(Minghui.org) According to information collected by Minghui.org, 73 cases of Falun Gong practitioners sentenced for their faith were reported in March 2024.

The newly confirmed cases included one in 2019 and 2020 each, 4 in 2022, 25 in 2023, 31 in 2024, and 11 cases with unknown occurrence years. With ever stricter information censorship under the Chinese Communist Party, many details about the practitioners’ indictment, trial, and sentencing were difficult (if not impossible) to collect, which caused further delay in reporting.

The sentenced Falun Gong practitioners came from 19 provinces or centrally controlled municipalities. Jilin reported the most cases of 13, followed by 11 in Shandong, 7 in Liaoning, and 6 in Sichuan. The remaining 15 regions had between 1 and 4 cases.

The practitioners’ terms ranged from 6 months to 8 years, with an average of three years and three months. Among the 33 practitioners whose ages were known at the time of sentencing, one was around 30, 2 were in their 40s, 7 in their 50s, 12 in their 60s, 9 in their 70s and 2 in their 80s. The practitioners came from all walks of life, including a computer shop owner, a shoe shop owner, a former middle school teacher and a former air force director.


Case Highlights

– Ms. Lyu Yongzhen, a 69-year-old resident of Liaoyuan City, Jilin Province, was sentenced to three years. Prior to her latest sentencing, she had spent 12 years in custody, including three years of forced labor and nine years in prison.

– Mr. Duan Zhisheng, a factory worker in Botou City, Hebei Province, was sentenced to 16 months for posting information about Falun Gong on WeChat.

– Ms. Zhang Juhong, a 54-year-old resident in Guiyang City, Guizhou Province, was given a 7.5-year term for putting up aNew Year’s decoration on her window.

– Ms. Dong Liping, of Gaizhou City, Liaoning Province, experienced declining health in custody. She needed help walking upstairs to the courtroom when she stood trial on December 27, 2023. The judge kept her handcuffed and shackled during the entire hearing. She was sentenced to 1.5 years shortly after.

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


Case of the Month

Father of Four Wrongfully Sentenced for His Faith, Deprived of Many Legal Rights

Mr. Wen Yongshu, a Kunming City, Yunnan Province, resident, was sentenced to three years with a 5,000-yuan fine in late February 2024. He has appealed with the Kunming City Intermediate Court. His wife, Ms. Dong Kaizhen, also filed complaints against the judiciary officials involved in his case for wrongfully prosecuting him for his faith.

Ms. Dong said her world collapsed after her husband’s arrest. She married Mr. Wen after he got divorced and her first husband died of an illness. They each had a daughter from their previous marriages. Mr. Wen had also adopted an abandoned girl years ago. Mr. Wen and Ms. Dong had a son together later on.

Ms. Dong praised Mr. Wen for being a hands-on father to their four children and a filial son to his elderly parents (his father is blind in both eyes, and his mother is blind in her left eye and suffers from high blood pressure and diabetes).

After Mr. Wen’s arrest, Ms. Dong and her three daughters sought his release, but to no avail. Her son, an elementary school student around 10 years old, cried for his father every day.

Violent Arrest and Home Ransacking

Mr. Wen, 56, used to work at the Southwest Instrument Factory and also taught at Yunnan Mechanical and Electrical Vocational and Technical College. According to Ms. Dong, she was having lunch with one of their three daughters at home around 1 p.m. on July 31, 2023, when they heard the sound of Mr. Wen’s motorcycle, signaling that he was back for lunch. When he still didn’t come inside after 20 minutes, they looked into the peephole on the front door to check the situation in the hallway.

Upon seeing many people outside, Mr. Wen’s daughter opened the door, thinking they were her father’s friends. About 15 officers barged in, with only two of them wearing police uniform. Mr. Wen was also brought inside, still wearing his motorcycle helmet. Two plainclothes officers held his arms tightly and didn’t allow him to move.

Ms. Dong and their daughter were terrified. As Ms. Dong was still wearing pajamas, she tried to get changed in her bedroom, but was stopped by the police.

The police searched everywhere, leaving a mess at the couple’s place. Mr. Wen’s daughter asked if they had a search warrant. The police said yes, but without showing anything. They also claimed they were searching each and every apartment unit in the building.

Ms. Dong asked the officers where they came from. She demanded to see their IDs and have their phone numbers. The police refused to answer, but dared her to call 110 (the general police emergency number in China). She kept asking for their specific information and the police finally revealed that they were with the Jinning District Domestic Security Office.

The police spent the next three hours searching every corner of Mr. Wen’s home, confiscating his Falun Gong related items, flash-drive, books, photos, cellphone, keys and motorcycle, as well as his daughter’s tablet and Ms. Dong’s purse.

The police ordered Mr. Wen to confirm the confiscated items were his, but without providing a formal list as required by law. When the police were carrying the items downstairs, Ms. Dong chased them and demanded that they return her home keys, office key and her daughter’s tablet, which is needed for her schoolwork. The police relented after a long standoff. When Mr. Wen’s daughter came downstairs, she was blocked at the building exit by two plainclothes officers.

During the three-hour raid, Mr. Wen was held tightly by the police, not allowed to eat or drink. The police didn’t allow him to remove his helmet and also watched him when he used the restroom.

Daughter Interrogated

When the police took Mr. Wen away, they gave Ms. Dong the phone number “+86-871-67802808.” But when she called the number to inquire about his case, she only got a voice message saying, “This is the environmental supervision department.” She realised that the police had deceived her and given her a wrong number.

On August 2, 2023, after three days of constant inquiring, Ms. Dong confirmed that her husband’s case was handled by the Kunyang Police Station. She rushed to the police station with her mother-in-law, son and all three daughters, only to be told that the Jinning District Domestic Security Office was in charge of his case.

The family went to the Jinning District Domestic Security Office, but only Ms. Dong and her youngest daughter, Ms. Wen Qing, in her 20s, were allowed inside. Ms. Dong asked the police why they gave her the wrong number. Officer Qiu Xueyan denied that it was wrong. Ms. Wen called the number immediately. Qiu remained silent when their office phone didn’t ring.

Qiu held Ms. Dong and Ms. Wen in different rooms and interrogated them separately. Ms. Dong remained silent at officer Li’s questions. Upon realising that Qiu was interrogating her daughter next door, she rushed over and knocked on the door, worrying that Qiu might torture her daughter in order to collect information against her father. Qiu opened the door, but refused to allow Ms. Dong to read the interrogation record.

While Mr. Wen’s mother and son were anxiously waiting outside, an officer came out and told them that Mr. Wen had been transferred to the Jinning District Detention Center a day ago and they had also mailed the family a letter about it.

When Ms. Dong and Ms. Wen came out moments later, the family went to the detention center. Ms. Wen said that Qiu searched her and took away her audio recorder. He also deceived her into talking about her father’s Falun Gong practice. When the family arrived at the detention center, it was already after work hours and no one received them.

The family returned to the detention center at 10 a.m. the next day and confirmed that Mr. Wen was indeed detained there. They also received his detention letter from the police on the same day.


On October 25, 2023, prosecutor Zhang Yanlin of the Xishan District Procuratorate called Ms. Dong and asked her if they would hire a lawyer for him. (Zhang repeatedly refused to reveal her name, but Ms. Dong managed to confirm her name later on.)

Ms. Dong went to the procuratorate the next morning and gave Zhang her complaint against the police and her letters demanding Zhang to dismiss her husband’s case and release him. Zhang’s assistant, Xu Haidong, was also present. (Xu also refused to reveal his name, but the family saw his name on the verdict.) Zhang again asked her whether she was hiring a lawyer; otherwise she would have the justice bureau appoint a lawyer for him.

As the family couldn’t afford to hire a lawyer, Ms. Dong applied to be his family non-lawyer defender. She also went to the detention centre to get his signature on the paperwork.

Ms. Dong went to the procuratorate again on October 30, 2023 and urged Zhang to dismiss his case and return confiscated items. Zhang still refused to tell Ms. Dong her name when being asked. She insisted that it’s impossible for her not to indict Mr. Wen and that she wouldn’t return the confiscated items.

Ms. Dong submitted her requests again on November 6, 2023 and Zhang still said no to all. Zhang also blocked Ms. Dong from reviewing her husband’s case file or visiting him. Zhang claimed that only lawyers would be allowed to review the case file as they wouldn’t reveal it to the public. She claimed that she did not trust Ms. Dong as the latter might expose Mr. Wen’s persecution to the outside world. Ms. Dong demanded to know the legal basis for Zhang’s claim, but Zhang couldn’t produce it. She used the same reason to deny Ms. Dong’s request to visit Mr. Wen before leaving in a hurry.

Zhang indicted Mr. Wen on November 16, 2023, with the charge of “undermining law enforcement with a cult organisation.” She refused to provide a copy of the indictment to Ms. Dong but directed her to the judge instead.

Legal Representation Obstructed

As soon as Mr. Wen’s case was moved to the Xishan District Court in mid-December 2023, Ms. Dong contacted judge Pu Huijun in charge of his case as his family defender. With her persistent requests, the judge finally provided a copy of his indictment. She also demanded the judge to allow her to review his case file and visit him, as well as to return the confiscated items and exclude them from his prosecution evidence. Pu ignored her requests.

On January 10, 2024, Mr. Wen’s family hired a lawyer for him. When the lawyer and Ms. Dong went to the court to review his case file, judge Pu still denied Ms. Dong’s request to visit her husband or communicate with him in other forms. He allowed the lawyer to review and make copies of the case file, but not Ms. Dong. He again refused to return the confiscated items or exclude them from prosecution evidence.

While the lawyer was reviewing Mr. Wen’s case file, the judge and bailiff forced Ms. Dong to turn in her cellphone and delete all audio recordings in it. They claimed that since Mr. Wen already had a lawyer, she could no longer be his family defender, even when the Chinese law allows the defendant to have up to two defenders.

Not satisfied with the lawyer’s performance, Ms. Dong dismissed him on January 11, 2024, but hired a friend to represent her husband as a non-lawyer defender. Although the law allows a friend to be one’s non-lawyer defender, judge Pu insisted for the friend to demonstrate his family relationship with Mr. Wen, claiming that only a family member could be his non-lawyer defender. Even after Ms. Dong obtained a letter to demonstrate the friend relationship according to the law, judge Pu still barred him from representing Mr. Wen and only accepted his written defense statement.

Court Hearing and Sentence

Judge Pu held a hearing of Mr. Wen’s case on January 30, 2024, without allowing his friend to defend him in court as a non-lawyer defender. Upon finding out that the friend had entered the court and passed the security screening, the police forcibly removed him from the courthouse and didn’t allow him to re-enter.

Meanwhile, Ms. Dong was re-granted the seat of Mr. Wen’s family defender. Only she and their oldest daughter, Ms. Wen Xin, were allowed to attend the hearing. All other relatives and friends who came to support Mr. Wen were stopped at the entrance of the court and watched by the police until the end of the hearing.

Ms. Dong requested at least five times for judge Pu to show the legal basis for his claim that Falun Gong was a cult, but Pu repeatedly ignored her. Neither he nor prosecutor Zhang provided any information about which law’s enforcement was undermined by Mr. Wen.

Prosecutor Zhang only described the evidence, but without showing the real items in court. Zhang also read an interrogation account of Mr. Wen’s youngest daughter about her father’s practicing of Falun Gong, despite the fact that the account wasn’t included in Mr. Wen’s case file. Ms. Dong argued that her daughter was forced to provide the information after being terrified by the police. And it’s her husband’s freedom of belief to practice Falun Gong, which didn’t violate any law.

No witness was present to accept cross examination either. Ms. Dong demanded the prosecutor to exhibit the evidence and the judge to summon the witnesses, but to no avail.

Ms. Dong demanded many times to read her defense statement, but was rejected by judge Pu. Only during the closing argument section did Pu allow her to read it, but he stopped her after she only read the opening. Mr. Wen’s own defense was repeatedly interrupted by Pu as well, who also barred him from making a closing statement.

Judge Pu sentenced Mr. Wen to three years with a 5,000-yuan fine on February 20, 2024.


Sentencing of Elderly Practitioners

77-Year-Old Woman Sentenced to One Year for Practicing Falun Gong

Ms. Yang Suxia, a 77-year-old woman in Hanzhong City, Shaanxi Province, was deceived by the police into signing a deposition against herself and later sentenced to one year in prison without a trial.

Ms. Yang’s ordeal stemmed from an incident in October 2021, when a police officer surnamed Xu contacted her and said that a surveillance camera recorded her putting Falun Gong materials on a car. She explained that she simply wanted to help more people understand Falun Gong and benefit from it as she did. Her high blood pressure and high cholesterol were both gone after she took up Falun Gong years ago. The practice also helped her cope with the death of her husband.

Taking advantage of Ms. Yang’s advanced age and limited knowledge about the legal process, Xu deceived her into writing a deposition and he instructed her to sign her name.

Ms. Yang thought it was the end of the case. But eight months later in June 2022, she suddenly received a notice from the police, which stated that she was given five days of administrative detention for “using a cult organisation to disrupt social order on March 4, 2021.” But she was exempted from serving the detention term because she was over 70. The notice further indicted that she was placed on house arrest.

It dawned on Ms. Yang that she had been deceived by Xu into signing paperwork that incriminated her. She wrote to the local government and judiciary agencies, emphasising that she didn’t violate any laws by practicing Falun Gong or telling people about it.

Instead of having her complaint addressed, Ms. Yang was visited by Zheng Bo of the Hantai District Court, as well as officer Xu and several residential committee staffers, at her home in early February 2024 shortly after the Chinese New Year. Zhang announced that she was sentenced to one year in prison. They deceived her, and said that as long as she signed the verdict, she would be allowed to serve time at home given her advanced age. Intimidated by the officers, Ms. Yang signed the verdict.

Ms. Yang was taken into custody at the Hantai District Detention Centre on March 7, 2024. She underwent a physical examination and applied to be released on parole due to her health. It’s not clear whether her application was approved.

Woman in Her 70s Gets Six Years for Filing a Complaint Against the Police for Holding Her Falun Gong Books and ID

Ms. Sun Shuyun, a Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province, resident in her 70s, was taken to the Heilongjiang Province Women’s Prison on February 9, 2024 to serve a six-year term for practicing Falun Gong.

Since the Chinese communist regime began to persecute Falun Gong in 1999, Ms. Sun was arrested more than ten times. Following an arrest in July 2022, the police took away her Falun Gong books, portrait of Falun Gong’s founder, and her ID. Three months later in October 2022, the police began to monitor her daily activities.

Ms. Sun repeatedly urged the police not to participate in the persecution and sought the return of her ID and Falun Gong related items, but to no avail. To seek justice, she filed a complaint against Yu You of the Xinyi Street Police Station with the Daowai District Procuratorate. Instead of seeing her case addressed, Ms. Sun was arrested on May 20, 2023 and her arrest was approved by the procuratorate five days later. The police told her sister that they arrested her in retaliation for her complaint against Yu.

While she was held in the Harbin City Second Detention Centre, Ms. Sun started a hunger strike on June 14 to protest the persecution. She also refused to wear the inmate’s uniform or follow the guard’s order to sit on a small stool for hours on end, a common torture method used in Chinese detention centres and prisons.

Ms. Sun’s sister went to the Daowai District Procuratorate on July 3, 2023 to ask about her case. Prosecutor Shao Mengnan said they were angry that Ms. Sun dared to go on a hunger strike in protest.

Prosecutor Shao indicted Ms. Sun in August and moved her case to the Daowai District Court. When Ms. Sun’s lawyer visited her on August 3, she had resumed eating. According to the lawyer, she only weighed 66 lbs, and her hands and feet were numb, but her overall mental condition was good.

The Daowai District Court held a hearing of Ms. Sun’s case on September 4, 2023. Presiding judge Chen Zhongyan only allowed two of her family members into the courtroom. Ms. Sun’s lawyer entered a not guilty plea for her. She also testified in her own defense. The session was adjourned in thirty minutes.

The judge sentenced Ms. Sun to six years on November 25, 2023. She was transferred to the prison on February 9, 2024, the eve of Chinese New Year.


Sentenced for Speaking Out

Hebei Man Secretly Sentenced to Prison for Posting Information about Falun Gong on WeChat

Mr. Duan Zhisheng, a factory worker in Botou City, Hebei Province, was arrested at work on July 3, 2023. The police said they arrested him because he posted information about Falun Gong on WeChat using his cellphone. The local court held a secret hearing of his case and sentenced him to 16 months in the Tangshan Prison without informing his family.

Mr. Duan isn’t the only Botou resident who was convicted for posting information on WeChat about Falun Gong. Another resident, Mr. Li Bin, was arrested at his home on April 28, 2021 by the Internet police in Henan Province and was later sentenced to 7.5 years for sending messages on WeChat about the persecution of Falun Gong.

Guizhou Woman Sentenced to 7.5 Years for Putting up New Year Decoration on Her Window

Just 21 months after a Guiyang City, Guizhou Province, resident finished serving 4.5 years for her faith in Falun Gong, she was arrested again and sentenced to 7.5 years, for putting up the word “fu” (福, or luck) on her window to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

Ms. Zhang Juhong, 54, was arrested at home around 9 a.m. on April 25, 2022. The police handcuffed her, seized the property, and put up police seals on every door. When the police finally left at 11 p.m., they took Ms. Zhang to police department for interrogation.

After the police submitted her case to the Nanming District Procuratorate, the case was rejected three times, citing insufficient evidence. The prosecutor still indicted her eventually and moved her case to the Nanming District Court. Her family didn’t attend the first hearing (date unknown), as they only received an unclear text message from the court. Her lawyer attended the session and entered a not-guilty plea for her.

Ms. Zhang was accused of “openly spreading Falun Gong” by putting up the word “luck” on her window. The Falun Gong-related materials confiscated from her were also used as prosecution evidence against her.

Her lawyer argued that the prosecutor failed to justify the connection between the character on her window and her “promoting Falun Gong.” Even if she did put up Falun Gong material on her window, she didn’t violate any law in doing so.

The police also accused Ms. Zhang of giving someone a wall calendar with Falun Gong messages, but the calendar presented by that person in court was not the one Ms. Zhang had handed out. Despite the unclear evidence, the prosecutor proposed a prison term of 5.5 years.

The lawyer pointed out that there was a conflict of interest for the police to “authenticate” Falun Gong materials confiscated from his client as “cult propaganda.” By law, only an independent, third-party forensic agency can examine and verify prosecution evidence. As such, the evidence “authenticated” by the police should be rendered invalid.

The judge held another hearing of Ms. Zhang’s case in late November 2023. Only one family member attended the session. Her lawyer again demanded her acquittal.

Ms. Zhang’s family heard from her lawyer in February 2024 that she had been sentenced to 7.5 years with a fine of 30,000 yuan. So far the family has not received a hard copy of her verdict, but only read the electronic version dated December 10, 2023, received by the lawyer. The verdict did not state the hearing time and location.

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