69 Falun Gong Practitioners Reported Sentenced for Their Faith in July 2021
Based on an original report from Minghui.org
The month of July 2021 recorded 69 Falun Gong practitioners sentenced for their faith. To date, a total of 736 sentencing cases have been reported in 2021, including 186 in January, 120 in February, 100 in March, 90 in April, 96 in May, 75 in June and 69 in July.
Among the 69 newly reported cases, 7 cases occurred in 2020, 30 cases occurred in the first half of 2021, and 28 cases took place in July 2021. There were also 4 cases in 2021 that had unknown months of occurrence.
This new information brings the total known sentencing cases in 2021 to 451, which accounts for 61.3% of the 736 reported cases. The remaining 285 reported cases break down into 278 cases that took place in 2020 (37.7%) and 7 cases in 2019 (1%).
The delay in the reporting is largely due to the strict information censorship in China, which makes it difficult for Minghui correspondents to collect and send out information in a timely manner.
Demographics of Sentenced
The 69 newly reported sentencing cases in July took place in 21 provinces and municipalities. Hebei topped the list with 10 cases, followed by Liaoning (9), Heilongjiang (7), Hubei (6) and Jiangsu (5). The remaining 16 regions had between 1 and 4 cases.
Thirteen (18.8%) of the sentenced practitioners were older than 65, with one between 65 and 70, ten in their 70s and two in their 80s.
The thirteen practitioners were fined between 3,000 to 100,000 yuan, totaling of 346,000 yuan or averaging 26,615 yuan per person.
The prison terms ranged from six months to ten years, with an average of 3.5 years.
Below are snapshots of the reported cases.
Three Heilongjiang Residents Sentenced for Distributing Information About Their Faith
Three Jixi City, Heilongjiang Province residents were sentenced on June 2, 2021: Mr. Bao Wanming, 50, was sentenced to nine years and fined 100,000 yuan; Ms. Teng Shuli, 51, was sentenced to seven years and fined 80,000 yuan; and Mr. Zhou Keming, 53, was sentenced to four years and fined 50,000 yuan.
Mr. Zhou was reported for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong. After monitoring him for a period, the police arrested him on October 12, 2020. Ms. Teng and Mr. Bao, who distributed materials with Mr. Zhou, were also arrested.
The three practitioners’ arrests were approved on November 18 and they were detained at the Jixi City Detention Center. They were tried by the Jidong County Court on April 23, 2021, through a video conference.
Bao was represented by a lawyer, who entered a not guilty plea for him. The other two practitioners acted as their own lawyers and also pleaded not guilty.
Teng recounted the abuse she had suffered in custody while Zhou and Bao explained how no law criminalized practicing Falun Gong, and how the number of prosecution evidences did not match the items confiscated from them. Bao’s lawyer also argued that the persecution did not have any legal basis; the police failed to provide any evidence to say what law had been undermined
During the defense, the judge Xu Zhongqi and the prosecutor were constantly interrupting and in response to the lawyer’s request to verify the discrepancy in the number of pieces of evidence, the latter ordered the lawyer to review the home-ransacking videos the next day, a Saturday when all the relevant agencies were closed.
Targeted in a Group Arrest, Six Hebei Residents Sentenced Up to 10 Years in Prison
Among the thirteen Tangshan City, Hebei Province residents who stood trial at the Luannan County Court on July 20, 2021, six are known to have been sentenced to prison.
Mr. Liu Weili was sentenced to ten years, Ms. Zhang Zhilan was given seven years, Mr. Zuo Desheng two years and six months, Mr. Wang Baozhu eleven months, and both Mr. Lu Lifa and Ms. Bi Guanqin were sentenced to six-month terms. It remains unclear whether the other seven practitioners are still awaiting verdicts.
The thirteen practitioners were arrested in a police sweep on August 12, 2020, when over 100 police officers were mobilized to terrorize, arrest, and torture more than 50 practitioners, in an attempt to force them to give up their faith. A few practitioners in nearby Tianjin, a centrally-controlled municipality, were also arrested. Mr. Dong Jianquan died on October 25, 2020, as a result of the tremendous pressure.
Well-regarded Restaurant Owner Sentenced to Eight Years for His Belief
Mr. Yang Jianlu of Zhangjiakou City, Hebei Province, was arrested along with his wife on December 3, 2019, for talking to people about Falun Gong at a local market. Although his wife was released two days later, Yang continued to be held in the Xuanhua Detention Center.
The police submitted Yang’s case to the procuratorate in April 2020 and on September 4, 2020, Yang was tried in the Xuanhua District Court.
Yang entered a not guilty plea and demanded that the judge play the DVDs confiscated from him. He said he did not violate the law by having Falun Gong informational materials.
Yang’s daughter also defended him in court. She said that her father was being treated unjustly and that in the present society with rapidly declining morality, her father has taught her to be a kind and upright person. The lawyer also read an affidavit signed by 415 local villagers in support of Yang.
The hearing started at 9:15 a.m. When the judge adjourned the hearing around 1:30 p.m., the prosecutor left suddenly, so the judge had to end the hearing. Yang was later sentenced to eight years with a 10,000-yuan fine on March 16, 2021. Despite an appeal to the Zhangjiakou City Intermediate Court, Yang’s original sentence was upheld without having a hearing. He was taken to prison on July 19.
Elderly Not Spared
85-year-old Woman Sentenced to Three Years for Her Faith
Ms. Han Guiyun, an 85-year-old retired teacher was informed on July 2, 2021, that she has been sentenced to three years and fined 10,000 yuan, for “undermining law enforcement with a cult organization,” a standard pretext used by the Chinese Communist Party to criminalize Falun Gong practitioners.
Han, a resident of Yingkou City, Liaoning Province, was arrested in a park on May 31, 2019, after being reported for talking to others about Falun Gong. The police ransacked her home without her knowledge. She was held at the police station all day before being released, but taken back on June 18, 2019, and ordered to sign a bail release document.
The police later submitted her case to the Zhanqian District Procuratorate, which then indicted her and moved her case to the Zhanqian District Court.
During her trial in the Zhanqian District Court on March 10, 2021, Han testified in her own defense. She argued that there is no law in China that says that practicing Falun Gong is a crime and that the Chinese publication bureau revoked the ban on publishing Falun Gong literature in 2011.
When the police took Han for a physical exam after the hearing, she had dangerously high blood pressure and vomited. The local detention center refused to accept her and she was released again. Police and local authorities continued to harass Han though.
On March 12, a police and two residential committee members visited Han and said that if she agreed to sign a statement promising not to practice Falun Gong anymore, they would give her a light sentence and she would still receive 60% of her pension, but if she refused to comply, they would suspend her entire pension. Han said she wouldn’t sign such a statement and they left. It remains to be seen whether the authorities have suspended her pension.
The police made another attempt to detain Han in late April. She was denied admission by the detention center again due to her high blood pressure, a aggravated by the constant harassment by the police.
Judge Wang Feng convicted Han on June 3 and delivered the verdict to her on July 2. The “evidence” used against her included the fact that she had been practicing Falun Gong since 1996 and that she possessed Falun Gong materials at home. The judge ordered her to pay the fine within ten days after receiving the verdict. He is also to issue a separate notice as to when she would start serving time.
Elderly Woman Sentenced to Six Years for Giving Out a Flyer
Ms. Pan Yunxia, a Huainan City, Anhui Province resident nearly 70, was arrested on May 27, 2020, after she talked to a man in his 40s and gave him a flyer about how the Chinese communist regime covered up the pandemic and how Falun Gong has been effective in helping people recover from the disease.
Over 20 plainclothes officers surrounded her, pushed her down on the ground, and then dragged her into the police car. She was held at the Shannan Police Station for over 12 hours. During that time, the police ransacked her home and confiscated her Falun Gong books and a photo of Falun Gong’s founder. She was then released on bail.
In March 2021, the police accosted Ms. Pan twice and asked her more questions about where she got the flyer. They returned again on May 25 to confirm that the Falun Gong books and a photo of Falun Gong’s founder were hers. She was then summoned by the Fengtai County Procuratorate, which indicted her on June 10.
Ms. Pan stood trial in the Fengtai County Court on July 17, 2021. Her lawyer entered a not guilty plea on her behalf. During the proceedings, the judge showed a photo of her in a hospital as evidence for the prosecution. Ms. Pan questioned how it could that be used as evidence against her.
Her family recently learned that she has been sentenced to six years.
Original article: https://en.minghui.org/html/articles/2021/8/13/194604.html