39-year-old Mother Appeals Four-year Sentence for Her Faith
(Minghui.org) A 39-year-old woman has filed an appeal against the four-year prison sentence she was given for practicing Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Ms. Xu Xiaoying, a resident of Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province, opened her door at around 7 a.m. on November 9, 2018 to see five police officers outside her apartment unit. She had planned to send her 14-year-old son to school but was instead taken to the Daoli District Police Department for interrogation.
Over 100 Falun Gong practitioners in Harbin and Daqing, another city in Heilongjiang Province, were arrested that same day.
A Small and Windowless Room
Ms. Xu was later transferred to the Harbin City No. 2 Detention Center. Because she held a hunger strike to protest the arbitrary arrest and detention, she was beaten and force-fed.
The guards placed Ms. Xu in a small and windowless room, where dozens of people were packed in. They sat next to each other with no room to move. They were not allowed to talk and could only use the restroom at set times. Detainees would be beaten and verbally abused if they didn’t use the restroom at the allotted time.
Such oppressive treatment usually lasted a very long time, until the detainee’s mental defenses completely broke down. Only then would she be transferred to a regular cell. Most Falun Gong practitioners were held in the small room for a longer period of time than typical inmates.
After months in the dark and humid room, Ms. Xu developed scabies, a very itchy and painful skin condition caused by mites (sarcoptes scabiei).
Ms. Xu and five other Falun Gong practitioners arrested at the same time appeared in the Daoli District Court on July 23, 2019.
The judge sentenced them to prison on August 22, 2019.
Ms. Xu was sentenced to 4 years and fined 10,000 yuan; Ms. Fan Rong was sentenced to 3.5 years and fined 5,000 yuan; Ms. Zhu Chunrong received 2.5 years and was fined 3,000 yuan; Mr. Li Rui got 1.5 years with a 3,000-yuan fine; Mr. Gao Guoqing and Ms. Jiang Xiaojie both received 1 year, with 3,000-yuan and 1,000-yuan fines, respectively.
Ms. Xu appealed the verdict in the Harbin City Intermediate Court on September 3, 2019.
Ms. Xu took up Falun Gong in 2010. She credits the practice for improving her health and changing her into a more positive and calm person.
Her parents' health quickly declined following her arrest. Her son, a middle school student, became depressed and withdrawn upon witnessing his mother's arrest. His academic performance was also affected.