Chen Shumin, general manager of a Chongqing-based technology company and a Falun Gong cult practitioner, and four other people received sentences of 5 to 14 years in prison for vilifying the government's image through spreading fabricated stories on persecution of cult practitioners.
The Chongqing No.1 Intermediate People's Court made the preliminary verdict in Chongqing municipality Thursday after a public court inquiry.
Influenced by Chen's cult propaganda, Lu Zhengqi, vice general manager of Chen's company, allegedly made up a story about a jail's persecuting a female postgraduate for spreading propaganda about the banned Falun Gong, according to the verdict.
The postgraduate student with the name provided by Lu does not exist, according to the court investigation.
Chen, Lu, Li Jian and two women Yuan Qiuyan and Yin Yan, all cult practitioners, then spread the false information through the Internet, which later severely damaged the regular work of governmental departments and tarnished the images of the government and judicial departments, said the court.
Convicted of violating law enforcement through cult organization, Chen was sentenced to 14 years of imprisonment, Yuan and Lu 10 years, Li 13 years and Yin 5 years. (Xinhua News Agency February 19, 2004)