Reported in August 2023: 66 Falun Gong Practitioners Sentenced
In August 2023, the Minghui website received 66 reports of Falun Gong practitioners sentenced for their faith or activism combatting the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) persecution of Falun Gong.
Due to strict censorship about Falun Gong in China, reporting on cases is often delayed. Of the 66 cases reported, five took place between 2018 and 2021, another five took place in 2022, and 47 took place in 2023. The dates the other 9 Falun Gong practitioners were sentenced remains uncertain.
The sentenced practitioners are from 19 different regions in China. Shandong Province reported the most cases, 10, followed by Heilongjiang Province with nine cases, and Liaoning Province with seven cases. The remaining 16 regions reported between one and five cases.
The prison terms of the sentenced practitioners ranged from six months to eight years, with most practitioners sentenced for one to three years. A man who has served 19 years in prison was given another 5 years. A 70-year-old man received 3.5 years after having served 2 years of forced labor and 14 years in prison. A 30-year-old young woman who began to witness the persecution of her mother since the age of 6 was sentenced to 4.5 years herself.
Falun Gong Practitioner in Gansu Province Sentenced to Five Years After 19-Year Detention
Mr. Li Wenming (also known as Li Mingyi) was indicted by the Chengguan District Procuratorate in February 2023. The judge at the Chengguan District Court sentenced Li to a five-year term with a fine of 30,000 yuan, or approximately $4,200 USD. Mr. Li has appealed the verdict.
In August 2021, the 59-year-old resident of Lanzhou City, Gansu Province, was released from a 19-year imprisonment. The sentence stemmed from his involvement in intercepting a provincial cable television broadcast with a 30-minute video countering propaganda about Falun Gong in 2002. He is also a former employee of Lanzhou Locomotive Works.
Before the CCP’s 20th National Congress in October 2022, Lanzhou officials launched a “100-Day Strike” campaign and arrested numerous Falun Gong practitioners. On August 23, 2022, over 10 police officers from the Qilihe Domestic Security Office and the Xizhan Police Station seized Li at his home.
Li was detained at the Honggu District Detention Center and then transferred to Xiguoyuan Detention Center. The Chengguan District Procuratorate indicted him and brought his case to Chengguan District Court in late February 2023. The judge later sentenced Mr. Li to a five-year term with a fine of 30,000 yuan.
30-year-old Woman Plagued by Persecution Since Childhood Sentenced to 4.5 Years
After her appeal was rejected, Ms. Zhang Xiwei of Xi’an City, Shaanxi Province, was taken to Shaanxi Province Women’s Prison on June 29 to serve her 4.5-year prison term.
Ms. Zhang was arrested on July 21, 2021, by more than ten police officers. The officers confiscated her copy of Zhuan Falun, the main Falun Gong text, a computer, a radio, an MP3 player, and several memory cards.
According to a Minghui correspondent in Shaanxi, Ms. Zhang’s family attempted to visit her on July 25 and August 25 but were denied visitation each time “because she had not yet renounced Falun Gong.” Her family has expressed concern she will be tortured—just like many other Falun Gong practitioners.
When police learned that Ms. Zhang’s family had hired a lawyer and that her case had been reported to the Minghui website, they went to her mother’s home in Liquan County on August 18 and questioned her. When Ms. Zhang’s mother refused to answer the police’s questions, they threatened to arrest her.
Since the persecution of Falun Gong started in 1999, when Ms. Zhang was six years old, her family has been repeatedly targeted and harassed. Her mother was arrested several times, was sentenced to forced labor, and was tortured.
Ms. Zhang was tried via a video hearing on May 30, 2022, and her lawyer entered a not-guilty plea on her behalf. The judge initially returned the case to the prosecutor citing insufficient evidence. However, Ms. Zhang was tried again on August 16, 2022, and—though no new evidence was provided—the judge later sentenced Ms. Zhang to 4.5 years with a 10,000-yuan fine on November 22, 2022.
Jilin Woman Sentenced to Three Years for Writing to Government Official Urging Him to Stop Persecuting Falun Gong
Ms. Cui Yanling, a 66-year-old resident of Changchun City, Jilin Province, was sentenced to three years in prison for urging a government official to stop following the CCP to persecute law-abiding Falun Gong practitioners like her.
Ms. Cui was arrested at home on September 9, 2021, by officers from the Hongqi Street Police Station. They targeted her per the order of an official at the Jilin Province Public Security Bureau. The official had received a letter urging him to stop persecuting Falun Gong practitioners. After going through surveillance footage, the police concluded that it was Ms. Cui who had mailed out the letter and then tracked her down.
Ms. Wang Ying, another Falun Gong practitioner who happened to be visiting Ms. Cui when the police came, was also arrested.
The Chaoyang District Court sentenced Ms. Cui to three years and Ms. Wang to two years and eight months on June 13, 2022. Both women were admitted to the Jilin Province Women’s Prison on July 14, 2023.
Based on an original report by Minghui.org