(Minghui.org) A 72-year-old resident of Qinhuangdao City, Hebei Province, was sentenced to three and a half years on March 1, 2024, for her faith in Falun Gong, a mind-body practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party since July 1999.

Ms. Ma Yanhua is currently serving time at the Hebei Province Women’s Prison located in the capital city of Shijiazhuang. 

An insider revealed that the Dongjie Police Station in Ms. Ma’s home district of Shanhaiguan had been working hand in glove with the Funing District Procuratorate and the Funing District Court in the past few years to get her jailed for her faith. The insider, however, had no knowledge of when she was arrested, indicted, or sentenced. It is only known that the Funing District Court heard her case and convicted her.

This is not the first time that Ms. Ma has been targeted for practicing Falun Gong, which she credits for curing her decades-long rheumatism and severe stomach problems. While she was still living in Fuxin City, Liaoning Province, she was repeatedly arrested for her faith and served more than three years in a labor camp.

Days after the persecution of Falun Gong began on July 20, 1999, Ms. Ma went to Beijing to appeal and was arrested upon returning to Liaoning Province. The Heping Police Station in Fuxin City held her in custody for 24 hours. Her mother was so traumatized that she died less than two months later.

Officer Fan from the Heping Police Station broke into Ms. Ma’s home on January 29, 2000, and confiscated two Falun Gong books. He held her in the police station for 24 hours. After her release, the police monitored her around the clock and harassed her at home frequently. One night an officer kicked the door, and Ms. Ma’s niece, who happened to be staying with her, didn’t dare to sleep anymore.

To avoid further harassment, Ms. Ma left home on June 25, 2001, and moved from place to place.

Ms. Ma was arrested on the night of April 2, 2002, after being reported for hanging banners bearing Falun Gong messages. The arresting officers kneaded her head and stomped on her wrists. She felt so much pain that she almost passed out. While interrogating her at the Haizhou District Police Department in Fuxin City, officer Feng Guoping grabbed her hair and slapped her in the face. He also kicked and punched her. 

After the interrogation, the police took her to the Xindi Detention Center. She was held there for 72 days before being transferred to the Masanjia Labor Camp on June 12, 2002, to serve a three-year term. Her term was extended by three months and she was released on October 11, 2005.

Tortured at Labor Camp

The labor camp guards beat Ms. Ma every day in an attempt to make her renounce Falun Gong. Her health quickly declined. In just two months, she began to have blood in her urine. 

The guards tied her up for three days at the end of October 2002 when she refused to wear the inmates’ badge. 

Starting in late November 2003, Ms. Ma was forced to sit on a small tile from 4 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day for one month. She was only allowed two bathroom breaks each day. When she still refused to renounce Falun Gong, the guards did not allow her to sleep. They beat her whenever she dozed off. She had an egg-sized bump on the back of her head as a result of the beatings. She remained firm in her faith, and five guards pinned her down and took turns beating her. The beatings lasted seven days.

Ms. Ma was moved to team six in January 2004 and then to team two in October 2004. For the remainder of her term, she was not allowed to step out of her cell. 

On April 1, 2005, the guards moved Ms. Ma and other steadfast practitioners to second-floor cells. They were not allowed to shower or purchase daily necessities. The guards also forced them to sit on the floor from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. They staged a group hunger strike in protest. 

On April 6, 2005, captain Li Mingyu led nine guards to force-feed Ms. Ma. Her cellmates said she had already started eating. Li didn’t listen and ordered his subordinates to pin Ms. Ma down. Guard Cao Yujie used a plier to pry open her mouth, causing her teeth to become loose. Guard Zhang He kneaded her stomach but they failed to force the food into her. She passed out in pain and did not come to until more than an hour later. She began running a fever and passing blood in her urine that night. The next day the guards took her to the in-house clinic for lab tests but did not tell her the results.

On May 7, 2005, the guards dragged Ms. Ma to a room and restrained her to a bed in a spread-eagle position. They forced her to lie there from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., during which time she was given five bottles of IV drips of an unknown drug. She could not pass urine and her abdomen became extremely swollen. She also lost control of her bowel movements. Despite her condition, the guards gave her such injections for a few more days. She coughed for more than one month after that.