(Minghui.org) A Hengshui City, Hebei Province resident was recently sentenced to three years and three months for her faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Ms. Cui Yongfen, a 61-year-old retiree, and her husband, Mr. Meng Fansheng, a 60-year-old veteran, moved in with their son in Beijing in 2021 to help care for their four-year-old grandson. They were reported on July 1, 2021 for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong and arrested on the next day. Their Falun Gong books, laptop, eight cell phones, 200 informational cards about Falun Gong and 300 yuan paper bill printed with information about Falun Gong (as a way to overcome strict censorship in China) were confiscated.
While Mr. Meng was released one month later, Ms. Cui remains incarcerated at the Haidian District Detention Centre. The authorities denied her family visit, citing the pandemic as an excuse.
Ms. Cui’s family received a call from the court-appointed lawyer on February 14, 2022, and was told that she has been sentenced to three years and three months with a 3,000-yuan fine by the Haidian District Court. Mr. Meng, on the other hand, was given one year of residential surveillance.
Previous Persecution of the Couple
Mr. Meng took up Falun Gong in August 1997. He credits the practice for curing his lumbar disc herniation and turning him to a peaceful person. After seeing his changes, Ms. Cui also began to practice Falun Gong and enjoyed improved health and character.
Husband’s Four-year Prison Sentence
On October 26, 1999, Mr. Meng went to Beijing to appeal for the right to practice Falun Gong. He and some other practitioners held up a banner near Tiananmen Square on October 28 and were arrested. He and two practitioners were handcuffed to a sofa’s legs overnight and taken to the Jing County Detention Centre in Hengshui on the next day.
Meanwhile, the authorities ransacked his home and confiscated all of the Falun Gong books that he and his wife owned. The police also confiscated some cash and began to monitor the couple’s daily life.
Mr. Meng was later sentenced to four years. He was first held at the Hengshui Prison, where he was beaten, verbally abused and deprived of sleep. A month later, he was transferred to the Jidong Prison. The guards arranged for two inmates to monitor him around the clock and barred him from reading letters sent by his family.
He was forced to read articles or watch videos that slandered Falun Gong every day, as well as write thought reports. The physical and mental torture took a toll on his health. His teeth became loose and his hair turned gray.
Wife’s Arrests and Two-year Sentence
While Mr. Meng was still serving time, the police arrested Ms. Cui on December 13, 2000, claiming that she was planning to go to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong. She was held at the Jing County Detention Centre for 45 days.
The police suddenly surrounded Ms. Cui’s home on September 28, 2001 and confiscated her Falun Gong books, a banner and 3,000 yuan in cash. She escaped the arrest and was forced to live away from home since. The police also searched her son’s dorm in the high school. Upon finding a Falun Gong book, they forced the school to expel him, after he refused to renounce Falun Gong.
Ms. Cui returned home on January 12, 2002, one month before the Chinese New Year. As soon as she returned, the police arrested her and detained her for 15 days.
She was arrested again on May 28, 2002, after being reported by a prison guard for carrying Falun Gong materials in her bag while visiting her incarcerated husband earlier that month. As she resisted the arrest, the police dragged her to the police car, causing her shoes to fall off and her feet and legs to be injured.
She was taken to the detention centre on the same day. She held a hunger strike to protest the persecution and was released 23 days later, after she suffered gastric bleeding and systemic edema.
Led by Zhang Shaomin, the head of Duqiao Police Station, seven officers arrested Ms. Cui at home on July 23, 2003. Her shoe fell off and her clothes were torn during the arrest. Her daughter was terrified and kept crying. Her son accused the police of violating the law in arresting his mother. Zhang responded, “What law? What I said is the law.” He added that he didn’t care about the impact on the family, but would arrest Ms. Cui when given orders from above.
Ms. Cui held a hunger strike at the detention centre and was released seven days later, when she was on the verge of death.
She later lived away from home with her daughter to hide from the police. The persecution deeply traumatised the girl.
During the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the authorities found Ms. Cui’s temporary residence and monitored her family for nearly two weeks.
Ms. Cui was arrested one more time on August 25, 2014 and held at the Hengshui Detention Centre. Her legs became severely swollen and one leg couldn’t bend, as a result of the torture in custody.
Her family received a call from Liu Junjie, the presiding judge of Jing County Court, on February 4, 2016 that Ms. Cui had been sentenced to two years at the Hebei Province Women’s Prison. She was released on August 24, 2016.
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