(Minghui.org) Two women in Datong City, Shanxi Province were each sentenced to three years in prison in September 2018 for writing letters to government officials to appeal against the persecution of Falun Gong, a mind-body discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Ms. Wang Zhenxia and Ms. Liu Guirong were first arrested on October 11, 2017 and detained for 15 days before the communist regime's 19th National Congress. They were arrested again on February 4, 2018 and detained at the Datong City Detention Center before being transferred to the Shanxi Province Women's Prison following their conviction around December 2018.

It wasn't clear when they mailed the letters that led to their imprisonment.

Ms. Liu's case was returned several times to the police by the Yungang District Procuratorate for more evidence before it was submitted to the Yungang District Court.

She appeared before the Yungang District Court on August 21, 2018. Her lawyer entered a not-guilty plea for her and demanded her acquittal. She also defended herself in court.

Ms. Liu's family received notice of her three-year sentence two weeks after the hearing and subsequently appealed to the Datong City Intermediate Court.

Judge Dong Yanxiang of the intermediate court blocked Ms. Liu's lawyer and family from reviewing her case documents. He also rejected the lawyer's request for an open hearing. The judge upheld Ms. Liu's original sentence in December 2018 without contacting her or her lawyer.

Meanwhile, the Datong Detention Center denied family visits for Ms. Liu with the excuse that they were waiting on the decision from the intermediate court.

Her family was granted a visit by the intermediate court on December 8. When they went to the detention center on December 13, they were surprised to learn that Ms. Liu had been taken to the Shanxi Province Women's Prison on December 4.

The case details for Ms. Wang Zhenxia remain to be investigated.

Ms. Wang has been repeatedly targeted over the past two decades and served two terms of forced labor because of not renouncing her faith in Falun Gong. She was forced to resign from her job due to constant harassment by agents from the Domestic Security Division.

Ms. Wang's father and brother passed away in 2012 when she was arrested again and subjected to forced labor. Their deaths and Ms. Wang's repeated persecution left her mother devastated. She too passed away a few years later.

Related report:

Lingqiu County, Shanxi Province: Six Arrested Days Before Chinese New Year

Related article in Chinese:

给当权者寄信 山西大同市王振霞被冤判三年