Two women in China were sentenced to five years in prison for downloading, printing, and storing books and articles on the Falun Gong (a religious movement). Authorities claimed that their actions undermined the enforcement of the law.
One of the women, 57-year-old Cao Qian, managed to cheat the Great Firewall of China (which blocks access to most international and pircay websites) to access Falun Gong material. To keep the material, she downloaded and printed it. Then she asked her friend, Jang Baolian to bind the downloaded material, Bitter Winter reported.
Cao Qian was found in possession of the Falun Gong material, and the two women were sentenced to 5 years in prison on January 11, 2021. They appealed the sentence, but it was upheld by a higher court on May 27.
Their arrest was part of a renewed hunt by Chinese authorities for Falun Gong, whose popularity increased during the pandemic.
Falun Gong is a religious movement established in 1992. The CCP originally supported it before it saw it as a threat because of its rapid spread and outlawed it 1999. It was included in the list of xie jiao (religious movements banned for their heterodox teachings). The two women were sentenced to prison for “using xie jiao to undermine the enforcement of the law.”