(Minghui.org) The month of November 2023 recorded 97 cases of Falun Gong practitioners sentenced to prison for upholding their faith.
Among the 97 cases, one took place in 2019, 2020 and 2021 each, five in 2022, and 87 in 2023 (including 11 cases between March and August, 13 in September, 14 in October, 27 in November and 22 cases with unknown months). For the remaining two cases, the month and year is unknown. The delay in reporting was caused by the strict information censorship under the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which aims to keep the persecution underground to avoid international scrutiny.
The sentenced practitioners were from 18 provinces, centrally controlled municipalities, and autonomous regions in China. Henan had the most cases of 12 (including a group sentencing of ten practitioners, with their terms ranging from 1 to 8 years), followed by 12 cases, each in Shandong (prison terms between 16 months and 5 years) and Liaoning (prison terms between 8 months and 4 years), and 11 cases in Jilin (prison terms between 10 months and 5 years). The remaining 14 regions had between 1 and 8 cases, with terms ranging from 8 months to 12 years.
Nationwide, a total of 23 practitioners (24%) were given at least five years. Eleven practitioners received probation and the prison terms of three practitioners were unknown.
The longest sentence, 12 years, was handed down to a former glass shop owner in Gansu Province for filing a criminal complaint in 2015 against Jiang Zemin, the former head of the CCP who launched the persecution of Falun Gong. While he escaped the arrest back in 2015, he was arrested in 2022 after spending seven years on the run and given the lengthy term in 2023. He would be 73 by the time he finishes serving time.
A total of 59 practitioners (60%) had ages known at the time of sentencing, and they were between 42 and 85. Three were in their 40s (with prison terms between 1.5 and 5.5 years), 17 were in their 50s (terms between 16 months and 10 years), 20 in their 60s (terms between 1 and 12 years), 14 in their 70s (terms between 9 months and 8 years), and 5 in their 80s (terms between 2 and 4 years). Several of the practitioners in their 70s have already served more than 10 years behind bars before they were sentenced again.
Forty-six of the sentenced practitioners were also fined a total of 1,202,000 yuan, ranging from 1,000 to 310,000 yuan per person. A former employee of a railroad transportation bureau was given the highest fine because he refused to sign a statement to plead guilty for practicing Falun Gong. Two practitioners convicted in the group sentencing in Henan Province were each fined 80,000 yuan on top of their 8-year prison sentences. Moreover, the husband of a practitioner was scammed 300,000 yuan by a rogue lawyer in exchange for her release, only to see her still sentenced.
The following are snapshots of select sentencing cases. The full list of sentenced practitioners can be downloaded here (PDF).
Sentencing of Elderly Practitioners
On November 21, 2023, the police in Nanchang City, Jiangxi Province, took back into custody three local women who had been sentenced to prison for practicing their faith, Falun Gong.
The three practitioners were arrested separately between 2020 and 2021. They were also prosecuted separately and were all later sentenced to prison.
Ms. Yu Fangzhuang, 90, was given six months on December 21, 2020 and allowed to serve time outside of prison due to her advanced age. Ms. Deng Meizhen, 82, was sentenced to two years after her arrest in February 2021 (the exact date she was sentenced is unknown). She was allowed to go home after she was sentenced. Ms. Xiong Quanmei, 71, was sentenced to one year and ten months on August 25, 2021. She was allowed to serve time outside of prison due to her poor health.
The Xihu District Domestic Security Office notified all three women on November 14, 2023 that they had to undergo physical examinations in preparation for their prison admission. They were then taken back into custody one week later.
It is unclear why the police targeted Ms. Yu and Ms. Xiong again since they already finished serving time outside of prison in June 2020 and June 2023, respectively. (Editor’s note: Ms. Yu and Ms. Xiong were not included in the 97 newly reported cases because their sentencing had already been reported before.)
Ms. Li Jinqiu, a 72-year-old Linghai City, Liaoning Province, resident, was sentenced to four years in prison and fined 4,000 yuan on November 13, 2023 for her faith in Falun Gong. She has filed an appeal.
Ms. Li, a retired accountant for the Linghai City Grain Bureau, was arrested on July 31, 2023 while distributing Falun Gong materials at a community fair. During her hearing at the Linghai City Court on November 6, 2023, her family were devastated to see her being carried into the courtroom by two bailiffs. Her once thick, black hair had turned gray. Her rosy complexion was sallow. Her hands and head were shaking. Despite her physical condition, the judge still kept her handcuffed.
Ms. Li’s lawyer pointed out that the police ransacked her residence without showing a proper search warrant. They also failed to provide a list of confiscated items for her to verify or sign. According to the information listed in her case documents, the amount of Falun Gong-related items included as prosecution evidence against her was higher than the actual items she had. The photos that the police took of Ms. Li with the items did not show how she had violated the law, either.
In addition, the prosecutor accused Ms. Li of being a “repeat offender,” as she had previously served labor camp terms for practicing Falun Gong. But she should never have been persecuted for her faith in the first place, argued her lawyer.
The lawyer also pointed out that the persecution has no legal basis and that the prosecutor failed to specify what law Ms. Li had allegedly violated, nor was it specified what harm was caused to what victim. He demanded an acquittal for Ms. Li.
Ms. Li testified in her own defense. She recounted that she was roughed up by the police during her arrest, which caused her to become dizzy. The judge sentenced her to four years a week later.
After the communist regime ordered the persecution in 1999, Ms. Li was thrice held in the notorious Masanjia Forced Labor Camp and subjected to brutal torture. When she was released on September 13, 2010 after serving the third one-year term, she was carried home by her husband. She struggled with severe back pain since and couldn’t do heavy manual work as before.
In addition to Ms. Li’s own ordeal, her husband Mr. Zhang Deguo, son Mr. Zhang Lei, daughter-in-law Ms. Zhao Xiaochun, and Ms. Zhao’s mother, Ms. He Yuxiang, have all been persecuted for their shared faith in Falun Gong.
Ms. Miao Shuqing, 74 and of Fushun City, Liaoning Province, was recently sentenced to one year and fined 3,000 yuan for her faith in Falun Gong. She filed an appeal.
Ms. Miao’s sentence stemmed from her arrest on June 15, 2022, while distributing Falun Gong informational materials at a community fair with three other practitioners. While all four practitioners were soon released, the police delivered an “on bail pending trial notice” to Ms. Miao’s daughter in mid-August 2022 and deceived the younger woman into paying a 5,000-yuan bail bond on behalf of her mother.
To avoid being prosecuted for her faith, Ms. Miao went into hiding. She returned home several months later and went on a trip to Dalian City (a metropolis about 280 miles to the south of Fushun City) with her family in August 2023. When she produced her ID to purchase a ticket at a tourist attraction in Dalian on August 11, it raised an alarm when the cashier scanned it. The police monitored her family members’ phones and tracked Ms. Miao down. Six officers from Benxi City (which is about 50 miles south of Fushun City) traveled 230 miles to Dalian that day and seized Ms. Miao when she was boarding a bus bound for Fushun City. She has been held at the Fushun City Detention Center since.
The Wanghua District Court held a hearing of her case at the detention centre on November 7, 2023.
Prosecutor Chen Guangsheng read out aloud the indictment against Ms. Miao. It stated that she and the aforementioned three other practitioners each testified during the police interrogation that they agreed to meet at a certain place at the fair on June 15, 2022 and also described the clothes they wore that day when they saw each other.
Ms. Miao refuted this, and said that she never “confessed” to such a thing. She pointed out that the so-called confessions were undoubtedly fabricated by the police. She told how she was previously twice jailed for her faith in Falun Gong and brutally tortured each time. During one torture session, the prison guards shocked her on the eyes with electric batons. Her left eye later went completely blind and her right eye only had a 20/200 vision acuity. Being legally blind, she couldn’t make out the shape of a person right in front of her, much less the color of the clothing the person wore.
Ms. Miao’s daughter also defended her constitutional right to freedom of belief and testified how Falun Gong restored her health and helped her become a better person. She said that her mother’s distribution of Falun Gong materials was out of a simple wish to help more people get to know Falun Gong and possibly enjoy its health benefits like she did. Such an act caused no harm to any individual or society at large, and should never have been used as evidence to prosecute Ms. Miao.
Judge Gang Jia ignored Ms. Miao’s and her daughter’s request for her acquittal and proceeded to convict her at an unknown date.
Mr. Li Jun, 72, from Maoming City, Guangdong Province, was sentenced to five years and fined 10,000-yuan fine on November 8, 2023, for practicing Falun Gong. He has appealed the verdict and is now awaiting the result.
When Mr. Li’s lawyer arrived at the Maonan District Court on the morning of November 8 to attend his sentencing hearing, the bailiff did not let him bring his cellphone into the courtroom. The bailiff claimed that it was their local regulation, but he couldn’t provide any legal document when he was asked by the lawyer. The lawyer noticed that prosecutor Cai Linhui brought his phone into the courtroom.
Mr. Li was handcuffed and shackled when he was brought into the courtroom. Despite his lawyer’s demand to unchain him, the presiding judge, Tan Wei, only instructed the bailiff to remove the handcuffs, while keeping the shackles on him. Given the lawyer’s strong protest, the judge agreed to take off the shackles after ten minutes of standoff.
Judge Tan quickly finished reading the verdict. He also denied the lawyer’s request to talk to Mr. Li after the hearing. The lawyer met with Mr. Li in the detention centre in the afternoon and got his signature on the appeal document and Power of Attorney to also represent him in the appeal case.
Mr. Li just finished dinner on February 14, 2023 when over ten officers descended on his home and raided it. For a few days after his arrest, the police kept coming to his home and photographing it. His family was terrified.
Mr. Li’s three daughters repeatedly went to the police station to seek his release. The police said the only condition for his release was that he sign a statement to renounce Falun Gong. Mr. Li refused to comply. He was indicted by the Maonan District Procuratorate on June 8.
During his first hearing by the Maonan District Court on August 22, 2023, prosecutor Cai alleged that Mr. Li’s oldest daughter “testified” that he sometimes went to the local market to distribute Falun Gong informational materials. Upon hearing this, Mr. Li’s daughter, who was present during the hearing, was indignant but she was not allowed to say anything.
After the hearing was over, Mr. Li’s daughter immediately told the lawyers, “After my father was arrested, the police told me to go to the police station for questioning. They asked me to sign the third page of a document without showing me the rest of it. I never said or wrote that my father went to the market to distribute Falun Gong materials. They must have put down the fabricated ‘testimonial’ in my name themselves. How despicable! I’m going to file complaints against them!”
The family of Ms. Zhong Liena, of Jieyang City, Guangdong Province, received a call from the local detention centre at the end of September 2023 and was told that she had been sentenced to four years in prison. Following Ms. Zhong’s arrest on November 25, 2022, her family have been kept in the dark of her detention location. They also know nothing about her indictment, trial, and sentencing.
Ms. Zhong, 70, is appealing her verdict. Prior to her latest sentencing, she was twice sentenced to a total of eight and a half years. She also served two forced labor terms totaling three years.
Mr. Zhang Yutang, a 70-year-old resident in Mishan City, Heilongjiang Province, was sentenced to four years with a 10,000-yuan fine on October 18, 2023. This is not the first time that Mr. Zhang has been targeted for his faith in Falun Gong. He was previously given two years of forced labor in 1999 and thrice sentenced (receiving three years in 2003, five months in 2012, and 5.5 years in 2014). He was brutally tortured each time. His local government stopped his pension (a bit over 100 yuan each month) in early 2022, and he struggled to make ends meet.
Mr. Zhang’s latest arrest fell on April 21, 2023 when he went to visit his daughter. The police broke into two groups, with one group taking Mr. Zhang to their office and another group heading to his home. They used the key confiscated from him and opened the door when his wife refused to let them in.
Mr. Zhang’s wife demanded to know the police’s identities and one officer said his name was Hua Jian. He appeared to be a head as he directed two officers to videotape everywhere in the home. Mr. Zhang’s wife asked if they had any search warrant and one officer flashed a piece of paper in front of her. He put it away without allowing her to read what was on it.
The police spent nearly one hour searching Mr. Zhang’s home. They didn’t give her a chance to tally the confiscated items or produce a list of confiscated items as required by law.
The Mishan City Court held a hearing of Mr. Zhang’s case on October 12, 2023. Prosecutor Li Lanlan said that the police-supplied evidence included surveillance videos showing someone who looked like Mr. Zhang mailed out letters at three local post offices. The letters were seized and determined to contain Falun Gong information.
Three people from three different post office and a grid manager were listed as prosecution witnesses. None of them was present in court to accept cross-examination though. [China’s grid-style social management system involves dividing each county into smaller zones (or grids) and tasking grid managers with monitoring citizens and reporting suspicious activities to local governments on a regular basis.]
Mr. Zhang’s lawyer argued that there was no concrete evidence proving that the man in the videos was indeed his client. As such, the videos should be inadmissible. Judge Ling Zuobin convicted Mr. Zhang on October 18.
After spending seven years on the run, a native of Qingyang County, Gansu Province was sentenced to 12 years for his faith in Falun Gong.
Mr. Wang Liqun, a 62-year-old former glass shop owner, filed a criminal complaint against former Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin in 2015 for ordering the persecution of Falun Gong. The police had intended to arrest him but he evaded them. They hunted him for the next seven years and put his photo on the cloud database, which is connected to the network of surveillance cameras across the country.
While working in a mall in Xi’an City, Shaanxi Province (about 120 miles from Qingyang) in late September 2022, Mr. Wang was recorded by a surveillance camera after he took off his mask while changing clothes. The police soon travelled from Qingyang to Xi’an. After failing to find him in the mall, they found his manager and forced him to take them to Mr. Wang’s residence to arrest him.
As the police approached, Mr. Wang climbed from his apartment on the fifth floor to the third floor with a rope, and then jumped downstairs from the third floor. Although he suffered a comminuted fracture in the ankle, he managed to escape.
Through searching the videos taken by surveillance cameras, the police found Mr. Wang and arrested him on October 19, 2022. He was taken back to Qingyang the next day and held at the Qingcheng County Detention Centre.
Mr. Wang was indicted in January 2023 and he stood trial at the Zhenyuan County Court on February 27, 2023. As the prosecutor couldn’t refute the defense statement by Mr. Wang and his lawyer during the court hearing, he blurted out, “Falun Gong [practitioners] persuade people to quit the Communist Party. Isn’t that a cult?”
Mr. Wang was later sentenced at an unknown date.
It was confirmed by Minghui.org in November 2023 that two residents of Wenshan Zhuang and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province have been sentenced to ten and seven years, respectively, for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong.
Ms. Liao Wenxian, 62, was arrested on April 21, 2022 after a surveillance camera recorded her distributing Falun Gong materials in Xichou County, which is under the jurisdiction of Wenshan Zhuang and Miao Autonomous Prefecture. Ms. Fang Shimei, 57, who was with her, escaped the scene but was arrested later in the day. The police raided their homes and confiscated their Falun Gong books, informational materials, computers and printers.
Both women were held in the Xichou County Detention Centre. Their families recently confirmed that Ms. Fang has been sentenced to ten years and Ms. Liao to seven years. But details about their indictment, trial and sentencing aren’t clear.
Ten Zhengzhou City, Henan Province, residents, aged between 42 and 85, were sentenced to prison on September 27, 2023 for practicing Falun Gong.
– Ms. Zhao Shuniu, 57, and Ms. Su Jinling, 74, were each sentenced to eight years and fined 80,000 yuan.– Ms. Li Hongwei, 63, and Mr. Li Yixing, 42, were each sentenced to five years and six months and fined 50,000 yuan.– Ms. Guo Yulan, 76, was sentenced to five years and fined 50,000 yuan.– Mr. Gao Runhong, 85, was sentenced to four years and fined 40,000 yuan.– Ms. Hu Aimin, 55, was sentenced to three years and six months and fined 30,000 yuan.– Ms. Zeng Yongzhao, 70, was sentenced to three years and fined 30,000 yuan.– Ms. Jing Cuihua, 58, was sentenced to two years and fined 20,000 yuan.– Ms. Liu Xinzhi, 65, was sentenced to one year and fined 10,000 yuan.
The ten practitioners were arrested by the Jinshui District Police Department between October 2021 and February 2022. The Xinzheng Court heard their cases on July 19, 2023 and didn’t allow their family members to attend their hearing. It’s not clear whether the practitioners were tried jointly or separately on the same day. The judge announced the verdicts on September 27.
Five residents of Zhucheng City, Shandong Province were sentenced to prison on November 2, 2023.
Ms. Li Yeshu, her husband Mr. Luo Bingxin, Ms. Xu Huancui, and Ms. Li Hongmei were arrested on February 26, 2022 while distributing Falun Gong informational materials. They were each sentenced to three years with four years probation, and fined 15,000 yuan.
Ms. Zheng Zhimei was arrested at home on March 2, 2022. She was sentenced to three years with five years probation. She was also fined 20,000 yuan.
A sixth practitioner, Ms. Li Mingxia, was arrested on March 3, 2022 and had her case combined with the aforementioned five practitioners. She stood trial with them on October 26, 2023, but did not show up at the sentencing hearing on November 2. The presiding judge ruled to clear her of prosecution, likely because she had filed a criminal complaint against him and requested that he be recused from the joint case.
Tortured in Detention
All six practitioners were taken to the Zhucheng City Brainwashing Centre, also known to the outside as the “Care Centre,” after their arrests.
The guards hit Ms. Li Yeshu’s head, hands and body with a bamboo stick and also stomped on her. They then wrapped her hands with a wire connected to an electrical box, ordered her to sit on the ground, and turned on the switch to shock her. Her body was bounced up and down by the electric shock. Before she completely lost consciousness, she remembered someone stepping on her back against the ground.
Ms. Li Mingxia was slapped in the face by guard Song. Her face became swollen, her gums were bleeding, and she had a toothache for over a week. The police kept her restrained in a metal chair and interrogated her around the clock on two occasions, the first time for 23 days in a row and the second time for seven straight days without any breaks. During each marathon interrogation session, she had to sit in the chair day and night. The long-term sitting caused Ms. Li’s legs and feet to become extremely swollen.
The other arrested practitioners, except for Ms. Li Yeshu, were also tied in metal chairs, handcuffed and shackled.
Ms. Li Yeshu was released the day after her arrest, as she has a child with intellectual disabilities. The other five practitioners were released on April 19, 2022, after each posted a 20,000 yuan bail bond.
Dr. Li Jianxi, a renowned doctor in Xiamen City, Fujian Province, was sentenced to 5.5 years with a 50,000-yuan fine on November 23, 2023, for practicing Falun Gong.
Dr. Li, 54, was arrested at home at 8:30 a.m. on June 19, 2022, during a police sweep. His wife and son, as well as staff members of his clinic, were also taken away and briefly detained. His other residence in his hometown in Zhangping City, about 100 miles from Xiamen, was ransacked as well.
The Jimei District Procuratorate approved Dr. Li’s arrest on August 10, 2022. To collect information against him, the police confiscated the medical records of his patients in the past eight years and called them about whether Dr. Li had given them Falun Gong materials.
The Jimei District Court scheduled a court date for November 24, 2023, but suddenly called Dr. Li’s family on the evening of November 22 to say that the virtual hearing was rescheduled for the next morning. The presiding judge, Tu Xuebin, simply announced at the hearing to sentence Dr. Li to 5.5 years with a 50,000-yuan fine. It was unclear whether there was a prior hearing for the prosecution and the defense to debate the case as required by law or whether the November 23 hearing was the only hearing held in Dr. Li’s case.
A Renowned Doctor of Chinese Medicine
Since his childhood, Mr. Li has been interested in the universe and the mystery of life. He read books about various religions, philosophy and ancient magic, but he didn’t find the answers until he read Falun Gong’s teachings and he resonated with the idea that the purpose of one’s life is to be a good person and return to one’s true, original self.
Despite being a doctor himself, Dr. Li suffered from stomachaches and joint pain since he was a child. He couldn’t eat raw or cold food, nor could he bear the discomfort of skipping or delaying a meal. After taking up Falun Gong, his symptoms disappeared and he easily quit his strong addiction to alcohol. Despite his intensive work schedule, he always felt energetic – something he had never experienced before.
In his over 30 years of practicing Chinese medicine, he has seen over 100,000 patients. He specialized in treating patients who were in critical condition. He once treated a 750-gram premature baby with a severe lung condition and helped the baby to breathe on its own a month later. He was often invited to give talks at various seminars or conferences.
Ms. Chen Xiufen, 69, from Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province, was sentenced to four years and fined 10,000 yuan on September 8, 2023 for practicing Falun Gong.
Ms. Chen was arrested at her home on January 26, 2022. Her Falun Gong books and other valuables were confiscated. The details of her indictment, trial, and sentencing aren’t clear.
A Well-regarded Teacher
Ms. Chen taught at the Dengfeng Elementary School in Yuexiu District before her retirement. She used to suffer from a myriad of diseases, including gastritis, uterine fibroids, migraines and chronic fatigue. More than once she woke up in pain and had to seek emergency care.
All her symptoms disappeared about one month after she began practicing Falun Gong in early 1999. Ms. Chen also became a better person and stopped taking gifts from her students’ parents. [It is commonplace in China for parents to gift their children’s teachers in exchange for preferential treatment in school.] She treated all her students equally, and their parents commended her for being such an upright and caring teacher.
A woman in Laizhou City, Shandong Province, was sentenced to three years and fined 10,000 yuan on November 8, 2023 for her faith in Falun Gong.
Ms. Zhao Xiping was arrested on the early morning of May 11, 2023, after being reported for distributing Falun Gong informational materials in neighboring Pingdu City (about 27 miles away). The police in Pingdu City confiscated the over 2,000 yuan of banknotes she had with her. The banknotes were printed with Falun Gong messages as a way to raise awareness of the persecution of Falun Gong.
Eight officers from Pingdu raided Ms. Zhao’s home hours later. They jumped in from a window and turned her home upside down. They seized her computer, printer, printing supplies, and Falun Gong books. They also climbed to her roof to remove the satellite dish she used to receive uncensored information from overseas media.
The Huangdao District Court in Qingdao City (which oversees Pingdu City) held a hearing of Ms. Zhao’s case on November 8, 2023. The presiding judge sentenced her to three years with a 10,000-yuan fine in less than 20 minutes.
Eager to get her out, Ms. Zhao’s husband hired a lawyer shortly after her arrest, at the recommendation of a relative who worked in the local police department. The lawyer called him three times demanding 350,000 yuan in total without providing any legal counsel.
The lawyer demanded 200,000 yuan the first time and said that he needed the money to bribe the police and other relevant agencies in order to secure Ms. Zhao’s release. She remained detained after her husband borrowed the hefty sum to give to the lawyer.
The lawyer then called Ms. Zhao’s husband again, asking for another 100,000 yuan. She was still in custody, and he demanded an additional 50,000 yuan from her husband during the third phone call. This time, her husband had no one to borrow money from (he had utilized all possible help from his relatives and friends to pool the initial 300,000 yuan). The only solution would be to sell his house.
With no more money coming in, the lawyer stopped calling Ms. Zhao’s husband. She was soon indicted and sentenced.
Ms. Zhao’s husband never got to meet the lawyer in person as the latter had an assistant receive him in the office both times when he brought the money there. The assistant refused to issue a receipt or reveal which government agencies the money would go to.
To this day, Ms. Zhao’s husband does not know the lawyer’s name (it’s unclear why his relative did not tell him the name in the first place). He is struggling to pay back the 300,000 yuan debt on top of his wife’s 10,000 yuan court fine. With no money, he is also unable to take legal action against the scammer lawyer.
When Mr. Liu Kangfu was released in May 2023 after serving a three-year term, he was devastated to find that he had been fired by the Guiyang City Passenger Rail Transportation in Guizhou Province. He struggled to make ends meet and was still urged to pay the remaining 10,000 yuan of his 310,000-yuan court fine.
Mr. Liu, of Anshun City, Guizhou Province, was arrested in May 2020. While he was in custody, the police did not allow him to use the restroom for long hours, causing him to become incontinent. He became very weak, with a fuzzy memory. He couldn’t stand up at one point. He was later hospitalised due to severe diabetes, when he was also found to have a heart disease and high blood pressure. He needed to use the restroom every 10-15 minutes. He reported that he was issued a critical condition notice five times.
The Xixiu District Procuratorate issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Liu in July 2020. Prosecutor Luo Peng said that he’d recommend two years with a 30,000-yuan fine if Mr. Liu signed a statement admitting his “guilt.” Luo threatened to recommend six years with a 310,000-yuan fine if Mr. Liu did not comply.
Mr. Liu refused to admit any guilt, as he had broken no law by practicing Falun Gong. He stood trial at the Xixiu District Court in May 2021 and was sentenced to three years with a 310,000-yuan fine in mid-November 2021. Judge Qin Zhigang ruled to seize the 300,000-yuan in cash that the arresting officers found in Mr. Liu’s home and ordered him to pay the remaining 10,000-yuan after he finished serving time.
Mr. Liu couldn’t believe that the communist regime’s court would rob his lifetime savings of 300,000 yuan to pay court fines. He vowed to appeal, but prosecutor Luo threatened to increase his sentence to eight years and court fine to 500,000 yuan if he did so. He was scared and did not file an appeal.
Denied Legal Representation
A 46-year-old woman in Jilin City, Jilin Province, was admitted to Jilin Province Women’s Prison in the capital city of Changchun on October 13, 2023, to serve a four-year term for her faith in Falun Gong.
Ms. Wang Chunling’s sentencing stemmed from her arrest on January 3, 2022, for distributing Falun Gong materials. The police beat her and broke her thumb while attempting to get her fingerprints on some documents. She was detained for three months and released on bail. The police later deceived her into going to the local procuratorate to sign her case file. She was indicted and given a new one-year bail. She went out to distribute Falun Gong materials on May 4, 2023, only to be arrested again. Her friend recently went to the Jilin City Detention Centre to deliver some necessities to her and was told that she had been transferred to prison on October 13. Her family were never notified of her case status or asked to hire a lawyer for her.
Ms. Ai Mingxia, 57, from Jubaoshan Town, Changling County, Jilin Province, was sentenced to four years in late August 2023 for practicing Falun Gong.
Ms. Ai was arrested by officers from the Jubaoshan Town Police Station and the Changling County Domestic Security Office on April 19, 2023. The police confiscated her printer supplies, Falun Gong informational materials and other valuables.
The Jubaoshan Town manager ordered and also personally participated in the arrest and subsequent raid of Ms. Ai’s home. He also threatened to search every local Falun Gong practitioner’s home. At his directive, in the following months nearly every practitioner in Jubaoshan Town had their homes ransacked by the police. One practitioner, surnamed Wang, was detained for 15 days after his home was raided on June 16, 2023.
Ms. Ai was taken to the Songyuan City Detention Centre the day after her arrest. Songyuan oversees Changling County.
Ms. Ai’s family hired a lawyer to represent her, but the lawyer was forced by the Changling County Domestic Security Office to drop her case. The Changling County Court sentenced Ms. Ai to four years in late August 2023.
Targeted for Speaking Out
Mr. Li Jian, 55 and an employee of the China Unicom Branch in Fuxin City, Liaoning Province, was sentenced to 3.5 years on November 13, 2023.
Mr. Li placed a Falun Gong flyer on a car’s door handle on June 13, 2023. The car owner caught him in the act and took a picture of him to submit to the police. The police monitored him for a month before arresting him at his workplace on July 19. They also took him back home for a raid and confiscated his Falun Gong books and other personal items. He was held at the Fuxin City Detention Centre.
According to Mr. Li’s neighbors, the authorities dispatched heavy police force to ransack his home. Some local residents panicked, thinking the police were arresting a murderer.
After the Xihe District Procuratorate approved Mr. Li’s arrest, his 84-year-old father submitted a letter to the prosecutor, demanding a dismissal of the case. The prosecutor didn’t respond to the elderly man, but quickly indicted Mr. Li and moved his case to the Fumeng County Court.
Mr. Li’s father contacted judge Li Bo on October 17 as a family defender and demanded to review his case file. Li denied his request and said she would let him know three days in advance once she decided on a court date.
Mr. Li appeared in the Fumeng County Court on November 1. He dismissed the court-appointed lawyer who was set to enter a guilty plea for him, and acted as his own lawyer and entered a not guilty plea. His father also defended him.
The judge announced on November 13 the sentencing of Mr. Li to 3.5 years with an 8,000-yuan fine. His father received the verdict two days later and has filed an appeal on his behalf with the Fuxin City Intermediate Court.
Minghui.org confirmed in November 2023 that Ms. Xu Chunmei, from De’an County, Jiangxi Province, was sentenced to 1.5 years and fined 10,000 yuan on July 19, 2023.
Ms. Xu, 49, also known as Ding Chunmei, was arrested on June 18, 2021 while working in a pharmacy. The police said they arrested her after they discovered that she mailed Falun Gong informational materials and wrote letters to three government agencies, urging them not to participate in the persecution. The materials and letters were included as prosecution evidence against her when the Yongxiu County Court convicted her on July 19, 2023. Ms. Xu refused to sign her verdict and she maintained that she didn’t violate any laws by practicing Falun Gong or raising awareness about the persecution.
Ms. Xu went to Beijing to appeal after the persecution began in 1999. She was arrested and held at the Fengtai Stadium. Officers from her local police station in De’an County traveled to Beijing and brought her back. They held her in the detention centre and attempted to force her to write a statement to renounce Falun Gong by threatening to detain her for extended periods of time. She refused to comply.
During her detention, the police broke into her home and confiscated all her Falun Gong books. Her drawers were left open and her clothes and comforters were scattered on the ground.
Ms. Xu was given a two-year labor camp term in 2000, when her child was only three years old. Unable to bear the mental pressure, her husband gave up practicing Falun Gong. Yet the police still constantly harassed the family. After living in fear for years, Ms. Xu’s father-in-law, who lived with the couple, struggled with ever-declining health and passed away in June 2010.
Ms. Xu was arrested again in April 2014 for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong. She was detained for 15 days.
A husband and wife in Chaoyang City, Liaoning Province, were recently sentenced to prison for their shared faith in Falun Gong. Mr. Yang Bin was sentenced to one year and Ms. Hu Xuefei to three years. Details about their indictment, trial, and sentencing aren’t clear. The couple’s daughter, who had depended on them to pay for her to study at a college outside of China, is struggling to put herself through school.
Ms. Hu’s ailing mother, in her 80s, was so distraught over her arrest that she passed away shortly after.
Ms. Hu and Mr. Yang were arrested on May 11, 2023. The police raided their home and a storage site, confiscating their printer and many other personal items. They were admitted to the Chaoyang City Detention Centre that same day.
At 1 a.m. on May 12, hours after Ms. Hu’s arrest, she managed to call her family and ask them to help care for her elderly parents, especially her mother who was in the hospital. She also asked her family to contact her daughter and tell the young woman that she would have to figure out how to pay her tuition and living expense on her own.
Ms. Hu’s arrest devastated her mother, whose condition quickly deteriorated. Ms. Hu wasn’t allowed to see her mother for the last time or attend her funeral.
Mr. Zhang Yuhua, a Daxing District, Beijing, resident was sentenced to one year and ten months with a 3,000-yuan fine for his faith in Falun Gong.
Mr. Zhang, in his 50s, was arrested at home on March 7, 2022, after being reported for distributing Falun Gong informational materials. He made his first court appearance on November 18, 2022. Judge Liu initially scheduled two more hearings for October 12 and 23, 2023, but canceled both for unknown reasons. He then set a new court date for November 6, 2023, but the details of that hearing remain to be investigated. It’s also unclear whether Mr. Zhang was sentenced on November 6 or at some point after that.
This is not the first time that Mr. Zhang has been targeted for his faith in Falun Gong. He was previously arrested on October 1, 2013 for hanging up a banner reading “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance” [core tenets of Falun Gong], which later resulted in a four-year prison term.
In addition to his own ordeal, his wife, Ms. Kang Shuxia, and his mother, Ms. Ma Shulan, 85, had also been targeted for practicing Falun Gong. Ms. Kang was given one and a half years of forced labor in 2001. She was arrested again on November 21, 2004 for talking to people about Falun Gong on the street. She was sentenced to three years and suffered brutal abuse at the Sichuan Province Women’s Prison. By the time she was released in 2007, she had developed mental disorders as a result of the abuse. She never recovered and developed high blood pressure, kidney failure and brain bleeding around 2009. She died in 2012, at the age of 48.
Ms. Kang’s mother-in-law, Ms. Ma, was arrested three times over the years and served one and a half years in a labor camp for practicing Falun Gong. She had been living with Mr. Zhang before his arrest. Her son’s recent sentencing has left her living alone despite her advanced age.
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