Fujian Woman Sentenced to Nearly Four Years for Sharing Videos with Friends
A Yongtai County, Fujian Province, resident has been taken to the Fujian Province Women’s Prison (福建女子监狱) to serve three years and ten months for speaking up for her faith.
Ms. Guo Xiuhai, a 59-year-old retired employee of the Yongtai County Health Bureau, was reported on February 11, 2020, for talking to two young people about Falun Gong. A dozen police officers broke into her home that evening and confiscated her Falun Gong books, cellphone, computer, two iPads, and a thumb drive. Both Ms. Guo and her husband were taken to the police station for interrogation. While her husband was soon released, Ms. Guo was detained for 15 days. The police returned her cellphone but kept all other confiscated items.
Months later, the police stopped Ms. Guo’s husband in his subdivision on his way to work at around 7 a.m. on July 15, 2020. They forced him to return to his home and open the door for them. The police searched his residence again and arrested him and his wife. The police later revealed that they arrested Ms. Guo again upon finding on her links on her iPad to introductory videos about Falun Gong that she had sent to her two friends from her WeChat account.
Ms. Guo’s husband was released a day later and she was taken to the Minqing County Detention Center. Three days later, she was transferred to the Fuzhou City No.2 Detention Center, where she was held until her prison transfer. The Yongtai County Procuratorate approved her arrest two weeks later on July 29.
Because Ms. Guo refused to do the roll call or recite detention rules, the guards forced her to stand for hours in the middle of the night. She developed high blood pressure and had tightness in her chest and was short of breath.
She was indicted by the Changle County Procuratorate on November 20, 2020, and had her case forwarded to the Changle County Court. The prosecutor charged her with “undermining law enforcement with a cult organization,” a standard pretext used by the Chinese authorities to frame Falun Gong practitioners.
Ms. Guo stood trial on April 29, 2021. Her lawyers entered a plea of not guilty for her. They argued that no law criminalizes Falun Gong in China and that the prosecutor didn’t provide any evidence of how law enforcement was allegedly undermined by Ms. Guo. Sending the links isn’t a crime, the lawyers said.
The lawyers continued to say that Falun Gong doesn’t have membership lists and isn’t a cult, as CCP propaganda falsely claims. The practitioners’ efforts to spread information about Falun Gong are their personal choices and not organized by anyone.
Ms. Guo also testified in her own defense. She said that everything she has told people about Falun Gong are facts. It’s only because the Chinese Communist Party is spreading false information about the practice that she has to clarify the facts about Falun Gong and to allow people to think for themselves. She emphasized that China’s constitution protects freedom of speech and religious belief and that she didn’t violate any law in her efforts.
Ms. Guo added that after she took up Falun Gong in 1997, her Hepatitis B disappeared. She demanded her acquittal.
The judge later sentenced Ms. Guo to three years and ten months. She was taken to the Fujian Province Women’s Prison on December 21, 2021, and is now held in the third ward. Guards are reportedly pressuring her to give up her faith in Falun Gong.