(Minghui.org) It was learned in mid-January 2024 that a Qingcheng County, Gansu Province, resident had been admitted to prison after losing an appeal against a six-year term for his faith in Falun Gong, a mind-body practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party since July 1999. 

The prison sentencing of Mr. Yao Lishu, 44, stemmed from his arrest around late 2021. He was targeted after another local Falun Gong practitioner, Ms. Zhang Ping, a 61-year-old former postal worker, was arrested on November 22, 2021, for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong in nearby Zhenyuan County. The police arrested Mr. Yao after discovering that he had supplied the materials to Ms. Zhang. His exact arrest date remains unknown.

Mr. Yao and Ms. Zhang appeared at on online hearing held by the Zhenyuan County Court in May 2023. They were both sentenced to six years that month. Mr. Yao’s appeal was rejected at an unknown date and he was transferred to a prison after that. It is unclear which prison he is being held. 

Past Persecution

This is not the first time that Mr. Yao has been targeted for his faith. He became a middle school teacher after graduating college. He was arrested in his school dorm on July 11, 2008, by more than a dozen officers from Qingyang City Police Department, Qingyang City Domestic Security Office, and Qingcheng County Police Department. They confiscated his Falun Gong books, MP3 player, laptop, and two copies of Minghui Weekly. He was then taken to the Huan County Detention Center, where he was brutally beaten. 

Huan County, Qingcheng County, and Zhenyuan County are all under the administration of Qingyang City.

Mr. Yao was indicted by Qingcheng County Procuratorate and tried by Qingcheng County Court at the end of March 2009. The prosecution evidence included the articles he posted online exposing the persecution of Falun Gong. He was later sentenced to four years and transferred to Tianshui Prison on April 9, 2009.

During the first few months of his prison admission, Ms. Yao was held at the Newcomers’ Team. He was forced to watch TV programs slandering Falun Gong, recite prison rules, participate in physical exercises, or do unpaid labor. The guards also ordered him to write “thought report” every month. An inmate was assigned to monitor his every move. He was not allowed to do Falun Gong exercises or talk to other jailed practitioners.

Liu Jiangtao, the deputy head of the “Anti-cult Division” in the prison, personally “worked” on Mr. Yao in an attempt to make him renounce Falun Gong. Liu forced him to sit on a small bench from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. every day for three consecutive days, during which time the guards also shocked him with electric batons, beat him, and verbally abused him.

Mr. Yao was moved to Team One of Division One a few months later. He was forced to do unpaid labor in the workshop. The work he did included pushing carts filled with heavy loads of metal, transporting charcoal, smashing stones, inspecting the quality of clothes produced by other inmates, and cleaning the prison.

After Mr. Yao was released, he learned that his school had suspended his pay beginning January 2010. They refused to reinstate his job and referred him to the human resources department of the local education bureau. The latter said those who served prison sentences could not have their jobs reinstated. 

Mr. Yao was making 2,000 yuan per month before his arrest in 2008. The financial loss from his job termination is at least 322,000 yuan without factoring in annual pay raises (2,000 yuan per month for 161 months from January 2010 to May 2023).

Related Reports:

Having Served Four Years and Lost His Job, Gansu Man Gets Another Six Years for His Faith

Gansu Woman Secretly Sentenced to Six Years for Distributing Information about Her Faith

Over Thirty Practitioners Held in Tianshui Prison, Gansu Province