Reported in November 2022: 26 Falun Gong Practitioners Sentenced for Their Faith
Twenty-six cases of Falun Gong practitioners sentenced for their faith were reported in November 2022. Except one case that took place in 2021, the remaining 25 cases happened in 2022, including three in June, one in August, three in September, seven in October, and eleven in November.
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. But 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.
The sentenced practitioners came from 12 provinces and municipalities. Guangdong had the most, at six cases, followed by five cases each in Liaoning and Shandong, and two cases in Heilongjiang. The other eight regions each had one case.
The prison terms ranged from eight months to 15 years, with an average of 3.6 years. One practitioner was sentenced to seven years and also fined a half million yuan.
Among the 16 practitioners whose ages were known at the time of the sentencing, their ages ranged between 47 and 77, with six practitioners in their 60s and three in their 70s. Several of the practitioners were professionals, including a college professor, an electrical engineer, a retired senior information engineer, and several private school teachers.
The persecution also brought devastating impacts to the practitioners’ families. One practitioner’s sentencing came only one month after her daughter succumbed to the mental pressure from the persecution and passed away. Among the sentenced practitioners were also two grandmothers who stayed at their respective children’s homes to help care for their grandchildren. One practitioner lost her husband following her latest arrest, and another practitioner’s husband with mental illness is now left at home to fend for himself while she is in prison.
The following are snapshots of selected sentencing cases. The full list of sentenced practitioners can be downloaded here (PDF).
Three Guangdong Residents Sentenced
Mr. Zhao, 51, has a bachelor’s degree in computer and information management. He worked as an accountant in a bank in Nanhai City, Guangdong Province after graduating from college. Because of his Falun Gong practice, he was given three years at the Sanshui Forced Labor Camp on February 13, 2002. Due to continued police harassment, he was forced to live away from home after being released. In July 2017, he started a private school named “Intelligent Spring Private School,” teaching classes in Chinese, math, English, and traditional Chinese culture.
Mr. Chen, 65, is a native of Guiyang City, Guizhou Province. He previously taught at the Guizhou Business School. He was sentenced to a three-year prison term in October 2004 and fired from his job for upholding Falun Gong.
Mr. Lian, 56, was an elementary school teacher. He was sentenced to five years in Yangjiang Prison on July 20, 2007 and also fired from his job. The police continued to monitor his daily life and constantly harassed him after he was released
Three Huizhou City, Guangdong Province residents were sentenced on October 27, 2022, for practicing Falun Gong. Mr. Zhao Tianhua was sentenced to seven years in prison and fined 500,000 yuan. Mr. Chen Hualiang and Mr. Lian Yueguang were each given four years with a 20,000-yuan fine.
The police broke into Mr. Zhao’s home-based private school through his neighbor’s place on May 11, 2021. Mr. Zhao, his wife, Ms. Cai Huibin, as well as four other practitioners who taught at the school, including Mr. Chen, Mr. Lian, Ms. Wang Lifei, and Mr. Peng Jian, were all arrested.
Ms. Cai, Ms. Wang, and Mr. Peng were released after 37 days of detention, while the other three practitioners remained in custody.
The police initially charged the practitioners with engaging in “illegal business.” As they couldn’t find enough evidence to support the charge, they changed it to “undermining law enforcement with a cult organization,” the standard pretext used to criminalize Falun Gong practitioners. The Falun Gong books confiscated from the practitioners were then used as prosecution evidence against them.
During several months of detention, Mr. Zhao developed a severe heart condition and was hospitalized. His family applied three times to have him released on bail for medical treatment, but their requests were repeatedly denied by the police, even after the detention center guards also suggested not keeping him in custody any longer.
Mr. Zhao, Mr. Lian, and Mr. Peng appeared in Boluo County Court on October 28, 2021, and their lawyers entered not guilty pleas for them. Judge Hu Jinhui didn’t allow the lawyers to elaborate on the fact that no law has ever criminalized Falun Gong or labeled it as a cult in China. (Link)
Based on an original Minghui.org article.