MELBOURNE, Australia—A 65-year-old Chinese woman who was living in Australia under a protection visa was arrested after returning to China and sentenced to one year imprisonment by a Chinese district court for practicing her faith, reported Minghui.org, a U.S.-based website that serves as a clearinghouse on the persecution of the spiritual group Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, in China.
The ancient Chinese meditation practice, based on the moral tenets of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, has been severely suppressed in China since 1999.
Yin Sen, a Falun Gong practitioner originally from Dalian City, Liaoning Province in northeastern China, traveled to China from Australia on Feb. 4 this year in order to spend the Chinese New Year holidays with her husband and son, who are unable to leave China. Yin was aware of the risks she faced, according to the Minghui.org report.
Upon arrival at the Shenzhen City airport in southern China, Yin was arrested by customs. She then spent 10 days at the Shenzhen Detention Center. She was later transferred to the Dalian City Detention Center. According to Minghui.org, Yin’s arrest was approved by the Chinese regime’s procuratorate office.
In July, Yin was sentenced to one year imprisonment and in mid-September, she was sent to the Liaoning Women’s Prison.
According to Minghui.org, Yin fled China due to the persecution of Falun Gong and arrived in Australia in March 2016. She obtained an Australian protection visa within months. Yin initially lived in Perth but later moved to Canberra where she lived for one year. According to a spokesperson for the Falun Dafa Association of Australia, Yin actively raised awareness about Falun Dafa and its persecution while living in Canberra.
Prior to her arrival in Australia, Yin was repeatedly arrested and detained in China for distributing information and raising awareness about the persecution of Falun Gong. Yin was also tortured by police for not giving up her faith, and had her home ransacked after she filed a criminal complaint against Jiang Zemin, the former head of the Chinese Communist Party who ordered the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999.
In the past 20 years, millions of practitioners of Falun Gong practitioners have been illegally detained, tortured, or killed in China because they refused to give up their faith, according to Minghui.org.
And according to estimates by the Falun Dafa Information Center, between 450,000 to 1 million Falun Gong practitioners are incarcerated in China at any given time.
No contact has been made by Yin and Falun Gong practitioners in Australia. But local practitioners say they are concerned that she will be badly treated in prison.
Holly Wei from the Falun Dafa Association of Australia, New South Wales branch, has warned Chinese-Australian practitioners from visiting China. “The persecution of Falun Gong is still ongoing in China, it hasn’t stopped, and any practitioners who go to China are not [guaranteed to be] safe,” said
Song Fa Liu, also from the New South Wales branch, said that despite having relatives in China, he would not go back to China.
“We are concerned for any Chinese [Falun Gong] practitioner who goes back to China. Personally I am not going [to China] until [the situation in of Falun Gong] is rectified.”
Among all persecuted religious minorities in China, Falun Gong practitioners face some of the most brutal treatment. Many individuals are arrested and sent to labor camps. In recent years, practitioners have also been killed for their organs in order to fuel the country’s organ transplant trade, according to findings by an independent people’s tribunal in London released this June.