Dozens of Falun Gong Adherents Sentenced to Up to 14 Years Since September 2008

Falun Gong Sentencing Alert

The following alert is a collection of available details for cases of Falun Gong adherents who were sentenced recently to long prison terms in China as they have been reported to the Falun Dafa Information Center over the past two weeks. The cases are compiled from a range of sources, including testimony of relatives or friends of the individuals involved, information from their lawyers, and/or follow-up phone calls made by researchers to the relevant judicial or prison authorities.

The cases listed here, and particularly, the lengths of the prison terms to which adherents were sentenced—from 1.5 to 14 years, highlight the dangers and systematic deprivation of basic rights adherents continue to face on a daily basis, including when they practice their faith in the privacy of the own homes. The trials fit into a broader pattern that the Center has observed since the end of the Beijing Olympics of a significant increase in the number of Falun Gong adherents being sentenced via criminal trials to lengthy prison terms.

Adherents in these cases are systematically denied basic due process rights, with most trials lasting less than a day, being held in secret, and without the presence of a lawyer to defend the adherent. When a lawyer is present, his defense on behalf of his client has been disregarded by the judiciary. Many of those who have been sentenced were brought before a judge only after a long pre-trial detention. Though not reported in every instance, the vast majority of those sentenced were likely charged with “using a heretical organization to undermine implementation of the law,” a vague provision of the penal code regularly used to sentence adherents.

Through the publication of these details, the Center hopes to facilitate the investigation, verification, and reporting of these cases by members of the international media and human rights community. In several instances, the adherents are seeking to appeal and international attention to their cases may serve to aid such efforts and protect them from further violations.

This installment of the alert includes reports received by the Center over the past two weeks of the sentencing to prison of 28 adherents, 23 since the beginning of 2009. The ages of these prisoners of conscience range from being in their 20s to their 60s and several were already reported to have suffered abuse in custody or prior bouts of illegal imprisonment. Half of the sentences (14) were in Shandong province, 6 in Hunnan, 4 in Liaoning, 3 in Yunnan, and one in Heilongjiang.

The cases listed below are in addition to other instances of adherents being sentenced to prison terms since the end of the Olympics. Such cases include Ms. Xu Na (report) and Ms. Liu Jin (report), sentences reported by Western media reports and Amnesty International.

Two practitioners sentenced to prison in Shandong province, March 2009
On March 4, 2009, Falun Gong adherents Ms. Cui Yuezhi (???) and Mr. Wang Hongchao (???) of Guan County,  Shandong Province, were both sentenced to eight years in prison.  The pair were reportedly arrested on July 26, 2008, when Ms. Cui went to visit Mr. Wang and his wife at their home.  They were tried on February 18, 2009 at an unnamed court, and with the help of a lawyer, entered a “not guilty” plea. The trial reportedly ended abruptly when the practitioners’ lawyer mounted a strong defense of his clients, but the pair was sentenced anyway.

Three Falun Gong adherents sentenced in Shandong province, early 2009
The Intermediate District Court of Jining City in Shandong province reportedly sentenced three elderly female Falun Gong practitioners over the age of 60 to prison terms of three to four years. Though known to have taken place in early 2009, the exact date of the trial is unknown at this time. The women’s names and corresponding sentence terms are:

  • Yan Jinlan (???), 4 year sentence
  • Peng Jia (??), 3 year sentence
  • Zhao Xinyan (???), 3 year sentence

The three women were arrested on the evening of November 15, 2008, when police squads forced an entry into their homes and took them into detention. At the time of this report, all three are believed to still be at the Jining City Detention Center and to have appealed to Jining City Intermediate Court, which was set to make a decision on these cases during the week of March 14.

Three Falun Gong adherents sentenced in Yunnan province, February 2009
Three female Falun Gong practitioners from Kunming City, Yunnan province, were sentenced on February 10th, 2009 to prison terms ranging from three to five years by the Kunming City Court, following a trial held in secret. They women’s names and details are: 

  • He Xiufen, ??? , 57 years old (birthdate April 20, 1951), sentenced to five years; retired worker from Animal Husbandry Center, Lufeng County Agriculture Bureau of Yunnan Province; lived at 18 Huangtupo Worker New Village, Apartment 1-202, Kunming; Previously sentenced to 1.5 years of “re-education through labor” (RTL) in Dec 2002.
  • Jiang Runlin, ??? , 30 years old (birthdate April 15, 1978), sentenced to four years, worked as a teller at a private institute, possibly connected to Kunming Science and Technology University; previously arrested in 2001 for discussing Falun Gong in public; sentenced to two years at Yunnan Province Women’s RTL camp in Kunming
  • Yang Deying, ???, 59 years old (birthdate June 13, 1949), sentenced to three years, occupation unknown; lived at 69 Pingqiao Village, Yongchang Street, Xishan District, Kunming; Previously sentenced to two years of RTL in Feb 2005;

The women were arrested on the morning of May 20, 2008. Police reportedly arrested Ms. Jiang as she left her dormitory at the Kunming Science and Technology University. They then searched her dorm, where they found and arrested Ms. Yang, Ms. He, and another Falun Gong adherent, Ms. Yang Maoqiao. The four women were taken to the Panlong District No. 1 Detention Center, where Yang Maoqiao went on a hunger strike to protest her treatment. On October 22, 2008, she was removed from the labor camp and taken to an undisclosed location. Her current whereabouts are unknown. The remaining three are still being held at the Panlong District’s No. 1 Detention Center in Kunming City.

Nine Falun Gong practitioners sentenced in Shandong Province, January 2009
Nine adherents were tried in a secret trial on December 25, 2008, at the Shouguang City Court, Shandong province. Shortly after New Year’s in January 2009, decisions were issues for all nine individuals, who were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 4 – 14 years.  Reports indicate that the nine were among a group of possibly over one hundred Falun Gong adherents in Shouguang city who were arrested in the months leading up to the Beijing Olympics. At least fourteen others have been sentenced to re-education-through-labor camps.  The nine individuals sentenced to prison terms are as follows:

  • Zhang Zhaoyu, ??? , 14 year sentence, age in 50s
  • You Huifu, ???, 12 year sentence, nephew of Zhang Zhaoyu, age in 20s
  • Zhao Suyan, ??? ,11 year sentence, sister of Zhao Suhong, age in 30s
  • Zhao Suhong, ??? ,10 year sentence, sister of Zhao Suyan, age in 30s
  • Han Lianfeng, ??? 10 year sentence, age in 40s
  • Yang Ruiying, ???, 8 year sentence, wife of Zhang Zhaoyu, age in 50s
  • Ding Hong, ?? , 6 year sentence, age in 30s
  • You Yunsheng, ??? 6 year sentence, age in 60s
  • Li Suzhen, ??? 4 year sentence, wife of You Yunsheng, age in 60s

At the time of this report, all of the above practitioners are believed to still be held at the Shouguang Detention Center and to have appealed the lower court’s decision to the Weifang City Intermediate Court.

Six Falun Gong adherents sentenced in Hunan province, January 2009
Six Falun Gong adherents from Xiangtan City, Hunan Province were sentenced on January 4, 2009 to prison terms ranging from 1.5 – 7.5 years.  The six were arrested in at the end of February, early March 2008, possibly for their connection to an underground printing house that produced informational literature on the persecution of Falun Gong.  They have been held at the Xiangtan City Detention Center. They were tried at an unnamed court in the Yuhu District in Xiangtan City.  Their sentences are as follows:

  • Mr Xie Wangming (???), 7.5 years
  • Ms. Yang Shunying, (??? ) 3 years
  • Mr. Luo Yiming, (???) 3.5 years
  • Mr. Tan Yanjie, (??? )3 years
  • Ms. Zhang Yaqin, (??? ) 3 years
  • Mr. Lu Xiqiong (???), 1.5 years

Four Falun Gong practitioners sentenced in Liaoning province, October to December 2008
Four Falun Gong adherents were reportedly sentenced between October and December 2008 to long prison terms during a series of trials held at Shenbei New District Court in Shenyang city, Liaoning province. The adherents names and corresponding sentences are:

  • Mr. Xi Changhai (???), 11 years
  • Ms Wang Sumei (???), 10 years
  • Mr. Sun Yushu (???), 8 years
  • Mr. Huo Defu, (???) 6 years

Beijing lawyer Mr. Tang Jitian has since accepted to represent Xi and Wang on an additional appeal, after a first one filed by them was dismissed. Tang has reportedly conducted his own investigation into their cases and subsequently mailed appeal letters on behalf of the adherents to Bian Fuxue, Head of the Intermediate Court in Shenyang at the end of February. The most recent available information on the adherents indicates that Xi is being held at the New District Detention Center in northern Shenyang; Wang is at Zaohua Detention Center; Sun and Huo are at Xihu Prison in Benxi.

Practitioner sentenced in Heilongjiang province, November 2008
Mr. Zhao Fuqiang (???) was sentenced to three years in prison following his November 27, 2008 trial at the Nanshan Courthouse in Hegang City, Heilongjiang Province.  Mr. Zhao, a middle aged taxi driver, was arrested on July 23, 2008, while on his way home from work. He reported that while he was detained, he was tied up and severely beaten in order to force a confession.  He was defended by Beijing lawyer Tang Jitian, who entered a “not guilty” plea on his behalf and argued his innocence; the defense was disregarded and Zhao was sentenced anyway.