Some of the Falun Gong practitioners were sentenced for raising awareness about the persecution of Falun Gong. For example, Ms. Guo Jinrong of Liaoning Province was sentenced to 3.5 years for distributing information about Falun Gong 10 years ago. In many of these instances, the police, procuratorates, and courts violated legal procedure at every step of the prosecution process, from fabricating evidence and witness accounts to holding secret trials and blocking appeals. Some practitioners were given their verdicts just days following their arrests. And some were tortured in custody and imprisoned despite serious medical conditions. Wrongful Arrests Remain Common 6,109 Falun Gong practitioners were arrested and 3,582 harassed by police for their faith. The year 2019 had several anniversaries deemed sensitive by the regime: April 25 marked the 20th anniversary of the peaceful appeal of 10,000 practitioners outside of the National Appeals Office in Beijing seeking the release of several practitioners unjustly arrested days before; July 20 marked the 20th anniversary of the onset of the persecution of Falun Gong; October 1 marked the 70th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party’s founding. The arrests and harassment of Falun Gong practitioners spiked around these three anniversaries, as the authorities attempted to prevent the practitioners from engaging in public demonstrations or launching other grassroots efforts to raise awareness about the persecution. Many of these practitioners were arrested in groups, usually of two or three dozen. In most cases, the police monitored the practitioners’ cellphones and their daily activities for months before executing the arrests. In Guang’an City, Sichuan Province, over 20 practitioners were arrested on April 23, 2019. More than 300 police officers were mobilized to arrest 18 practitioners in Zunhua City, Hebei Province, around 3:00 a.m. on July 6, 2019. In Wuhan City, Hubei Province, 40 practitioners, including an 89-year-old woman, were arrested on September 23, 2019, before the National Day on October 1 and the 7th Military World Games between October 18-27 in Wuhan. The arrests and harassment of practitioners took place in 29 provinces and centrally-controlled municipalities. Shandong, Hebei, and Sichuan were the top three provinces with over 1,000 practitioners arrested and harassed. Eighteen provinces, such as Jilin and Liaoning, reported triple-digit cases of arrest and harassment. An influential U.S. congressional commission also recently called out Beijing for its escalating suppression of faith groups in 2019. “Scholars and international rights groups have described religious persecution in China over the last year to be of an intensity not seen since the Cultural Revolution,” the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) said in an annual human rights report released on Jan. 8. Over the past year, U.S. officials have repeatedly condemned the Chinese Communist Party for its widespread violations of religious freedom. “The party demands that it alone be called God,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in June 2018. “In China, the government’s intense persecution of many faiths—Falun Gong practitioners, Christians, and Tibetan Buddhists among them—is the norm,” he said. Read full reports on Minhui.org... http://en.minghui.org/html/articles/2020/1/9/182099.htmlhttp://en.minghui.org/html/articles/2020/1/13/182162.html The Epoch Times' coverage of this story is here.