Reported in August 2022: 57 Practitioners Sentenced for Their Faith
Fifty-seven cases of Falun Gong practitioners being sentenced for their faith were confirmed in August 2022, including five cases in 2021 and 52 cases in 2022, including one in January, March and May each, 13 in June, 11 in July and 25 in August.
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 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 information readily available.
The sentenced practitioners came from 14 provinces and municipalities. Liaoning province had the most cases with 13 practitioners sentenced, followed by Guangdong and Sichuan, each reporting 5 cases.
The practitioners ages ranged from 37 to 81 at the time of their sentencing. Three practitioners were in their 80s. Another seven were in their 70s and nine were in their 60s. Some elderly practitioners struggled with medical conditions while in custody.
The sentencing terms ranged from one to ten years, with an average of 2.9 years. Twenty-three of the practitioners were also fined between 2,000 – 40,000 yuan, with a total of 223,000 yuan and an average of 9,696 yuan per person.
In addition to the terms newly handed down by the courts, two practitioners, including an 81-year-old woman and another woman who had been displaced for five years, were taken into custody to serve time after their previous sentences had expired.
The sentenced practitioners came from all walks of life, including a retired doctor, a former teacher and a watch factory employee.
The prison sentences also devastated practitioners’ families. One kindergartner and his college-bound brother were in dire situations after both of their parents were sentenced. The mother-in-law of another practitioner was dealt a blow by her sentencing and passed away in distress.
Before their latest sentencing, some practitioners had been repeatedly targeted for their faith in the past 23 years. One practitioner had served 11.5 years behind bars before being sentenced again. Another practitioner suffered a mental breakdown due to torture in a forced labor camp two decades ago, before receiving another three years.
Below are snapshots of selected sentencing cases. The full list of sentenced practitioners can be downloaded here (PDF).
Kindergartner and College-bound Brother in Dire Straits after Parents and Aunt Sentenced
Three members of an extended family in Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province, were sentenced to prison on August 9, 2022. Mr. Zeng Xingyang, 49, was sentenced to five years with a 10,000-yuan fine. His wife, Ms. Deng Fang, 45, was given three and a half years and fined 6,000 yuan. His younger sister, Ms. Zeng Yueling, 43, was sentenced to three years and fined 6,000 yuan.
The couple’s sentencing has devastated their family. Their younger son is only five, a kindergartner, and their older son is going to college this year. When the couple was arrested in April 2021, their older son was still in high school and preparing for the college entrance exam. He managed to overcome the stress of his parents’ arrest, do well on the exam, and get admitted to his dream college.
The boys have been cared for by their paternal grandparents, in their 70s, since their parents’ arrest. The elderly couple doesn’t get a pension and are having tremendous difficulties supporting themselves and their grandsons. With the fall semester fast approaching, they are also struggling to find the money to pay for their older grandson’s college tuition, as most Chinese college students don’t have access to student loans.
Meanwhile, the elderly couple’s daughter, Ms. Zeng, was widowed a few years ago when her son was only nine. Her parents-in-law don’t have any income and they are also facing a dire situation caring for her son.
Prosecutor Appeals “Light” Prison Sentence Against 52-year-old Financial Manager
A court in Hunan Province sentenced Ms. Mo Liqiong to 19 months on July 27, 2022 for her faith in Falun Gong. Unsatisfied, the prosecutor in the case accused the judge of giving the practitioner too light of a sentence and has filed an appeal with a higher court, seeking a term of three years or longer.
Ms. Mo, 52, a native of Xiangtan City, Hunan Province, works in Guangdong Province as a financial manager. She returned to her hometown in Xiangtan in early February 2021 to spend the Chinese New Year with her parents and son, only to be arrested on February 5, while walking on the street.
The police claimed that she had a black bag, which contained a few copies of Falun Gong booklets. They also searched the home of Ms. Mo’s parents but found nothing related to Falun Gong.
Ms. Mo’s mother in her 80s and other family members frequented the court to demand her release. The judge never met with them. They also went to the Xiangtan City Police Department and Political and Legal Affairs Committee, but were stopped at the gate by the security personnel.
Without informing her lawyers, the presiding judge, Zhang Zhan of Yuhu District Court, sentenced Ms. Mo to 19 months with a 5,000-yuan fine on July 27.
The Yuhu District Procuratorate blamed the presiding judge for giving Ms. Mo such a light term and proceeded to file an appeal with the Xiangtan City Intermediate Court on August 4. They demanded the higher court sentence her to three years or longer, accusing her of being a repeat offender, given her nine-year prison sentence in 2003 for practicing Falun Gong and the fact that she refused to plead guilty. (Link)
Former Teacher Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison
Ms. Ma Qin, a former teacher in Pingdu City, Shandong Province, was sentenced to a seven-year prison term on July 20, 2022 for practicing Falun Gong.
Ms. Ma, 53, was a teacher at Pingdu Development Zone Experimental School. She was arrested in her neighborhood on March 28, 2021 and held at the Qingdao No. 2 Detention Center.
The Huangdao District Court held a hearing of Ms. Ma’s case at the detention center on May 13, 2022. Judge Ou Xiaobin attempted to lure her into renouncing Falun Gong by promising a lighter sentence. Ms. Ma refused to comply and insisted that she didn’t do anything wrong in practicing Falun Gong. Her lawyer also entered a not guilty plea for her and demanded her acquittal.
The judge informed her lawyer of her verdict on July 20. (Link)
81-year-old Woman Taken to Prison to Serve an Expired Term
Ms. Liu Naifen, 81, was allowed to serve her 1.5-year term for practicing Falun Gong at home. Her term expired in December 2018, but the authorities recently took her back into custody and took her to prison to serve her term. She has also been denied family visits.
Ms. Liu, of Langfang City, Hebei Province, was arrested on July 7, 2017, for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong, together with her daughter-in-law, Ms. Zhang Xiangrong, and Ms. Zhang’s mother. While Ms. Zhang’s mother, who didn’t practice Falun Gong, was soon released on bail, the police frequently came to harass her. She was so terrified that she became ill and passed away three months later.
In the meantime, Ms. Liu and Ms. Zhang were abused in the local detention center. The guards only gave them five minutes to use the restroom each time and only allowed them to take a shower every 15 days, despite the summer weather.
Ms. Liu couldn’t keep food down and had persistent diarrhea. She was forced to sign a statement to renounce Falun Gong against her will and was released on bail on August 10, 2017. The police harassed her at home after she was released.
Both Ms. Liu and Ms. Zhang were tried by the Anci District Court on January 20, 2020. The judge announced on August 21, 2020, that Ms. Zhang was sentenced to two years and Ms. Liu to one and a half years. They were each also fined 1,000 yuan.
Ms. Liu, who had been detained for just over one month (from July 7, 2017, to August 10, 2017), had about 17 more months to serve at the time of her sentencing. Although she was allowed to serve the remainder of her sentence at home under supervision due to her advanced age and health condition, the police took her back into custody in early November 2021. (Link)
Former Dermatologist Sentenced for Raising Awareness about Her Faith
Ms. Yan Lin, of Yancheng City, Jiangsu Province, was sentenced to three years in late July 2022, four months after she was arrested for raising awareness about the ongoing persecution.
Ms. Yan, a veteran and former dermatologist around 55 years old, was arrested on March 7, 2022, for using currency bills with information about Falun Gong printed on them, a creative way adopted by Falun Gong practitioners in response to the strict information censorship in China.
After an unknown period of detention, Ms. Yan was released on bail. The Dafeng District Procuratorate summoned her for an interview in June and indicted her soon after. She was tried in the Dafeng District Court in late July and sentenced to three years. She is now being held at the Dafeng District Detention Center.
This isn’t the first time that Ms. Yan has been detained for her faith. As a result of the long-term harassment, financial persecution, and propaganda spread by the communist regime to slander Falun Gong, her husband lived under extreme fear and pressure. He often beat her and verbally abused her. Ms. Yan didn’t fight back but continued to treat him and his parents well. Her kindness eventually moved her husband and he began to treat her well in return. (Link)
Based on an original report by Minghui.org