Sept. 2021: Over 100 Reports of Sentencings
In September 2021, 101 Falun Gong practitioners were reported sentenced for their faith. The cases primarily took place in September and August, totaling 78 cases, with 5 cases from July, and 16 cases from the first half of 2021, and 2 cases from 2020.
At the time of writing, a total of 928 sentencing cases have been reported between January and September 2021, averaging 103 cases per month.
Due to strict censorship in China, reports may be delayed or incomplete.
The reported sentencing cases in September took place in 19 provinces and municipalities. Shandong (16), Heilongjiang (14), Liaoning (14), Jilin (13) and Hebei (10) are the top five provinces with double-digit cases. The remaining fourteen regions had single-digit cases ranging from 1 to 8.
The practitioners’ prison terms ranged from 3 months to 12 years, with an average of 3 years and 3 months.
The cases shared common themes of family impact, violation of legal procedure, and increased sentencing of the elderly.
The persecution has had a devastating impact on not only the arrested practitioners but also their families. For example, Mr. Li Guoqing and his wife and daughter were all arrested and sentenced 7-12 years for their faith. Li’s father was traumatized by the arrests and suffered a stroke.
In another case, the wife of a former government official divorced him after being unable to withstand the tremendous pressure of authorities repeated imprisonment of her husband and forced resignation of his job.
Courts have also violated legal procedure and enacted arbitrary arrests. Recently, after pausing Ms. Wang Lanmei’s case for two years, the court has reopened her case and charged her to two years.
In another case, an 82-year-old practitioner was sentenced to three months for attending the trial of arrested Falun Gong practitioners. To justify the elderly man’s arrest, officers ransacked his house and took a picture of him next to Falun Gong related materials.
The following section details the cases.
Mr. Li Guoqing is a general manager at the local power company in Tianjin. He also runs a wedding ceremony company with his wife Ms. Yu Bo and their daughter Ms. Li Lei.
On May 15, 2019, Mr. Li’s wife and daughter were arrested while driving out of their apartment complex. The police ransacked their home and confiscated their printer, fax machine and three private cars. Li was arrested later in the day. His father was so traumatized by the arrests that he had a stroke and was hospitalized.
The family of three was then taken to the Ninghe District Detention Center.
They were indicted by the Ninghe District Procuratorate in early March 2020. Mr. Li was later sentenced to 12 years, Ms. Yu to 10 years and Ms. Li to 7 years by the Ninghe District Court.
Mr. Li Yuandong, is a former government official and native of Huazhou City, Guangdong Province. For appealing for his faith, he was given served two year long terms in the notorious Sanshui Forced Labor Camp, once in 2000 and another 2002.
To force him to renounce Falun Gong, the guards once deprived him of sleep for over 20 days. He sometimes collapsed to the ground and fell asleep due to extreme fatigue. The guards then immediately woke him up, beat him, shocked him with electric batons, and inserted toothpicks underneath his fingernails.
While incarcerated, upper-level management of his agency put him on suspension, which forced him to later to resign. Li’s wife also divorced him due to the immense pressure from the persecution,.
On July 9, 2019, Li was again arrested, this time for talking to people about Falun Gong.
Police also attempted to freeze his bank account and property, only to find he didn’t have much savings or own a home, as after Li had been released, he could only do odd jobs to support himself.
His case was submitted to the Haizhu District Procuratorate on September 29. He was indicted and his case was moved to the Haizhu District Court on November 21, 2019.
Li then stood trial on November 4, 2020. No witnesses appeared in court to accept cross-examination. The prosecutor accused him of distributing flash drives containing information about Falun Gong, but failed to provide any evidence to support the allegation.
The court announced through a video conference on August 31, 2021, that Mr. Li was sentenced to 8.5 years in prison and fined 30,000 yuan.
Violation of Legal Procedures
A court in Taiyuan City, Shanxi Province, paused its case against Ms. Wang Lanmei for practicing Falun Gong two years ago. It then reopened the case and sentenced her to two years in prison.
Wang, 75, was arrested on the afternoon of October 18, 2018 at her apartment. The police had knocked on her door hours earlier, but as she refused to let them in, they hid in the apartment building and arrested her when she went out to discard trash. The police then ransacked her home and confiscated Falun Gong related items.
Due to having extremely high blood pressure, a heart condition, and a stroke, the Gujiao City Detention Center twice rejected her admission. She was released and placed under house arrest on October 20. Upon returning home, her memory quickly declined. Wang suspects that she was given toxic drugs while being tested at the hospital.
Although Wang was later indicted by the Yingze District Procuratorate on January 2, 2019, the Yingze District Court decided to pause her case on April 2, 2019.
On August 5, 2021, Guo Xiaoqin, the judge in charge of Wang’s case, summoned her lawyer to the court and announced that a hearing had been scheduled. At the same time, the police went to her home and connected her to the virtual hearing.
She was sentenced to two years with a 10,000-yuan fine on August 19.
Mr. Wu Huaxin, an 82-year-old resident of Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province, went to attend the hearing of the case against two local Falun Gong practitioners, Ms. Xuan Xiaomei and Ms. Zhu Peiqin, at the Wujiang District Court on January 7, 2020. As he went through security screening, the bailiffs found four keepsake cards bearing the words “Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance,” the principles of Falun Gong, in his pocket.
Wu was then arrested and taken to the Songling Police Station. The police forced him to sit in an interrogation chair and questioned him about his personal information, where he got the cards, how long he had been practicing Falun Gong and whom he practiced it with. Wu insisted that he didn’t do anything wrong in practicing Falun Gong and refused to provide information about other practitioners.
The police ransacked Wu’s home in the afternoon and confiscated 418 keepsake cards, 14 magazines about quitting the Chinese Communist Party, 11 letters to the public about the persecution, 48 Falun Gong books, as well as DVDs, calendars, and media players. They then took pictures of Wu with the items. No search warrant was ever presented. Wu was released on bail the next afternoon.
The police submitted Wu’s case to the Wujiang District Procuratorate in September 2020. The prosecutor Zhou Xingrong summoned him in the same month and ordered him to renounce Falun Gong. He refused to comply.
The Wujiang District Court initially scheduled a hearing of Wu’s case on September 15, 2020, but later postponed it to December 14, 2020. Two lawyers represented Wu and entered a not guilty plea for him. His family wasn’t allowed to attend the session.
The judge indicated that he intended to dismiss the case, saying that “due to an unavoidable cause” he was unable to hear the case for a long time. The prosecutor, however, still recommended a nine-month prison term against Wu and a fine of 2,000 yuan, on charges of “undermining law enforcement with a cult organization,” the standard pretext used to criminalize Falun Gong in China.
Wu was ordered to come to court on May 28, 2021. When he went there, the bailiffs barred him from entering but instead asked him to come to the side of the building and handed him a verdict ordering a three-month sentence with a 2,000-yuan fine.
Wu was then taken to the Wujiang Detention Center and held there until August 27.
Based on an original report from Minghui.org: