Urgent Appeal: Mother of U.S. Citizens Secretly Sentenced to Four Years

Pictured: Lydia Wang with her daughter (left), mother Aihua Liu (center), and Steven Wang (right).

Pictured: Lydia Wang with her daughter (left), mother Aihua Liu (center), and Steven Wang (right).

New York—The Falun Dafa Information Center has received notice that Mrs. Aihua Liu, the mother of two U.S. citizens in New York, was sentenced to four years in China this March in connection with her faith in Falun Gong. The Center is calling for her immediate release and requesting assistance in obtaining information from the Chinese government about her condition and calling for her immediate release.

On March 10, 2023, a local court in Changsha, Hunan Province, sentenced 68-year-old Liu. She was detained on July 7, 2022 and held at the No. 4 Detention Center of Changsha City for eight months. Her family in Changsha has not seen her since July 2022, and the lawyer they hired was pressured to not take the case. Instead, a lawyer chosen by the court represented Mrs. Liu.

Unjustly Charged with Article 300

According to family, Mrs. Liu is still remains in detention at the No. 4 Detention Center of Changsha City and has appealed her sentence following the trial. In the verdict obtained by the Falun Dafa Information Center, the court sentenced Mrs. Aihua Liu for possessing Falun Gong books and distributing pamphlets and paper bills to raise awareness about the persecution.

The verdict also referred to Article 300, a tool to suppress minority religious groups, claiming that Mrs. Liu had undermined law enforcement through her pamphlet distribution. Article 300 of the criminal code stipulates, “Whoever organizes or utilizes any superstitious sect, secret society, or heterodox religion [xie jiao] or uses superstition to sabotage the implementation of any law or administrative regulation of the state shall be sentenced…”

However, Article 300 is not applicable for Mrs. Aihua Liu’s sentence, as it’s unclear how distributing pamphlets “sabotage[s] the implementation of any law or administrative regulation of the state.” In the 23 years of Article 300’s application, no verdict has indicated which exact law(s) are broken by distributing Falun Gong materials.

Concerns of Family

This is the 11th time that Mrs. Liu was put in detention by Chinese authorities since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched its campaign to eradicate Falun Gong in 1999. Based on prior detentions, she is at severe risk of torture.

“I feel shocked, angry, and helpless from my mom’s sentencing,” said Mrs. Liu’s daughter Lydia Wang. “When will the endless persecution of peaceful, kind-hearted Falun Gong practitioners by the Chinese Communist Party stop?”

It is unclear how the trial proceeded or the current condition of Mrs. Aihua Liu’s health. Her family suspects that she may be harassed due to her son’s career as a dancer with the New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts company.

The CCP has attempted to sabotage this performing arts troupe since 2006 to control the narrative reaching the international community about traditional Chinese culture and because dance pieces depicted in the show have highlighted the persecution of Falun Gong. According to Mrs. Liu’s family, since at least 2011, local police and the Ministry of State Security branch in Changsha have been aware that her son, Steven Wang, is a principal dancer with Shen Yun.

Mrs. Aihua Liu was arrested and blocked from leaving the country, causing her to miss her son Steven’s wedding in 2017. Her children Steven and Lydia stand on the right side of the photo, with Lydia’s daughter on the far right. (Credit: Steven Wang)

In 2017, Mrs. Liu tried to attend Steven’s wedding in New York, but Chinese authorities arrested her before she could leave China. It has been 10 years since Steven and Lydia have seen their mother. Their father died in 2009 from the aftereffects of the torture he experienced in detention for his faith.

Sign Steven and Lydia’s petition for their mother on Change.org here.

For additional information about Mrs. Aihua Liu’s case and prior detentions, see: faluninfo.net/mother-of-steven-wang or write to [email protected] with questions or interview requests.

Updated on April 6, 2023.