(Minghui.org) A total of 56 cases of law-abiding Chinese citizens sentenced for their faith in Falun Gong were reported in February 2024.

The newly confirmed cases included one in 2021 and 2022 each, 34 in 2023, 11 in 2024, and 9 cases with unknown years. With ever more strict information censorship under the Chinese Communist Party, many details about the practitioners’ indictment, hearings and trials weren’t obtained, which caused further delay in reporting, on top of the difficulties collecting information about the practitioners’ prison sentences in the first place.

The sentenced Falun Gong practitioners came from 12 provinces or centrally controlled municipalities. Compared to the sentencing cases reported in January 2024, Shandong and Jilin remained the top two provinces, with the most cases of 12 and 10 respectively. The remaining ten regions had between 1 and 8 cases.

The practitioners’ prison terms ranged from six months to nine years, with an average of three years and four months. Nine practitioners were fined between 1,000 and 30,000 yuan, and the average fine was 13,375 yuan per person. Six practitioners were given probation and five practitioners’ term lengths are still unknown.

Among the 29 practitioners whose ages were known at the time of sentencing, 8 were in their 50s, 10 in their 60s, 9 in their 70s and 2 in their 80s. A 67-year-old woman in Shandong Province was sentenced to eight years. A 54-year-old woman in Sichuan Province was given seven years after having spent nearly 16 years behind bars. A 72-year-old man not only received a 3.5-year term, but also had his pension suspended.

The following are snapshots of select sentencing cases. The full list of sentenced practitioners can be downloaded here (PDF).


Wrongful Sentences Delivered by the Rubber-Stamp Judiciary System

Private School Owner Sentenced to Over Three Years for Practicing Falun Gong

Mr. Zhang Xuefu, a private school owner in Sanhe City, Hebei Province, was sentenced to three years and two months on January 29, 2024. He has appealed the verdict and is now awaiting the result.

Mr. Zhang, 51, was arrested on July 14, 2023. The Sanhe City Procuratorate approved his arrest 13 days later and moved his case to the Sanhe City Court on October 27, just a month after receiving the case from the police.

Mr. Zhang appeared in the Sanhe City Court on January 5, 2024. Only his daughter, older sister and younger brother were allowed into the courtroom. His other relatives and friends were stopped at the door, as the bailiff claimed that they had to apply for permission beforehand in order to attend the hearing.

Mr. Zhang’s two lawyers entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. He also testified in his own defense. They argued that no law has ever criminalized Falun Gong in China, and that the Falun Gong materials Mr. Zhang had were his lawful assets. They said that he didn’t violate any law or harm anyone by having or distributing Falun Gong informational materials.

Prosecutor Xu Lei recommended a prison term of three years and two months, which was exactly what Mr. Zhang’s family heard from an insider at the procuratorate three months before when he was indicted. When he was indeed given the exact same prison sentence, it became obvious to his family that his term was pre-determined by the higher-ups.

Mr. Zhang taught at the Shengjiatun Elementary School and the Sanhe City No. 14 Middle School before starting his own private school, which now boasts three campuses. He was formerly known as a dominant, impulsive, and chauvinistic man, but he turned into a humble, considerate, and kind person after he took up Falun Gong in 2015. When his school had to shut down during the pandemic, he took out a loan to continue paying his faculty and staff.

Mr. Zhang credits Falun Gong for giving him a big heart and curing his facial paralysis. Because of this, he distributed Falun Gong informational materials to inform the public that Falun Gong was nothing like what is depicted in the communist regime’s hate propaganda.

In a letter to presiding judge Shi Shaolin, Mr. Zhang’s sister wrote, “My younger brother use to be a difficult person who often argued with others and he went out drinking a lot. His wife nearly divorced him.

“Because of the frequent drinking, my brother suffered severe gastric perforation and ulcer. He also had facial paralysis. He saw many doctors in Beijing, but none of them were able to cure him. He later began to practice Falun Gong and soon recovered. He changed into a different person. He quit drinking and stopped fighting with his wife. It’s Falun Gong that gave my brother a healthy body and a happy family. That’s the reason why he persists in practicing it.”

But despite the lack of legal basis for the persecution or any evidence to show how Mr. Zhang had violated the law, the authorities still handed down the predetermined prison sentence.

Mr. Zhang Xuefu

Two Chongqing Residents, Aged 49 and 72, Lose Appeals of Lengthy Prison Terms

The Chongqing No. 1 Intermediate Court ruled on December 13, 2023 to uphold the wrongful convictions of two local residents for their shared faith in Falun Gong.

Mr. Wang Hong, 49, and Ms. Dai Shufang, 72, who were arrested on September 20, 2022, appeared in a virtual hearing by the Jiangbei District Court on May 19, 2023. The court returned the case to the Jiangbei District Procuratorate citing insufficient evidence. It was unclear whether the procuratorate submitted any additional evidence, but the court sentenced Mr. Wang and Ms. Dai on August 18, 2023 without holding another hearing.

Mr. Wang was given a 9-year prison term, and Ms. Dai 8.5 years. Both were also fined 15,000 yuan. They filed appeals with the Chongqing No. 1 Intermediate Court. Mr. Wang reiterated in his appeal that no law has criminalized Falun Gong or declared it a cult. He requested that his guilty verdict be overturned because he had not broken any law by practicing and spreading information about his faith. One of his relatives applied to be his non-lawyer family defender, but was rejected.

The intermediate court issued a ruling on December 13, 2023 to uphold the wrongful convictions of Mr. Wang and Ms. Dai.

Ms. Dai is likely still being held at the Jiangbei District Detention Center after losing her appeal. Mr. Wang, who had been held at the same detention center since his arrest, was transferred to the Yongchuan Prison without his family’s knowledge, on an unknown date. It took his loved ones much effort to find out about his prison transfer. They requested to visit him but were rejected. The prison said that all newly-admitted Falun Gong practitioners were put in strict management and had no right to family visits.

The prison is notorious for abusing Falun Gong practitioners jailed there for upholding their faith. Most practitioners are held in Division Ten or Division Twelve, which in May 2018 both set up “transformation” bases aimed to “transform” practitioners and make them give up their spiritual belief. Other prisons across Chongqing began sending male practitioners who refused to renounce their faith to the two bases.

Four inmates are usually assigned to watch each practitioner around the clock. They restrict the practitioner’s sleep, food intake, and purchase of daily necessities. They also force the practitioner to sit on a small stool and watch, read, or listen to anti-Falun Gong materials all day long. If he refuses to comply, he is subjected to various forms of torture, including pepper spray, electric shock, and brutal beatings.

While Mr. Wang’s family was not told which division he is being held at, they knew that he was previously abused while serving a 4-year term at the same prison, also for practicing Falun Gong.

Beijing Court Lied to Falun Gong Practitioners’ Families about Their Prison Sentences and Deceive Them into Dropping Appeals Lawyers

At least 30 Falun Gong practitioners in Beijing were arrested in July 2022 during a police sweep, four months before the 20th Party Congress was held on October 16-22. Most of the practitioners had their homes ransacked. Many more were harassed and ordered to sign statements renouncing Falun Gong.

Four practitioners, including Ms. Dong Xiurong, Ms. Liu Yuhong, Ms. Liu Xing, and Ms. Jin Shuying, had their arrests approved around September 2, 2022. The Daxing District Court notified their families around April 2023 that they were sentenced to prison: Ms. Liu Yuhong was sentenced to two years, Ms. Liu Xing was sentenced to one year and nine months, Ms. Dong was sentenced to one year and four months, and Ms. Jin was sentenced to one year.

The practitioners’ families hired appeals lawyers for them, but the court deceived them into dropping the lawyers, by claiming the practitioners would be released soon given their “light” sentences. The families thus dismissed the lawyers.

Ms. Jin’s family realized something was wrong in July 2023 when she was not released as scheduled. They later found out around December 2023 that the court lied about the prison terms given to her and the other three practitioners. Ms. Jin, Ms. Liu Yuhong, and Ms. Liu Xing were all given four and a half years and fined 5,000 yuan, while Ms. Dong was sentenced to four years and fined 4,000 yuan.

Although Ms. Dong’s family managed to file an appeal on her behalf, the Beijing Intermediate Court rejected it at an unknown date. Her family were not allowed to visit her until around January 2024. They noticed that she was in poor health and are looking into applying for medical parole for her.


Repeated Persecution

After Nearly 16 Years Behind Bars, Sichuan Woman Secretly Sentenced to Another 7 Years

Ms. Hu Yurong, 54, from Qu County, Sichuan Province, was secretly sentenced to seven years for practicing Falun Gong. Since her arrest on April 24, 2020, the police kept her family in the dark regarding her case status. Her loved ones only managed to find out in late January 2024 about her prison sentence and learned that she is now held at the Chengdu Women’s Prison. They still do not know where she was held before her prison transfer or when she was indicted, tried, or sentenced.

This is not the first time Ms. Hu has been targeted for her faith. She was previously incarcerated for a total of nearly 16 years, including two forced labor terms of 6 months and 2 years, as well as two prison sentences of 5 and 7 years.

When she was held in the Nanmusi Women’s Forced Labor Camp in 2008, the guards instigated the inmates to beat her, deprive her of sleep, and deny her restroom use. The guards also held her in solitary confinement, tied up her hands and feet, and hung her up by her wrists. She was starved for six days. The guards also forced her to wear shorts in the winter and kneel for 24 hours.

Retired Elementary School Teacher Sentenced to 4.5 Years Following 16th Arrest

Mr. Gao Ke, a retired elementary school teacher of Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province, was arrested on September 14, 2022 for distributing calendars bearing information about Falun Gong. Although he was released on bail days later due to high blood pressure, the police started to call him from February 2023 and ordered him to report to the procuratorate. He refused to go and left home to hide from the police. The police and the local street committee workers harassed his wife and son instead. They also posted officers outside his apartment building to monitor everyone who entered or exited the building.

Mr. Gao’s family lost contact with him on June 16, 2023 and later learned he’d been arrested that day when he ran into a police officer who knew him during grocery shopping.

At the Yaziquan Detention Center, the guards assigned two inmates to watch him around the clock. The inmates beat Mr. Gao and did not allow him to use the restroom or talk to others without their permission. He went on a hunger strike in protest and was force-fed on the seventh day. He went into shock during the force-feeding and was rushed to a hospital. Despite his serious condition, the detention center guards checked him out of the hospital four days later. He was incapacitated and needed support to use the restroom.

Mr. Gao was later sentenced to four and a half years and transferred to the Hulan Prison. The details of his trial, sentencing, and prison transfer remain to be investigated.

Mr. Gao’s latest two arrests and subsequent prison sentence were preceded by 14 prior arrests (which resulted in five terms of forced labor). He was either denied admission or released ahead of time during each labor camp term because he was either in poor health or had been tortured to critical condition.

Eight Years After Husband’s Persecution Death, Disabled Woman Sentenced to Six Years for Their Shared Faith

Ms. Di Lianxia, a Linjiang City, Jilin Province resident, was sentenced to six years in prison in January 2024 for practicing Falun Gong. Around the same time of her arrest on July 6, 2023, the police also harassed her mother and raided her home, though it’s unknown whether her mother also practices Falun Gong. Ms. Di was held at the Xinshi Police Station for a few hours and released later that night.

When the police summoned Ms. Di on July 12 to the police station, she decided to live away from home to avoid the persecution. She returned home in early August, only to be arrested again. Her family confirmed her prison sentence in late January 2024, but details about her indictment, trial, and sentencing are unknown.

Ms. Di, who has been disabled since childhood due to polio, wasn’t the only one in her family who has been persecuted for practicing Falun Gong. Her husband, Mr. Wang Mingzhi, also a practitioner, served two labor camp terms between 2000 and 2002. He endured relentless torture in custody. Due to his damaged health, he was rejected admission by the forced labor camp when given the third labor camp term in 2011. He passed away on May 20, 2016.

Mr. Wang Mingzhi


Elderly Practitioners Targeted

67-Year-Old Shandong Woman Sentenced to 8-Year Prison Term

Ms. Zhang Shanjuan, a 67-year-old retiree in Rizhao City, Shandong Province, was sentenced to an eight-year prison term in November 2023 for her faith in Falun Gong.

Ms. Zhang was arrested in May 2021 while distributing Falun Gong informational materials. The police took her to a local detention center that night, where she was denied admission after being found to have abnormal heart rhythm and a systolic blood pressure reading of 220 mmHg (when a normal range is no more than 120). She was then released on bail.

Ms. Zhang’s case was later assigned to Wulian County, which is under the administration of Rizhao City. In the next few years, the Huanghai Road Police Station, the Wulian County Procuratorate, and the Wulian County Court kept harassing her, and threatened to sentence her to eight years. They attempted many times to take her back into custody but she always failed the required physical examinations.

The Wulian County Court eventually sentenced Ms. Zhang to an eight-year term in November 2023. She was immediately admitted to a prison. It is unclear when she was indicted or tried. Her family was also not told which prison she is being jailed in.

Three Elderly Guizhou Women, in Their 70s and 80s, Sentenced to 2 and 2.5 Years

Three woman in Guiyang City, Guizhou Province, were sentenced to prison in December 2023 for practicing Falun Gong. Ms. Wang Guoxiu, in her 70s, was given two and a half years. Ms. Jin Yunbin, 84, and Ms. Zhang Changyun, in her 80s, were each given two years. All three were allowed to serve time outside of prison.

Their sentencing stemmed from police raids of their homes in early October 2022, before the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party was set to begin on October 16 that year. The communist regime usually intensifies its persecution of Falun Gong practitioners around politically sensitive dates, in order to prevent the practitioners from raising awareness about the persecution.

When Ms. Wang returned from grocery shopping on October 7, 2022, her home was in a big mess. She thought a thief broke in. Her husband told her the police came that morning and raided their home around 10 a.m. He heard knocking on the door. When he opened it, seven or eight officers barged in. They confiscated Ms. Wang’s Falun Gong books, one portrait of Falun Gong’s founder and two music players. Ms. Jin’s and Ms. Zhang’s homes were raided the next day.

The police did not arrest the three women in October 2022, but took them into custody separately in the first half of 2023. Ms. Wang was first seized by a plainclothes officer at a farmers’ market on April 7, 2023 when the officer spotting her talking to people about Falun Gong. Ms. Zhang and Ms. Jin were arrested in May 2023 and were also held in custody for about one month.

Around 2 p.m. on August 10, 2023, the three women were interrogated at their respective homes by people from the Huaxi District Court and the Huaxi District Procuratorate, as well as the police and local street committees. The police threatened to sentence the three women to prison for talking to vendors about Falun Gong at the local farmers’ market. They were indeed sentenced in December 2023.

79-Year-Old Liaoning Woman Secretly Sentenced to Three Years for Telling People about Falun Gong

The family of 79-year-old Ms. Sun Xiuzhen, who lives in Yingkou City, Liaoning Province, learned in February 2024 that she was admitted to the Liaoning Province Women’s Prison to serve a three-year term for practicing Falun Gong.

Ms. Sun was arrested on July 6, 2020, for talking to people about Falun Gong at a community fair. She was released on bail after seven days of detention. The police later submitted her case to the Bayuquan District Procuratorate.

The Bayuquan District Court summoned Ms. Sun on November 29, 2021, and informed her that she was scheduled to appear in the Zhanqian District Court in Yingkou City on December 14. To avoid being prosecuted, Ms. Sun left home and stayed in a rental place. Two years later she was arrested on the afternoon of August 20, 2023. The police did not inform her family of her arrest and they had to ask around to find out where she was.

Ms. Sun’s family confirmed in mid-February 2024 that she was sentenced to three years and was transferred from the Yingkou City Detention Center to the Liaoning Province Women’s Prison. But details about her sentencing and prison transfer aren’t clear.

Guangdong Grandmother Becomes 20th Falun Gong Practitioner Sentenced for Their Faith by Same Court Since 2020

Ms. Zhao Dexiu, of Jieyang City, Guangdong Province, was arrested at home on June 19, 2023, after being reported for talking to people about Falun Gong. The police also seized her one-year-old granddaughter, who she was babysitting. Her son and daughter-in-law returned to an empty home and realized she had been arrested after going through their home surveillance camera and seeing an officer turning the camera to a different direction. It became clear to the couple that the police were trying to avoid being recorded arresting Ms. Zhao.

The Jiedong City Court tried Ms. Zhao on November 24, 2023 and convicted her a few weeks later. The same court had previously sentenced at least 19 other local practitioners since 2020 for practicing Falun Gong.


Livelihood Affected by the Persecution

Oil Production Plant Driver Sentenced to Prison and Fired from His Job

Mr. Wang Yanming, a Daqing City, Heilongjiang Province resident, was sentenced to 3.5 years after a hearing in September 2023. He didn’t only lose the appeal, but also his job.

Mr. Wang, 54, was arrested on June 28, 2023 at his workplace, the Daqing No. 10 Oil Production Plant. Officers of the High-tech Development Zone Domestic Security Office claimed that a surveillance camera recorded him putting up self-adhesive posters about Falun Gong near his home. The police questioned him about where he got the materials. He refused to answer and was arrested.

The police raided Mr. Wang’s home and confiscated his Falun Gong books, several Falun Gong bookmarks and some informational DVDs. They threatened his family that these materials were enough to get him sentenced. They also ordered his family to pressure Mr. Wang to give up practicing Falun Gong. Mr. Wang didn’t budge.

The High-tech Development Zone Procuratorate approved Mr. Wang’s arrest on July 25. Prosecutor Yang Jie was assigned to handle his case.

During the hearing by the High-tech Development Zone Court on September 25, none of Mr. Wang’s family was present. It’s not clear whether the court didn’t inform them of the hearing or they weren’t allowed to attend. Mr. Wang was sentenced to 3.5 years with a 20,000-yuan fine. He appealed with the Daqing City Intermediate Court, which ruled to uphold his original verdict on November 8, 2023.

The leadership at the Daqing No. 10 Oil Production Plant fired Mr. Wang on January 18, 2024. He is still held at the Daqing City Second Detention Center at the time of writing.

72-Year-Old Hebei Man Sentenced to 3.5 Years for Practicing Falun Gong, Pension Suspended

Mr. Wang Zhong, 72, from Kuancheng Manchu Autonomous County, Hebei Province was sent to the Tangshan Prison on February 3, 2024 to serve a 3.5-year term for his faith in Falun Gong.

Mr. Wang was arrested on May 4, 2023 after being reported for talking to two students about Falun Gong. The police had the local social security office suspend his pension one month later.

The Chengde County Court sentenced Mr. Wang to three and a half years at an unknown date. He was transferred from the Kuancheng Manchu Autonomous County Detention Center to the Tangshan Prison on February 3, 2024.

This is not the first time Mr. Wang has been targeted for his faith, which he credits for curing his rheumatic skin diseases and tachycardia (fast heart rate). He was previously arrested numerous times and brutally tortured each time.

While he was serving a three-year forced labor term from October 2004 to October 2007, he was once force fed unknown drugs. Another time he was stripped of his clothing and shocked with electric batons on sensitive body parts. The guards also used cigarette butts to burn his face and neck, and beat him with multiple spiked glue sticks until he lost consciousness. He became deaf in both ears and lost feeling in his legs below his knees. His vision acuity dropped from 20/13 to 20/200. He still has not recovered from some of the torture-induced damage to his health.

Mr. Wang was given one year of forced labor following yet another arrest on May 13, 2011, but he was denied admission to the local labor camp due to his poor health. He was then ordered to serve time outside of the labor camp. His employer, the People’s Bank of China, suspended his pay during that one year term.


Targeted for Speaking Out

Heilongjiang Woman Sentenced to Four Years for Talking to a Boy About Falun Gong

Ms. Gu Chunying, a 60-year-old Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province resident, talked to a boy about Falun Gong around mid-July 2023. After the boy’s parents found out about it, they reported Ms. Gu to the police. She was arrested at home on July 19, 2023.

Prosecutor Li Qian of the Acheng District Procuratorate called Ms. Gu’s lawyer on December 27, 2023, saying that she had indicted Ms. Gu and moved her case to the Acheng District Court. In addition to charging her with talking to the boy about Falun Gong, Li also cited her other arrest on July 21, 2022 for raising awareness about the persecution. She was given five days of administrative detention and had her home raided after the 2022 arrest. Due to pandemic control measures, she was exempted from serving the detention term and released.

Ms. Gu’s lawyer was notified by the court on February 4, 2024 that she had been sentenced to four years in prison. It’s not clear whether a trial was ever held.

65-Year-Old Shandong Resident Sentenced to Two Years for Distributing Falun Gong Materials

Mr. Wang Yuezhong, a 65-year-old resident of Jinan City, Shandong Province, has filed an appeal after he was sentenced to two years in January 2024.

Mr. Wang, a native of Chifeng City, Inner Mongolia, moved in with his daughter’s family in Jinan a few years back. On August 31, 2022, the police in Jinan knocked on his daughter’s door and demanded to check the family’s COVID-19 test results.

Mr. Wang believed them and opened the door, only to see the police barge in and raid the home without showing a search warrant. The officers confiscated his Falun Gong books and a large amount of household items. They also took away an article he wrote about how Falun Gong cured his severe heart disease, lumbar strain (injury to lower back), frequent colds and fevers, and stomach problems after he took up the practice in May 1996.

Mr. Wang’s daughter demanded to know the reason for her father’s arrest and the police said that they received a tip from Han Guangzhen, a resident living in Building 232 in Huaiyin District, who saw from his home surveillance videos that Mr. Wang distributed Falun Gong informational materials in the building.

The police released Mr. Wang on bail on September 1, 2022 after his daughter paid 3,000 yuan bail bond.

The Huaiyin District Police Department deceived Mr. Wang into going to their office on August 2, 2023 by claiming that they needed him to sign some paperwork to close his case. As soon as he arrived, they seized him and took him to a local detention center to serve a 14-day detention term. It was unclear whether they released him on the 15th day, but they submitted his case to the Huaiyin District Procuratorate on that day. The procuratorate issued an arrest warrant against him and later forwarded his case to the Changqing District Procuratorate, which has been designated to handle Falun Gong cases in Jinan.

Mr. Wang stood trial at the Changqing District Court on December 19, 2023 and was sentenced to two years in January 2024.

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