Reported in April 2022: 57 Falun Gong Practitioners Sentenced for Their Faith
57 Falun Gong practitioners were confirmed to have been sentenced for their faith in April 2022, including 1 case that took place in 2019, 2 cases in 2020, 7 cases in 2021, and 47 cases in 2022 (including 4 in January, 11 in March and 32 in April).
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999. Since then, countless practitioners have been arrested, detained, sentenced, and tortured for upholding their faith. Due to strict information censorship in China, the incidents can’t always be reported in a timely manner, nor is all the information readily available.
23 percent of the practitioners were 60 or above, including 5 in their 60s, 8 in their 70s and 1 in his 80s. Except for two practitioners whose gender remains unknown, 34 of the remaining 55 practitioners are female. Shandong Province topped the list with 12 confirmed sentencing cases, followed by 8 in Liaoning, and 5 in Heilongjiang, Hubei and Yunnan each. The remaining 12 provinces and municipalities had cases between 1 and 4.
The longest prison term, 13 years, was given to Mr. Chu Jidong, a Tianjin native living in displacement in Ningxia Province. Another Shandong Province resident, Mr. Yu Baiqing, was given eight years with a 50,000-yuan fine.
Several of the sentenced practitioners were professionals, including a former English professor, a music teacher, a military doctor, and a senior police supervisor.
Below are snapshots of selected sentencing cases. The full list of sentenced practitioners can be downloaded here (PDF).
Retired Military Doctor Sentenced to Three Years
Targeted in a police sweep, a retired military doctor in Changsha City, Hunan Province was sentenced to a three-year prison term for practicing Falun Gong. Her pension was also suspended.
Ms. Zhu Cuihua, who previously worked at the Hunan Armed Police Corps Hospital, was arrested on October 28, 2020, and her home was ransacked. She has since been held at the Changsha City No. 4 Detention Center.
Ms. Zhu was one of more than twenty Falun Gong practitioners in Changsha arrested on October 27 and 28. The police attempted to get information about them through their families during the home raids. While most of their families said they didn’t know, the police included that in their testimonies and later forbade them from attending the practitioners’ hearings, with the excuse that their families were prosecution witnesses to the case.
Seven of the arrested practitioners have been convicted as of the time of writing. Among them, Ms. Zhang Lingge was sentenced to four years on May 8, 2021, Mr. Meng Kai to three years and six months on September 17, 2021, Ms. Wen Jing to three years and three months on December 6, 2021, Ms. Xu Lihua to three years and six months on December 7, 2021, Mr. Li Zhigang to five years and three months on December 21, 2021, and both Mr. Cao Zhifang and his wife Ms. Yang Fang to three years and four months on December 24, 2021. Another couple, Mr. Chen Yang and Ms. Cao Zhimin, stood trial on December 21, 2021 and are still awaiting verdicts. (Link)
Mother of Canadian Resident and Former English Professor Sentenced to 3.5-Year Prison Term
Ms. Liu Yan, a former English professor in Yunnan Province and also mother of a Toronto resident, was sentenced to 3.5 years for practicing Falun Gong in April 2022.
Ms. Liu was the former director and associate professor of the Foreign Language Department of Yunnan University of Arts and Sciences. While taking a taxi on September 29, 2021, the driver, surnamed Luo, attempted to make unwanted advances toward her. Ms. Liu firmly rejected him and told Luo that she practiced Falun Gong and lives by its principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. In retaliation, Luo reported Ms. Liu to the police.
A dozen officers, including Ding Jianfeng and Guo Hongwei of the Wuhua District Domestic Security Office, arrested Ms. Liu the next day, while she was working at an environmental protection art museum that she and her husband operated. She was detained at the Kunming City Detention Center and denied visitation by her lawyer and family.
The Wuhua District Court sentenced Ms. Liu to 3.5 years in prison and a 5,000 yuan fine in April 2022, following a hearing on February 25. She was charged with “undermining law enforcement with a cult organization,” the standard pretext used to criminalize Falun Gong practitioners. She is in the process of appealing the verdict.
Ms. Liu’s daughter, Ms. Liu Mingyuan, who is pursuing a computer animation degree at Sheridan College in Toronto, has held press conferences since last October and written letters to government officials, calling for the immediate release of her mother. (Link)
Former Music Teacher Sentenced for Distributing Informational Materials about Falun Gong
After a 75-year-old former music teacher was arrested for raising awareness about the persecution of Falun Gong, her daughter and nephew, who don’t practice Falun Gong, were also arrested. Now all three of them have been sentenced to prison.
Ms. Xu Qingfang, of Jinzhou City, Liaoning Province, was arrested by plainclothes officers on December 12, 2021, while distributing calendars with information about Falun Gong at a farmers’ market.
Upon hearing about her arrest, Ms. Xu’s daughter, Ms. Meng Tao, rushed to the Daxue Police Station to inquire about her case. Ms. Xu’s nephew, Mr. Xu Chi, also went there to reason with the police, but to no avail.
Mr. Xu then went to Ms. Xu’s place, trying to put away her Falun Gong related items. But the police followed him and arrested both him and Ms. Meng, claiming it was because the two of them were trying to “destroy the evidence.”
Ms. Xu and Ms. Meng were held at the Jinzhou City Women’s Detention Center, while Mr. Xu was kept at the Jinzhou City Detention Center.
Due to the abuse in custody, Ms. Xu developed a medical condition and was carried into the court room when she and her daughter and nephew were tried by the Linghai City Court on March 4, 2022. The judge sentenced Ms. Xu to five years, and Ms. Meng and Mr. Xu to six months each. (Link)
Teacher Sentenced for Her Faith the Second Time in Less Than Three Years
A 59-year-old woman in Changle County, Shandong Province, was sentenced to 3.5 years on April 27, following her arrest on February 4, 2022, for talking to people about Falun Gong.
Ms. Yu Meixia’s latest arrest came only over a year after she was released from serving another term for her faith. Ms. Yu, a former teacher of the Changle County Third Vocational Secondary School in Shandong Province, was previously arrested on June 12, 2019 for distributing Falun Gong informational materials.
When she appeared in the Qingzhou Court on November 20, 2019, the presiding judge said to her, “You should know that the courts and prisons serve the ruling class.” The judge sentenced her to 15 months with a 5,000 yuan fine on December 20, 2019. Her appeal was rejected by the higher court.
When she was released on September 11, 2020, she was devastated to know that her pension had been suspended by the social security office. (Link)