Elderly Falun Gong practitioner allowed to serve sentence outside of prison

An elderly female Falun Gong practitioner from Daqing in Heilongjiang Province has been allowed to serve her sentence outside of prison.

Cong Ruimin (丛瑞敏), who is in her sixties, was detained in August 2019 when the police searched her home and confiscated Falun Gong materials including posters, books and pamphlets, volumes of Falun Gong images, and hours of anti-CCP video clips on a computer. Cong made a written promise to denounce Falun Gong and was placed under residential surveillance in October 2019 before the trial. She was later given a sentence of three years in prison by the Daqing Ranghulu District People’s Court in December 2019. The sentence expires in August 2022.

Dui Hua recently learned that Cong was granted permission to serve her sentence outside of prison after the trial. Cong was diagnosed with gastrointestinal cancer. The sentencing court granted the request in November 2020 and placed her in the community correctional program (社区矫正). In August 2021, the court extended the clemency decision for the remainder of her sentence since her condition did not improve.

Xing Wangli indicted

Xing Wangli (邢望力), a petitioner and activist, was formally indicted in January 2022.

Xing was detained for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” in May 2021 in Henan Province following his attempt to visit renowned rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong in April 2021. Xing was later arrested in June, but for defamation.

The Xi Country People’s Procuratorate requested two supplemental investigations from the police in late 2021. In the document filed to the Xi County People’s Court, the prosecutor accused the elder Xing of arranging and posting an open letter on two social media platforms that gathered over 25,000 views. In the letter, Xing accused a local propaganda official of corruption and intimidating his family over a traffic accident and dispute.

Although defamation cases are usually handled as private prosecution cases, a joint 2013 judicial interpretation from the SPC and SPP clarified the threshold for how spreading disinformation or false accusations online can constitute criminal acts. If a post deemed to contain disinformation or false accusations accrues more than 5,000 views or 500 reposts, then it is considered a “serious circumstance.” The interpretation grants authorities power to charge people with the ill-defined “causing harmful social influence.”

Xing’s son, Xing Jian, said his father’s lawyer obtained the indictment on March 21 and has applied for bail. The lawyer still has not been able to meet with the elder Xing because of the restrictions imposed by many government organs in China due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Xing Jian fled China as a refugee in 2020.

Li Qiaochu indicted

The Shandong Linyi People’s Procuratorate formally submitted an indictment for inciting subversion against feminist and labor activist Li Qiaochu (李翘楚) in January 2022. The indictment comes after numerous postponements for supplemental investigations and more than two years since she was first placed under residential surveillance in a designated location for advocating for better treatment for Xu Zhiyong.

In a version of indictment posted online, the prosecutor saw Li’s relationship to Xu as the cause of her subversive thinking. Her crime, summarized in a short paragraph, was committed under the influence of her boyfriend as she operated a personal blog for Xu and posted numerous subversive articles written by him. Xu was also indicted for inciting subversion in August 2021.

Li has been a long-time labor advocate, beginning her activism in her college years. She was harassed by police and state security after Xu Zhiyong went into hiding in 2019. In 2021, she announced that Xu been tortured while in the Linyi Detention Center and later accepted the Cao Shunli Memorial Award for Human Rights Defenders on his behalf.

She is reportedly suffering from auditory hallucinations and requires medication. In late 2021, her condition worsened, and she was admitted to the Linyi Psychiatric Hospital. Her mother and lawyer have repeatedly submitted requests for bail before trial but to no avail.