(Minghui.org) Fifty-seven cases of Falun Gong practitioners being sentenced for their faith were confirmed in August 2022, including five cases that took place in 2021 and 52 cases in 2022 (including one in January, March and May each, 13 in June, 11 in July and 25 in August).
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999. Since then, countless practitioners have been arrested, detained, sentenced, and tortured for upholding their faith. But due to strict information censorship in China, the incidents can’t always be reported in a timely manner, nor is all the information readily available.
The sentenced practitioners came from 14 provinces and municipalities. Liaoning topped the list with 13 cases, followed by Guangdong and Sichuan (each reporting 5 cases). The remaining regions had cases between one and five.
The practitioners were aged between 37 to 81 at the time of their sentencing. A total of three practitioners were in their 80s. Another seven were in their 70s and nine in their 60s. Some elderly practitioners struggled with medical conditions while in custody.
The sentencing terms ranged from one year to ten years, with an average of 2.9 years. Twenty-three practitioners were also fined 2,000 – 40,000 yuan, with a total of 223,000 yuan and an average of 9,696 yuan per person.
In addition to the terms newly handed down by the courts, two practitioners, including an 81-year-old woman and another woman who had been displaced for five years, were taken into custody to serve time, even after their terms had expired.
The sentenced practitioners came from all walks of life, including a retired doctor, a former teacher and a watch factory employee. After a financial manager was sentenced to 19 months, the prosecutor accused the judge of giving her too light of a sentence and appealed with a higher court, seeking a term of three years or longer.
The prison sentences also devastated practitioners’ families. One kindergartner and his college-bound brother were in dire situations after both of their parents were sentenced. The mother-in-law of another practitioner was dealt a blow by her sentencing and passed away in distress.
Before their latest sentencing, some practitioners had been repeatedly targeted for their faith in the past 23 years. One practitioner had served 11.5 years behind bars before being sentenced again. Another practitioner suffered a mental breakdown due to torture in a forced labor camp two decades ago, before receiving another three years.
Below are snapshots of selected sentencing cases. The full list of sentenced practitioners can be downloaded here (PDF).
Elderly and Sick Practitioners Not Spared
Mr. Li Dianxing, an 83-year-old Yuanling County, Hunan Province resident, is experiencing high blood pressure, high fever and gout while serving time for his faith in Falun Gong.
Mr. Li, the former deputy director of Yuanling County Water Conservancy Bureau, was arrested in November 2020, after being reported for distributing Falun Gong materials. He was sentenced to six months with a 2,000-yuan fine on November 30, 2021. His appeal was rejected by the Huaihua City Intermediate Court on February 8, 2022.
Mr. Li began to experience health problems shortly after he was taken into the 10th ward at Wangling Prison on July 14, 2022.
Ms. Huang Jingru, a Changchun City, Jilin Province, resident in her 70s, was sentenced in June 2022, to three and a half years for practicing Falun Gong. The emaciated woman is struggling with poor health, especially after she accidentally lost her denture last year.
Ms. Huang was arrested in 2021 for appealing the suspension of her pension during an earlier detention and urging the officers to stop participating in the persecution. In July 2021 and February 2022, she held two hunger strikes, for three weeks each time. The guards ordered the detainees to force feed her every day but not give her any water.
Due to the hunger strikes, Ms. Huang remained very weak. Her weight dropped from 50 kg (110 lbs) to 30 kg (66 lbs). She couldn’t keep her balance while walking. Her hands kept shaking and her mouth trembled. It made things worse when she accidentally threw away her denture in October 2021.
The Chaoyang District Court handed down a 3.5-year sentence against Ms. Huang in June 2022. In the same month, she was transferred from the detention center to the Weizigou Detention Centre and held at the ward for the elderly and sick detainees.
Ms. Huang used to work at a gold mining company. She suffered from a congenital heart disease, vascular stenosis, and lumbar muscle strain. When she was only in her 40s, she often fainted and struggled to climb the stairs to her home on the fifth floor. Shortly after she took up Falun Gong in 1997, she was delighted to see her diseases go away and she was full of energy.
Even though Ms. Liu Hongxia’s lawyer requested a postponement of her trial due to her poor health, the judge heard her case on July 13, 2022, as scheduled, and sentenced her to four years. The 47-year-old woman was so weak and emaciated that she couldn’t even sit up and slumped in her chair during the entire proceedings.
Ms. Liu, of Dalian City, Liaoning Province, was arrested on October 28, 2021, when the police officer following her saw her putting up Falun Gong posters in residential buildings. She has been on a hunger strike at the detention centre since February 14 of this year to protest the persecution of Falun Gong.
When her lawyer went to visit her on February 28, he was told that she had been hospitalised. The guards tied her to a hospital bed, force fed her and injected her with unknown drugs. She has been denied all visits, including by her lawyer and family.
Judge Guo Danhua informed her family that she was scheduled to be tried on July 13, six days after she was taken back to the detention centre. Her lawyer’s request to postpone the proceedings was denied. Her family wasn’t allowed to attend the session either.
When her lawyer was finally given a pass to visit her after the trial, she couldn’t remember her hospital stay but did know that she was force-fed and given the injection.
An 80-year-old woman was informed on July 24, 2022 that she would be taken into custody soon to serve a 3.5-year term. Ms. Huang Zheng’s husband, Mr. Hu Zhiliang, became incapacitated and bedridden years ago after the repeated persecution of his wife took a toll on his health. With his caregiver-wife to be imprisoned soon, he is now facing a dire situation.
Ms. Huang, of Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province, was a Chinese Medicine doctor at the Suzhou Chinese Medicine Hospital before her retirement. Despite being a doctor herself, she struggled with Meniere’s Syndrome. After practicing Falun Gong, she recovered.
Over the years, she has been repeatedly targeted for not renouncing her faith. The authorities often arranged for people to stay outside of her home to monitor her. Many relatives and friends of hers had been questioned when they came to visit her ailing husband.
Ms. Huang was arrested at home on July 6, 2020. Her Falun Gong books, photos of Falun Gong’s founder, and other Falun Gong-related materials were confiscated. The police released her on bail at midnight and took her home.
Ms. Huang appeared in Wujiang Court on January 24, 2022. None of her family members or friends was allowed to attend the session. The judge sentenced her to 3.5 years with a 4,000-yuan fine four months later, on May 6.
Seven women in Linghai City, Liaoning Province were sentenced to prison around mid-August by the Linghai City Court for practicing Falun Gong, following a hearing on July 13, 2022.
Ms. Zhang Yingling, 61, and Ms. Jin Xiaomei, 52, were each sentenced to 3 years with a 5,000-yuan fine. Ms. Kang Guiyun, 70, was given 2.5 years with a 5,000-yuan fine. Ms. Liu Yurong, 60, Ms. Li Shufang, 80, and Ms. Chen Wenxue, 77, each got one year and fined 2,000 yuan. Ms. Liu Baolian, 81, was sentenced to one year with two years probation and a 2,000-yuan fine.
All of the practitioners were arrested on November 27, 2021, when they came to visit Ms. Kang. While Ms. Kang was later released on bail, all the other practitioners were taken to the Jinzhou City Women’s Detention Centre, where they remain. After the sentencing announcement, Ms. Kang was taken back into custody on August 4, 2022 and sent to the same detention centre.
Six Chengdu City, Sichuan Province, residents were sentenced on June 28, 2022. Four of them received 3-10 years and the other two practitioners’ verdicts remain to be investigated.
Ms. Li Yun was first arrested on April 25, 2021, as she returned home after work. The other five practitioners, including Ms. Liu Guohua, Ms. Xie Shiying, 70; Ms. Zhou Yuxiu; and Mr. Huang Huaizhou, 63, and his wife Ms. Zhang Xunju, 61, were arrested at around 6 a.m. on May 12, 2021. The police smashed the practitioners’ locks and broke in.
The police confiscated an old computer from Ms. Liu and asked for 240,000 yuan from her family in exchange for her release. It’s not clear whether her family complied.
After a year of detention, the practitioners appeared at Xindu District Court on June 28, 2022. The court didn’t inform their family members until the morning of their trial. After the families rushed to the court, the bailiffs ordered them to be tested for COVID-19. When they were finally allowed into the courtroom, the judge had already announced the verdicts.
Ms. Zhang was sentenced to ten years. Ms. Li received seven years. Ms. Liu and Mr. Huang were given five and three years, respectively. Ms. Xie and Ms. Zhou’s verdicts are unknown.
Ms. Ma Qin, a former teacher in Pingdu City, Shandong Province, was sentenced to a seven-year prison term on July 20, 2022 for practicing Falun Gong.
Ms. Ma, 53, was a teacher at Pingdu Development Zone Experimental School. She was arrested in her neighborhood on March 28, 2021 and held at the Qingdao No. 2 Detention Centre.
The Huangdao District Court held a hearing of Ms. Ma’s case at the detention center on May 13, 2022. Judge Ou Xiaobin attempted to lure her into renouncing Falun Gong by promising a lighter sentence. Ms. Ma refused to comply and insisted that she didn’t do anything wrong in practicing Falun Gong. Her lawyer also entered a not guilty plea for her and demanded her acquittal.
The judge informed her lawyer of her verdict on July 20.
A court in Hunan Province sentenced Ms. Mo Liqiong to 19 months on July 27, 2022 for her faith in Falun Gong. Unsatisfied, the prosecutor in the case accused the judge of giving the practitioner too light of a sentence and has filed an appeal with a higher court, seeking a term of three years or longer.
Ms. Mo, 52, a native of Xiangtan City, Hunan Province, works in Guangdong Province as a financial manager. She returned to her hometown in Xiangtan in early February 2021 to spend the Chinese New Year with her parents and son, only to be arrested on February 5, while walking on the street.
The police claimed that she had a black bag, which contained a few copies of Falun Gong booklets. They also searched the home of Ms. Mo’s parents but found nothing related to Falun Gong.
Ms. Mo’s mother in her 80s and other family members frequented the court to demand her release. The judge never met with them. They also went to the Xiangtan City Police Department and Political and Legal Affairs Committee, but were stopped at the gate by the security personnel.
Without informing her lawyers, the presiding judge, Zhang Zhan of Yuhu District Court, sentenced Ms. Mo to 19 months with a 5,000-yuan fine on July 27.
The Yuhu District Procuratorate blamed the presiding judge for giving Ms. Mo such a light term and proceeded to file an appeal with the Xiangtan City Intermediate Court on August 4. They demanded the higher court sentence her to three years or longer, accusing her of being a repeat offender, given her nine-year prison sentence in 2003 for practicing Falun Gong and the fact that she refused to plead guilty.
Three members of an extended family in Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province, were sentenced to prison on August 9, 2022. Mr. Zeng Xingyang, 49, was sentenced to five years with a 10,000-yuan fine. His wife, Ms. Deng Fang, 45, was given three and a half years and fined 6,000 yuan. His younger sister, Ms. Zeng Yueling, 43, was sentenced to three years and fined 6,000 yuan.
The couple’s sentencing has devastated their family. Their younger son is only five, a kindergartner, and their older son is going to college this year. When the couple was arrested in April 2021, their older son was still in high school and preparing for the college entrance exam. He managed to overcome the stress of his parents’ arrest, do well on the exam, and get admitted to his dream college.
The boys have been cared for by their paternal grandparents, in their 70s, since their parents’ arrest. The elderly couple doesn’t get a pension and are having tremendous difficulties supporting themselves and their grandsons. With the fall semester fast approaching, they are also struggling to find the money to pay for their older grandson’s college tuition, as most Chinese college students don’t have access to student loans.
Meanwhile, the elderly couple’s daughter, Ms. Zeng, was widowed a few years ago when her son was only nine. Her parents-in-law don’t have any income and they are also facing a dire situation caring for her son.
After over a year of incommunicado detention, a Linghai City, Liaoning Province, woman was secretly sentenced to four years for practicing Falun Gong. She was admitted to Liaoning Province Women’s Prison on July 15, 2022. Her family, who has been kept in the dark concerning her situation, is very worried about her.
Ms. Yan Lijun, 52, was arrested at home on the evening of June 3, 2021. She had broken her arm two days prior and was still in a cast when the police took her away. Her husband, who doesn’t practice Falun Gong, tried to stop them. The police refused to listen and ordered him to verbally abuse Falun Gong’s founder. When he didn’t comply, they accused him of interfering with law enforcement and arrested him as well, leaving his 85-year-old mother at home by herself. He was released after 15 days of administrative detention.
Ms. Yan’s arrest devastated her mother-in-law, who relied on her for care. She quickly fell ill and often asked her son, “What law did Lijun break? When will she return?” The elderly woman passed away in early 2022.
In early August 2022, Liaoning Province Women’s Prison officials informed Ms. Yan’s husband that she had been admitted to their facility on July 15, 2022. She was sentenced to four years by the Linghai City Court.
Prior to her latest arrest and sentencing, Ms. Yan was previously arrested on October 12, 2020, and detained for 15 days for talking to people about Falun Gong at a community fair. The police ransacked her home and searched her mother-in-law’s room, terrifying the elderly woman.
Serving Expired terms
Ms. Liu Naifen, 81, was allowed to serve her 1.5-year term for practicing Falun Gong at home. Her term expired in December 2018, but the authorities recently took her back into custody and took her to prison to serve her term. She has also been denied family visits.
Ms. Liu, of Langfang City, Hebei Province, was arrested on July 7, 2017, for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong, together with her daughter-in-law, Ms. Zhang Xiangrong, and Ms. Zhang’s mother. While Ms. Zhang’s mother, who didn’t practice Falun Gong, was soon released on bail, the police frequently came to harass her. She was so terrified that she became ill and passed away three months later.
In the meantime, Ms. Liu and Ms. Zhang were abused in the local detention center. The guards only gave them five minutes to use the restroom each time and only allowed them to take a shower every 15 days, despite the summer weather.
Ms. Liu couldn’t keep food down and had persistent diarrhea. She was forced to sign a statement to renounce Falun Gong against her will and was released on bail on August 10, 2017. The police harassed her at home after she was released.
Both Ms. Liu and Ms. Zhang were tried by the Anci District Court on January 20, 2020. The judge announced on August 21, 2020, that Ms. Zhang was sentenced to two years and Ms. Liu to one and a half years. They were each also fined 1,000 yuan.
Ms. Liu, who had been detained for just over one month (from July 7, 2017, to August 10, 2017), had about 17 more months to serve at the time of her sentencing. Although she was allowed to serve the remainder of her sentence at home under supervision due to her advanced age and health condition, the police took her back into custody in early November 2021.
Having been in displacement for years to avoid being jailed for her faith in Falun Gong, Ms. Yin Shengmei was arrested during a massive police operation across Fujian Province in June 2022. The 62-year-old former middle school teacher in Nanping City has been taken to the Fujian Province Women’s Prison to serve the two-year term previously given in 2017.
Ms. Yin met a former student while walking on October 28, 2016, and stopped for a chat. Because of telling the student about Falun Gong, she was arrested right away. After seven days of detention, she was released on bail and subjected to surveillance around the clock. She appeared in court on January 9 and was sentenced to two years on May 17, 2017.
To avoid being taken to prison, Ms. Yin lived away from home since then. In their effort to find her, the authorities harassed many of Ms. Yin’s family members. In January 2020, the authorities suspended Ms. Yin’s pension, making her displaced life even more difficult. She was arrested during a police sweep on June 22, 2022 and was soon taken to prison to serve time.
Mr. Luo Wei, 68, of Shanghai, was arrested on March 1, 2021 for distributing information about Falun Gong. The Putuo District Court sentenced him to a 1.5 year prison term on August 4, 2022.
Since the Chinese communist regime ordered the persecution of Falun Gong, Mr. Luo, a former employee of Shanghai Petroleum Company, has been given one labor camp term and two prison terms, for a total of 11.5 years.
While serving a seven-year term at the Tilanqiao Prison, he was subjected to constant beating and verbal abuse. One common torture was electric shocks by multiple batons at sensitive areas, such as head, lips, palms, soles of the feet, back, and chest.
When the practitioners held hunger strikes to protest the persecution, the guards force-fed them very hot congee or salty food. Some added toxic drugs to the food. In addition to torturing the practitioners, the guards also forced them to do very long hours of unpaid labor. Those who refused to do it were shocked with electric batons.
Having suffered a mental breakdown due to inhumane torture in a forced labor camp two decades ago, a 62-year-old woman was secretly sentenced to three years for her faith in Falun Gong.
Ms. Xue Yuchun of Qingdao City, Shandong Province, was arrested on August 8, 2021, while talking to people about Falun Gong at a wholesale market. For over a year, her family was kept in the dark concerning her situation. Only recently did they confirm that she had been sentenced to three years by the Huangdao District Court.
Ms. Xue used to work as a QC inspector at a clothing factory. Because she refuses to renounce Falun Gong despite the persecution, she has been arrested at least ten times and harassed countless times over the past 23 years.
On February 7, 2002, Ms. Xue was admitted to the Wangcun Forced Labor Camp to serve a two-year term. Because she didn’t write the required statement to renounce Falun Gong, she was confined in a completely dark room. The guards and inmates threatened and verbally abused her. They forced her to either stand or sit on a small stool for long hours without moving. Even after her buttocks festered, they still forced her to keep sitting.
Sometimes she was deprived of sleep for days on end and not allowed to use the restroom or wash. When she started to smell, the inmates spit in her face and on her tableware. She suffered a mental breakdown from the torture. When she was released on medical parole in May 2003, all of her hair had turned gray. She was only in her early 40s back then.
Targeted for Speaking Out
For giving a Falun Gong flyer to the person she bought a computer from, a Shenzhen City, Guangdong Province resident was sentenced to 1.5 years in prison and her appeal has been rejected by the higher court.
Ms. Ding Yao, 58, gave a person surnamed Li a Falun Gong flyer, when he delivered the computer to her on May 10, 2021. Li turned in the flyer to the subdivision security officer Zhu, who then reported it to the police. Ms. Ding was arrested at home hours later and her Falun Gong books and nine more flyers were confiscated.
The Nanshan District Procuratorate approved Ms. Ding’s arrest on May 25, 2021. She was sentenced to 1.5 years and fined 2,000 yuan by the Nanshan District Court in March 2022. She appealed with the Shenzhen City Intermediate Court, which ruled to uphold her original verdict on July 5.
Ms. Yan Lin, of Yancheng City, Jiangsu Province, was sentenced to three years in late July 2022, four months after she was arrested for raising awareness about the ongoing persecution.
Ms. Yan, a veteran and former dermatologist around 55 years old, was arrested on March 7, 2022, for using currency bills with information about Falun Gong printed on them, a creative way adopted by Falun Gong practitioners in response to the strict information censorship in China.
After an unknown period of detention, Ms. Yan was released on bail. The Dafeng District Procuratorate summoned her for an interview in June and indicted her soon after. She was tried in the Dafeng District Court in late July and sentenced to three years. She is now being held at the Dafeng District Detention Centre.
This isn’t the first time that Ms. Yan has been detained for her faith. As a result of the long-term harassment, financial persecution, and propaganda spread by the communist regime to slander Falun Gong, her husband lived under extreme fear and pressure. He often beat her and verbally abused her. Ms. Yan didn’t fight back but continued to treat him and his parents well. Her kindness eventually moved her husband and he began to treat her well in return.
- Reported in July 2022: 55 Falun Gong Practitioners Sentenced for Their Faith
- Reported in the First Half of 2022: 366 Falun Gong Practitioners Sentenced for Their Faith
- Reported in May 2022: 42 Falun Gong Practitioners Sentenced for Their Faith
- Reported in April 2022: 57 Falun Gong Practitioners Sentenced for Their Faith
- Reported in March 2022: 74 Falun Gong Practitioners Sentenced for Their Faith
- Reported in February 2022: 33 Falun Gong Practitioners Sentenced for Their Faith
- Reported in January 2022: 132 Falun Gong Practitioners Sentenced for Their Faith
- Reported in 2021: 1,187 Falun Gong Practitioners Sentenced for Their Faith