Sichuan Woman Sentenced for Her Faith, Mother Dies after Being Harassed by the Authorities

Two months after an elderly mother passed away, having been harassed and traumatized by the arrest of her daughter, the family was dealt another heavy blow when the daughter was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for her faith in Falun Gong.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is an ancient spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Ms. Xu Zhonghui, a 58-year-old Jiangyou City, Sichuan Province, resident, was arrested at home on July 11, 2019. Her blind mother, in her 80s and who lived with Ms. Xu, was terrified by the arrest and police raid.

The elderly woman then moved in with her older daughter, but local government officials followed her there in August 2019. They took her photo and videotaped her. They also pressured her to sign a statement on Ms. Xu’s behalf to renounce Falun Gong and threatened her that her grandchildren’s future would be impacted if she didn’t.

When she was reluctant to comply, the officials themselves signed Ms. Xu’s name on the statement and forced her mother to fingerprint it. Shortly after the police left, the elderly woman became incontinent.

On November 19, 2019, local government officials and police officers returned to Ms. Xu’s sister’s home and ordered the sister to sign a document. She said that she was unable to read and couldn’t sign the document if she didn’t know what was on it. The authorities forced her to sign it anyway, threatening her that officials from the provincial government would come to talk to her if she didn’t comply.

The harassment of Ms. Xu’s sister further traumatized their mother, who had a serious fall and became bedridden and completely incapacitated.

The elderly woman’s health continued to decline, and she passed away in late July 2020.

Ms. Xu’s husband was also targeted. Agents from the local 610 Office ordered him to sign a prepared document testifying against Ms. Xu but refused to let him read it. They threatened to arrest him if he didn’t sign.

Ms. Xu was tried in a video conference by the Jiangyou City Court on June 17, 2020. The hearing was originally scheduled for 2:30 p.m., but the judge moved it to 1 p.m. without informing her family, essentially ensuring they would not be in attendance.

The prosecutor, Li Xiujian, mumbled as he read Ms. Xu’s indictment. Ms. Xu protested several times that she could not hear him clearly. The prosecutor continued to mumble until he read the last sentence loud and clear: “The defendant, Xu Zhonghui, refused to plead guilty and should be given a heavy sentence!”

No witnesses mentioned in the indictment who claimed to have received Falun Gong materials from Ms. Xu appeared in court to accept cross-examination, nor did the prosecutor present as evidence any Falun Gong materials allegedly distributed by Ms. Xu.

The lawyer called Ms. Xu’s family on September 8, 2020, to tell them that the judge had sentenced her to three and a half years in prison and fined her 4,000 yuan on September 8, 2020. The verdict was dated August 31, 2020.

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