Two Falun Gong Practitioners in Hebei Province Tried for Collecting 700 Fingerprint-Signatures
(Minghui.org) The Zhengding County Court in Hebei Province put Falun Gong practitioners Mr. Jia Zhijiang and Ms. Gao Suzhen on trial on August 8, 2013. During the proceedings, the judge denied the defense lawyers’ legal requests. The lawyers walked out of the hearing in protest, and the judges failed to deliver a verdict.
The two practitioners were arrested by Zhengding County police on September 25, 2012, for collecting fingerprint-signatures on a petition in an effort to rescue fellow practitioner Mr. Li Lankui. During his ten-month detention, Mr. Jia was brutally tortured for more than ten days.
Heavy Security Surrounds Courthouse
The area surrounding the courthouse was heavily guarded by police starting at 8:00 a.m. on August 8. They stopped every vehicle and pedestrian to check identification, and turned many away. The southbound street leading to the detention center was also heavily guarded by uniformed and plainclothes officers.
The Zhengding County Court deputy chief judge and deputy procurator-general, along with officers from the domestic security team, stood at the courthouse entrance. At the official 9:00 a.m. trial start time, more than a dozen police cars filled the parking lot, ensuring that any visitors could not find a place to park. Although the court declared that it was an open trial, the public could not even get near the courthouse.
Illegal Proceedings--Lawyers Walk Out In Protest
During the hearing, the three lawyers asked the court-selected jurors to leave, as they were not selected per the legal process. They also asked two prosecutors to leave, because they were not listed in the prosecuting document. The hearing was suspended twice in the morning, and little was accomplished.
The afternoon session stretched past 6:00 p.m. After the practitioners' lawyers presented their defense, the judge changed the trial process by ordering the two practitioners to represent themselves. The practitioners told how they benefited from practicing Falun Gong, and detailed the brutal torture they suffered in the hands of police who had tried to extract confessions by force.
The defense lawyers then alleged that the evidence presented and practices used by the prosecution were illegal. They demanded that parties responsible for the torture be brought to justice. The judge denied the lawyers’ requests and moved forward with the modified trial process. To protest the illegal decision, the three lawyers walked out.
In June 2012, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad visited Zhengding County. During his visit, agents from the Zhengding 610 Office and Political and Legal Affairs Committee arrested Falun Gong practitioner Mr. Li Lankui for “security” reasons. Mr. Li was a self-employed trash collector who was known in the community for his integrity and willingness to help others. Outraged by Mr. Li’s arrest, local residents participated in a signature-and-fingerprint petition to rescue him.
The initial “700 fingerprints” attracted attention from international media, and the campaign eventually garnered 10,955 fingerprints. On July 25, 2012, the original “700 fingerprints” appeared in a human rights hearing in the U.S. Capitol building.
In response, the Hebei Province 610 Office and police department ordered Zhengding County deputy police head Gao Guo to find the petition's organizers, and those who provided the fingerprints to the U.S. government. Police in Shijiazhuang, Zhengding, and Gaocheng raided at least six homes and arrested 16 practitioners along with their family members, who were taken to a secret building inside Shijiazhuang No. 1 Detention Center, called the Shijiazhuang City Criminal Police Training Center. While interrogating the practitioners, the police used various torture methods, including locking them in iron chairs, sleep deprivation, beatings, and shocks with electric batons. Shijiazhuang practitioner Mr. Yang Yinqiao fell to his death during the raid.
Officers from the Zhending Police and Zhending Procuratorate arrested practitioners Mr. Jia Zhijiang, Ms. Gao Suzhen, and Mr. Zhang Tianqi (Ms. Gao’s husband) on September 25, 2012. They were still being detained at the time of this writing. Those responsible for the raid include the Hebei Province Police chief and Political and Legal Affairs Committee secretary Zhang Yue, as well as Li Jianfang, head of the provincial 610 Office.
The authorities' retaliation in response to the petition angered even more people, who continue to sign the petition in large numbers. So far, 10,955 signatures (fingerprints) have been collected. Unable to quell the public outrage, the regime agents decided to bring charges against Mr. Jia Zhijiang and Ms. Gao Suzhen, citing “sabotaging law enforcement using an evil cult” as the charge. However, the only so-called evidence they produced were some books and flyers confiscated from the practitioners’ homes.
Falun Gong practitioners are entitled to read Falun Gong books and materials, a legal right of Chinese people. Even under the regime’s own laws, Falun Gong was never made illegal. These charges further show that the Chinese Communist regime violates Falun Gong practitioners’ human rights.
Earlier reports: 1371 Villagers Sign in Support of Detained Falun Gong Practitioner Li Lankui Over 700 People Join in Effort to Rescue Mr. Li Lankui (Photos) Mr. Jiang Zhijiang Tortured after the “700-Signature Petition Incident” and Indefinitely Detained
Parties involved in the persecution: Zhengding Court: +86- 311-88022591 Cheng Jishan (程计山), judge Wang Apeng (王阿鹏), prosecutor for Jia Zhijiang Case: +86-15097310698 Wu Shujin (吴书金), director of Zhengding Detention Center: +86-311-88789162, +86-13803395601
Please refer to the original Chinese article for more people and offices involved in the persecution.