a hearing of her case at the detention center on July 7. Her family learned about her prison sentence in mid-September. It is unclear when she will be transferred to prison now that her appeal has been rejected.

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