(Minghui.org) Ms. Liao An’an, 87, in Baiyin City, Gansu Province, was sentenced to three years and nine months on September 5, 2023 for her faith in Falun Gong.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a mind-body practice based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. It has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party since July 1999.

This is not the first time that Ms. Liao An’an has been targeted for her faith. She was sentenced to five years following her arrest on August 18, 2008 and given another five years following her arrest on September 19, 2014. Due to health reasons, she was allowed to serve the last three years of her second prison term outside of prison.

The Baiyin District Court, however, added the three years from Ms. Liao’s second prison term to her latest one, ordering her to serve a total of six years and nine months. She filed an appeal against the wrongful conviction.

Latest Arrest

Ms. Liao was arrested at Mr. Wang Ligui’s home at around 4 p.m. on January 14, 2022. Also arrested were Mr. Wang and his seven other guests, all of them Falun Gong practitioners, including Mr. Yang Yuenan, Ms. Liu Yulan, Ms. Liu Fengying, Ms. Zhu Ju, Mr. Gu Fuman, Ms. Li Qiaolian, and a ninth practitioner whose name is unknown.

The eight arresting officers from the Baiyin District Police Department body searched each of the practitioners and confiscated the items they carried on their persons. The police also handcuffed four of them during the process.

Mr. Wang’s home was raided and videotaped. He was not given a list of confiscated items.

After about two hours, the police took all nine practitioners to the Baiyin District Police Department for interrogation.

A few hours after she was arrested Ms. Liao had a medical emergency and was later put under house arrest (details to be presented in the next section).

Mr. Yang, Ms. Liu Yulan, Ms. Liu Fengying, Ms. Zhu, and the practitioner whose name is unknown were all released on bail at different points following the group arrest.

Mr. Wang, Mr. Gu, and Ms. Li are still held at the Baiyin City Detention Center at the time of this report.

Medical Emergency During Interrogation

While being interrogated at around 11 p.m. on the night of her arrest, Ms. Liao suddenly had a medical episode. She had trouble breathing, felt nauseous, and sweated profusely, before she lost consciousness. The police called in their in-house doctor. He put Ms. Liao on oxygen and began to examine her. He then yelled, “Pulse 42, systolic blood pressure 57, diastolic blood pressure undetectable, and she’s in critical condition. Hurry! Get her to the hospital!” Only then did the police call an ambulance. They also notified her son to pick her up at the hospital.

Ms. Liao was taken to the emergency room of the Baiyin City First People’s Hospital. The police left as soon as her son arrived.

After more than two hours of rescue, Ms. Liao’s condition finally stabilized. The ER doctors recommended inpatient care, but her son couldn’t afford to cover her medical expenses and ended up taking her home [in China, patients are usually required to pre-pay their medical expenses before receiving care]. Ms. Liao’s pension and medical insurance have been canceled for nearly nine years (since her arrest in 2014 for her faith), and her family struggled just to make a living, much less pay medical bills.

About four days later, four officers from the Baiyin District Police Department came to Ms. Liao’s home to return her purse which was confiscated at Mr. Wang’s home. They, however, kept all the contents inside the purse, including her Falun Gong books and informational materials, as well as nearly 300 yuan in banknotes printed with Falun Gong messages (a way practitioners tell people about the persecution).

The police also interrogated Ms. Liao, who was still bedridden. They ordered her to sign some paperwork but she firmly refused. She kept saying, “I didn’t break any law.” The police insisted that she sign the paperwork but she refused. After about 30 minutes of standoff, the police refused to leave without her signature and her son began to persuade her to sign.

Ms. Liao told the police, “If you write four sentences there, I’ll sign.” She continued, “Falun Dafa is good! Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good! Falun Gong is not a cult! I didn’t break any law!”

The police wrote down the four sentences on the paperwork and Ms. Liao carefully examined them before signing her name.

Before they left the police told her son, “We can’t take your mom into custody due to her health so we decided to put her on house arrest.”

About two weeks later, the Baiyin District Procuratorate notified Ms. Liao’s son that she had been issued a formal arrest warrant and that he could hire a lawyer to represent her.

Deposed and Tried at Home

In late April 2022, two people from the procuratorate came to Ms. Liao’s home to depose her. She refused to answer any questions and they said, “You’ve been charged with using a cult to undermine law enforcement [a standard pretext used to frame and imprison Falun Gong practitioners]. Don’t you want to admit your guilt?” She said no. They then asked her to sign her deposition. She refused to comply and they warned her before leaving, “You’re in big trouble!”

One month later, the procuratorate delivered her indictment and recommendation of prison sentence to her home.

A worker from the Baiyin District Court came to Ms. Liao’s home on March 29, 2023 and said she was set to face trial the next day. Because she was still unable to walk, the court decided to do a virtual hearing.

Two court staff members came to Ms. Liao’s home the next day and set up a computer for her to attend the virtual hearing. She saw Mr. Wang, Mr. Gu, Mr. Li, and two other practitioners (who were not arrested with them) appear in person in court. The presiding judge didn’t allow them to testify in their own defense and instead tried to coerce them into admitting guilt during the six-hour-long hearing. Ms. Liao, Mr. Gu, and Ms. Li all insisted they were innocent and demanded an acquittal.

Ordered to Re-serve the Last Three Years of Her 2nd Prison Term

Two court clerks delivered Ms. Liao’s verdict to her home on September 5, 2023. Her son was infuriated when her heard that the court ordered her to re-serve the last three years of her second prison term, on top of the new prison sentence of three years and nine months. The clerks said the court at one point ordered Ms. Liao to report to prison back in 2016 but she never did. Her son argued that no one ever notified them, and that his mother already served those three years outside of prison under close surveillance by the street committee as dictated by the court.

Ms. Liao refused to sign her verdict, and the clerks retaliated by not allowing her to to read the entirety of the verdict. They just quickly showed her the part that stated her prison term.

Ms. Liao filed an appeal. As she is still in poor health, it is unclear when the court may take her into custody to serve her third prison term.

Related Reports:

Former Gansu Police Director Persecuted for His Faith

Three Senior Citizens Stand Up to Police Pressure to Renounce Falun Gong

Four Baiyin Falun Gong Practitioners Still Detained a Month after Illegal Arrests

Falun Gong Practitioners Persecuted in Baiyin City, Gansu Province