Four Women Sentenced for Up to Ten Years for Distributing Shen Yun DVDs
(Minghui.org) Shen Yun Performing Arts, the world's finest classical Chinese dance and music company, has toured the world and receives high praise from audience members wherever it performs. However, four women from Yunnan Province, China were sentenced for up to ten years of imprisonment merely because they wished to share the beauty of Shen Yun by giving DVDs of Shen Yun performances to people in China.
Ms. Liu Cuixian, Ms. Peng Xueping, Ms. Ran Xiaoman, and Ms. Liu Xiaoping distributed Shen Yun DVDs to villagers in Tuoan Town, Lufeng County on December 20, 2012. Officers from the County Domestic Security Division arrested them.
The Lufeng County Court put the four Falun Gong practitioners on trial on May 30, 2013. Ms. Liu Xiaoping was sentenced to ten years of imprisonment, Ms. Liu Cuixiang to eight years, Ms. Peng Xueping to eight years and Ms. Ran Xiaoman to seven and a half years.
During the trial, the families of the four practitioners and their lawyers pleaded not guilty for them.
Practitioners and Lawyers Spoke from the Standpoint of Justice
The trial lasted 13 hours and went on for two days.
The four practitioners' families and friends arrived at the court gate at 8:00 a.m. The trial began around 9:00 a.m. The court only gave the families eight visitor badges, but there were over 30 visitor seats in the courtroom. Besides the eight family members and friends, all the other people in the courtroom were from the local 610 Office and Domestic Security Division.
Prosecutor Wang Jingzhong tried to frame the four practitioners, claiming that they “sabotaged the implementation of the state's laws and executive regulations by utilizing evil religious organizations.” His so-called evidence was simply that the practitioners were distributing Shen Yun DVDs to local residents. The practitioners asked him to play the DVD for the people in the court. Wang Jingzhong kept ignoring their request and refused to answer directly.
The prosecutor also tried to present other “evidence,” including the DVDs they confiscated from practitioners cars and homes, a computer, printer, an MP3 with Falun Dafa music compositions on it, paper money with “Falun Dafa is good” written on it and other money bills with nothing written on them which they took from Ms. Liu Xiaoping's home. The lawyers pointed out that none of these items could be used as evidence of any wrongdoing.
Wang Jingzhong lied and claimed that over 100 villagers turned in the Shen Yun DVDs they received to the village Party Committee. The lawyer requested that witnesses be present in court, adding, “You do not have to ask all 100 villagers to come here. You only need to call in one of them so we can ask the question to confirm if what you said is true.” Wang Jingzhong did not respond to this simple request.
The trial lasted from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Wang Jingzhong never did call in any witnesses and could not provide any evidence of criminal activity.
Finally, around 6:00 p.m., it was time for debate in the court.
The four practitioners presented their own arguments of innocence. Their lawyer and family members then also defended the practitioners.
Ms. Liu Xiaoping gave the first statement. She said, “I did not commit any crime. What I did was to tell you the truth about Falun Gong and let you make the right choice at this critical historical moment.”
After Ms. Liu Xiaoping was finished speaking, judge Li Liangsheng recessed the trial for the day and announced that it would resume the next day at 8:30 a.m. The that first day trial lasted from 9:00 a.m. until 8:30 p.m.
When the trial resumed the next morning, Ms. Liu Xiaoping's sister gave the first argument of Ms. Liu's innocence. She said, “You said giving out Shen Yun CDs to the villagers is sabotaging the implementation of the state's law. Have the villagers become mentally unstable after seeing the CDs? Is this affecting the villagers' lives in a negative way? If so, can you please invite those villagers to the court as witnesses? I admire my sister. If every Chinese could follow the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and become a better person, this country would be wonderful and rich. Wouldn't that be great!”
Ms. Liu Cuixian's younger sister said, “After my sister started practicing Falun Gong, she became healthier. She is able to face calmly the unfortunate things happening in her life. She respects her mother-in-law. Her daughter-in-law Peng Xueping witnessed the wonderful changes in her and also started practicing Falun Gong.”
Practitioner Ms. Peng Xueping's sister asked Ms. Peng Xueping in court, “Your husband is mentally challenged and cannot take care of himself. Your child is still young. Why could you let go of these and go tell others the wonderfulness of Dafa?” Ms. Liu Cuixian's daughter-in-law Peng Xueping said, “My husband and I couldn't have any children for a long time after we got married. After I saw how my mother-in-law greatly benefited from practicing Dafa, I started practicing. Not long after that, I gave birth to a son. I witnessed the wonderfulness of Falun Dafa. I am telling everybody here today: Falun Dafa is good, Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good.”
Ms. Ran Xiaoman said, “I began practicing Falun Gong not long ago. Prior to that, I was deceived by the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) lies. I suffered from many illnesses. Not long after I started practicing Falun Gong, the diseases all disappeared. Through practicing Falun Gong, I follow the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and consider others in my daily life. In the village, everybody tries hard to acquire more land and they dig ditches in others' land. I am a practitioner. When it was my turn, I let the divider ditch stay on my land. It is Falun Dafa that changed me and made me a better person.”
The four lawyers also showed how the prosecutor's accusations violated the law and gave sound arguments that the practitioners should be acquitted.
Defense Ignored, Heavy Sentences Handed Down
The debate concluded that morning around 10:00 a.m. The court went on recess for an hour. Around 11:30 a.m., judge Li Liangsheng sentenced Ms. Liu Xiaoping to ten years of imprisonment, Ms. Liu Cuixian to eight years, Ms. Peng Xueping to eight years and Ms. Ran Xiaoman to seven and a half years. Prior to the pronouncement, several court police officers came into the court, and many officers were seen standing outside the court. From the very beginning to the very end, there was a plainclothes officer taking videos. Afterwards, three officers kept taking pictures of the practitioners' family and friends, until the lawyers stopped them.
The same afternoon, the four lawyers met with the four practitioners at the Lufeng County Detention Center and said they would continue to appeal. Paperwork was signed to have the lawyers to continue to represent them and to ask the family members to continue to present and debate on their behalf.
For further information about the persecution of these four practitioners and their previous two trials, please read: Ms. Liu Cuixian and Three Other Practitioners in Kunming Illegally Tried Again