(Minghui.org) A resident of Maoming City, Guangdong Province recently lost his appeal against a nine-year prison sentence for raising awareness about the persecution of his faith in Falun Gong, a mind-body practice that has been targeted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

The Maoming City Intermediate Court instructed the Maonan District Court to mail its ruling of Mr. Zhou Huajian’s appeals case to his lawyer. The lawyer received the ruling, dated November 8, on November 11, 2023. It stated that Mr. Zhou’s nine-year prison sentence with a 20,000-yuan fine had been upheld. (In China, the trial court acts as an intermediate agent between the appeals court and the defendant.)

The ruling was signed by presiding judge Zhang Chi, two more judges, Li Jinjie and Liang Dongqing, as well as the judges’ assistant Lin Xiaoqun and court clerk Huang Miao.

Mr. Zhou, a 72-year-old security guard, was arrested on March 26, 2020 for using a mass texting device to send out Falun Gong messages at a local market. The police took him to the Maoming City No. 1 Detention Center, where he still remains at the time of this writing.

After three years and eight months of detention, Mr. Zhou’s health has declined quickly. He suffers from blurred vision, declined hearing, swelling in the face, and constant dizziness. He is slow in responding to others and has difficulty keeping his balance while walking.

The Maonan District Court scheduled a virtual hearing for April 6, 2021, with Mr. Zhou expected to join remotely from the detention center. The presiding judge cancelled the session at the last minute after Mr. Zhou’s two lawyers refused to surrender their personal laptops before entering the courthouse. By law, defense attorneys are allowed to use their personal computers during court hearings.

The second hearing took place as scheduled on January 5, 2022, still with Mr. Zhou appearing virtually from the detention center. While this time the lawyers were allowed to use their personal laptops, one of them was removed from the courtroom when he refused to follow the judge’s order to have court staff cover his laptop mic and webcam with tape. There is no law dictating that defense lawyers must disable their laptop mic and webcam during court hearings.

The third hearing was an in-person session held at the detention center on April 27, 2023. Only two of Mr. Zhou’s family members were allowed to attend, with the remaining seats taken by street committee workers and agents from the local Political and Legal Affairs Committee, an extra-judicial agency tasked with overseeing the persecution of Falun Gong.

The judge held a sentencing hearing on July 10, 2023 and sentenced Mr. Zhou to nine years in prison and a 20,000-yuan fine. He soon appealed with the Maoming City Intermediate Court, which ruled to uphold his original verdict on November 8.

Related Reports:

Guangdong Man Appeals Nine-year Prison Sentence for Mass Texting Falun Gong Messages

72-Year-Old Man Sentenced to Nine Years for Mass Texting Falun Gong Messages

73-year-old Guangdong Man Suffers Frequent Dizziness While Being Detained for His Faith

Court Cancels Hearing After Lawyers Refuse to Surrender Their Own Laptops

Man in His 70s Faces Trial for Sending Text Messages about His Faith

Maoming City, Guangdong Province: At Least 13 Falun Gong Practitioners Incarcerated for Their Faith