The U.S. State Department condemned the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for sentencing 11 Falun Gong practitioners to prison just weeks before the start of the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, according to a report by the Epoch Times. The official called on Beijing to "immediately end its depraved abuse and mistreatment of Falun Gong practitioners, release those imprisoned due to their beliefs, and address the whereabouts of missing practitioners." “Since 1999, the Communist Party of China (CCP) has sought to eradicate Falun Gong, a spiritual practice originating in China, and its peaceful practitioners and human rights defenders who have fought for their right to practice their beliefs," the State Department official told the Epoch Times. “Extensive evidence shows the PRC government continues to repress and abuse this community to this day,” the official said, citing reports of torture and the CCP's draconian sentencing. Family Decimated by Olympics in China Among the Falun Gong practitioners sentenced is Beijing artist Ms. Xu Na. Xu Na was sentenced to eight years in prison. Her husband, Yu Zhou, was detained in the run-up to the 2008 Olympics and died days later in police custody. For persevering in her faith in Falun Gong and exposing the crimes of the Chinese Communist Party, Ms. Xu Na has been repeatedly incarcerated and tortured. Xu’s husband, Mr. Yu Zhou died in police custody just ten days after being incarcerated in 2008. Reports later emerged that he was tortured to death. Xu is an award-winning artist and freelance writer. In 1995, she began practicing Falun Gong with her husband Yu, a talented musician and member of the popular three-person band “Xiao Juan and Residents in the Valley”. Xu was sentenced in 2001 to 5 years in prison, enduring torture at the notorious “7th branch” of the Beijing Women’s Prison. She was also put in solitary confinement, deprived of sleep, not allowed to take showers, and denied family visits. In July 2020, 11 citizen journalists who practice Falun Gong, including Xu, were arrested for taking pictures of Beijing during the pandemic and submitting them to overseas newspapers. https://vimeo.com/454950579 A short video about Xu Na created shortly after her most recent arrest when she had gone missing into the detention system. On October 15, 2021, the practitioners were tried at the DongCheng District Court. The court sentenced Xu on Jan. 14 to 8 years imprisonment—the longest term of the 11. The others Falun Gong practitioners received sentences between two and five years, according to Xu's lawyer. "The CCP has completely decimated this family," says Falun Dafa Information Center executive director, Levi Browde. "Xu Na had already spent years in prison, and her husband was detained and died in police custody in the lead up to the 2008 Olympics. And now this brazen sentence is handed down as a message to the world." "Think about it: the CCP chose to sentence Xu at the most visible time possible -- 3 weeks before the Olympics start as all eyes are trained on Beijing. It's as if the CCP is intentionally flaunting to the world that it will imprison Falun Gong practitioners at will, and there's no one to stop them. We can't let that be true."