(Minghui.org) Two Dongying City, Shandong Province residents were both sentenced to 3.5 years and fined 20,000 yuan in January 2023 for their faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Ms. Guo Hongyan, a 46-year-old employee of Shengli Oilfield, and Ms. Chen Xiaohong, a retired middle school Chinese teacher, were both arrested on April 23, 2021, during a police sweep. The Dongying District Court held a hearing of their case through a video call on January 14, 2023, without telling them that they had the option to request an in-person hearing.

The practitioners’ lawyers entered a not-guilty plea for them. The lawyers argued that no law ever criminalizes Falun Gong in China. The prosecutor alleged in the indictment that the two practitioners undermined law enforcement and caused harm to society, but he failed to provide any evidence. Ms. Chen’s lawyer added that the police violated the law in searching her residence and he demanded an acquittal of his client.

In addition to the two practitioners, at least seven others were arrested on the same day and have been sentenced. The following are their verdicts.

- Ms. Liu Yanmei, 74, was sentenced to 7 years with a 50,000-yuan fine.- Ms. Meng Yu was sentenced to 3.5 years with a 30,000-yuan fine.- Ms. Meng Fanyun and Ms. He Baiqing were both given 2.5 years.- Mr. Li Xuerong was sentenced to 2 years with a 20,000-yuan fine.- Mr. Han Dan, Ms. Meng Fanyun’s husband who doesn’t practice Falun Gong, was sentenced to 20 months with a 10,000-yuan fine.- Ms. Guo Yunfang, Mr. Li’s wife, was given 1.5 years with 2 years probation and a 10,000-yuan fine.

Another practitioner, Mr. Zhou Deyong, father of a U.S. resident, had two hearings, in August 2022 and January 2023. The prosecutor has suggested sentencing him to 8 -12 years.

Since 2015, nearly 40 Falun Gong practitioners in Dongying have been sentenced to prison. In addition to the above-mentioned practitioners, others who have been convicted include: Chen Yin, Shi Qiang, Liu Xuemin, Guo Xiuhua (aka Shi Huanling), Gao Hongwei, Wang Ziming, Shang Zhaoxiang, Zhang Aili, Wang Lianzhong, Xia Deyun, Guo Shusen, Wang Xueyong, Cui Guifen, Wang Xia, Wang Muyi, Geng Shoutian, Pan Yuying, Che Jinghua, Che Jing’e, Yin Aihua, Gao Zhenxiu, Geng Lutang, Zou Peixia, Lyu Qiulan, Wang Xiuying, Zhu Hengde, Fan Zhiyong and his wife Sun Yuxia, Zhu Yongping, and Li Shuxiang.

Most of the practitioners were sentenced to at least three years in prison with 10,000 to 50,000 court fines. Three practitioners, including Mr. Wang Ziming, Mr. Wang Xueyong, and Ms. Liu Yanmei, were given seven years or longer. Ms. Guo Xiuhua, Mr. Shi Qiang, and Mr. Wang Lianzhong died as a result of the persecution.

Ms. Guo Hongyan’s Life Renewed By Falun Gong

Ms. Guo was born with a severe heart condition. The physical suffering from many other ailments she had, including bronchitis and skin disease, further caused her to become withdrawn. She developed severe depression in 1990 when she was in the eighth grade. Due to a worsened heart condition, she had to drop out of school months later.

In 1996, Ms. Guo’s father took up Falun Gong and his high blood pressure, migraine, and rhinitis disappeared within a year. Ms. Guo’s mother followed suit and her heart condition, stomach ulcer and liver swelling were also gone. Amazed by Falun Gong’s health benefits, Ms. Guo took up Falun Gong herself and completely recovered in less than two years. She also became an outgoing and bright person.

In January 2011, she found a job as an electric welder. Her family was very happy for her as she could finally be independent.

On October 13, 2015, an explosion accident happened at work. The windows were shattered. Ms. Guo was covered in dust, but she didn’t have any injuries. Many of her coworkers commented that she was protected, as another worker died a year ago in a similar accident.

Through practicing Falun Gong, Ms. Guo understood that everything has a reason. Whether one suffers or leads a comfortable life is related to one’s karmic retribution of previous lives. She no longer complained but always tried to think from others’ perspectives. She said, “Falun Gong didn’t only lift me out of the physical suffering, but also saved my soul.”

Hoping that more people could also benefit from the practice, she used her spare time to tell people about it, only to be targeted by the communist authorities for her efforts. Prior to her latest arrest and sentencing, she was previously arrested in July 2019 and detained for seven days.

Perpetrators’ information:

Ren Yaohai (任耀海), prosecutorZhang Ting (张婷), presiding judgeDu Chunxiang (杜春香), judgeWang Jinhong (王金红), judge