Reports Confirmed Between January to June 2022: 366 Practitioners Sentenced for Faith
Reports involving 366 Falun Gong practitioners sentenced for their faith were confirmed in the first half of 2022. Due to limitations such as the strict censorship inside China, these reports are only a small portion of the larger persecution at hand. The practitioners came from all walks of life, including teachers, doctors, engineers, and accountants. Several former police officers were also targeted for practicing Falun Gong.
The newly confirmed cases include one that took place in 2013, two in 2014, one in 2016, one in 2017, one in 2018, one in 2019, 12 in 2020, 145 in 2021, and 202 in 2022. For the 202 prison terms that have been handed down in 2022 so far, 45 were in January, 36 in February, 44 in March, 37 in April, 22 in May, and 17 in June.
The 366 wrongly convicted practitioners hailed from 26 provinces and municipalities. Shandong Province topped the list with 54 sentencing cases, followed by 44 in Liaoning, 30 in Beijing, 30 in Guangdong, and 24 in Hebei. Eight other regions reported double-digit cases and the remaining 13 regions had single-digit cases.
A total of 107 (29%) of the sentenced practitioners were 60 and above, including 48 in their 60s, 47 in their 70s, and 12 in their 80s. The oldest practitioner sentenced was 85. While sentencing an 84-year-old woman, the judge made up her birthplace and also changed her age to 75, likely to justify a heavier sentence.
The practitioners’ prison terms ranged from six months to 13 years, with an average of three years and two months. A total of 129 practitioners were fined 13,665,000 yuan, with an average of 10,676 yuan per person. After a court forcibly collected the fine from a practitioner’s three bank accounts, they also blacklisted him on the social credit system, which would bar him from traveling or even renovating his own home.
Prior to their latest prison terms, some practitioners had already spent over 10 years behind bars, including a 78-year-old man who was sentenced to three years after serving 11.5 years, a woman who was sentenced to eight years after spending 15 years in prison, and another man who was given six years after being incarcerated for 10 years.
Many sentenced practitioners are not the only ones in their families that have suffered from the persecution. The above-mentioned practitioner who was sentenced to six years also lost his father to the persecution. Several other practitioners lost their husbands, wives, or parents before being sentenced themselves.
With the draconian lockdown and suppression since the pandemic began, the practitioners who persisted in raising awareness about the human rights atrocities are facing ever more severe retaliation for their courageous efforts. In January 2022, just weeks before the Winter Olympics, 11 Beijing residents were handed down heavy terms for sending photos of the city to overseas media. Other practitioners were sentenced to prison simply for distributing flyers or talking to people about Falun Gong.
According to the 2022 Annual Report released by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) on April 25, 2022, China was designated again as “a country of particular concern (CPC)” for “engaging in systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.” The report also noted that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has not only banned its members from believing in or practicing any faith but also become increasingly hostile toward religions in recent years.
The full list of sentenced practitioners can be downloaded here (PDF).
Based on an original report by Minghui.org