Injustice Is Served: The Court System in Today's China—Practitioners Wrongly Accused and Denied Fair Trials (Part 4 of 8)
Continued from: Part 1: http://en.minghui.org/html/articles/2014/1/14/144342.html Part 2: http://en.minghui.org/html/articles/2014/1/15/144404.html Part 3: http://en.minghui.org/html/articles/2014/1/16/144428.html
This 8-part series explores the role of China’s judicial system in the persecution of Falun Gong. The facts presented in the series show that the judicial system has lost its independence and has followed the lead of the 610 Office (a special agency created for the sole purpose of eradicating Falun Gong) since 1999.
Instead of righting the wrongs committed against innocent practitioners, the judicial system actively carries out the Chinese Communist regime’s persecution policies and spares no effort in imprisoning practitioners for crimes they did not commit.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Overview Part 2: Who is Pulling the Strings? The 610 Office Part 3: Judges Show Their True Colors Prosecuting Law-abiding Practitioners Part 4: Practitioners Wrongly Accused and Denied Fair Trials Part 5: Groundless Verdicts at the Discretion of Corrupt Officials Part 6: Attorneys Punished for Representing Their Clients Part 7: Families Punished for Hiring Lawyers Part 8: Supporters Arrested for Standing Up for Justice
Part 4: Practitioners Wrongly Accused and Denied Fair Trials
This part shows how Falun Gong practitioners are made defendants despite not having violated any law. Trials arranged for practitioners are merely formalities and the verdicts are generally decided beforehand. Practitioners are denied the opportunity to rebuke false accusations, call witnesses to testify or hire lawyers for defense. Fact-based evidence in their favor is not admitted, yet the court allows fabricated evidence.
Jilin Practitioners Brutalized at Trial for Testifying for Themselves
During the trial of seven practitioners on September 5, 2003, the judge of the Jiutai Court in Jilin Province resorted to torture in his attempt to silence them. Whenever the practitioners opened their mouths to testify for themselves, they were shocked and beaten with electric batons. All of them had burn marks all over their bodies. Practitioner Lu Yaxuan's tooth was even knocked out. The police beat practitioners so hard with the electric batons that some of the batons broke.
On November 7, 2003, Jiutai Detention Center forcibly brought another 13 practitioners to the court for a trial. The guards cuffed the practitioners’ hands behind their backs and tied ropes around their necks. Every time the practitioners spoke at the trial, the guards tightened the ropes to stop them.
Judge Liu Yong Said to Prosecutor: “No Need to Read the Entire Indictment”
On January 6, 2004, the Shulan City Court in Jilin Province tried four practitioners, including Fu Hongwei, Song Bing, Song Yanqun and Zhao Jiran.
When one family member asked Judge Liu Yong why he didn’t follow the law to inform all involved families and post a public notice of the trial, Liu admitted that such a secret trial did violate legal rules, but he was just following the orders from higher-ups.
Public prosecutor Yang Guangyou was supposed to read the indictment in its entirety, but Liu Yong instructed him to just pick a few sentences to read so as to save time.
The so-called evidence Yang Guangyou presented against the practitioners were actually “confessions” extorted through torture. However, Liu Yong refused to listen when the victims testified how they were brutalized by police during interrogations.
One of the police officers present at the trial once humiliated and tortured practitioner Zhao Jiran so badly that he was traumatized. When Zhao singled this officer out, he fled the courtroom.
Spies Dispatched to Boo Defense Attorney; Court Secretary Tampers with Hearing Record
When Ganjingzi District Court in Dalian City, Liaoning Province tried practitioner Yan Jinhua on May 24, 2013, the judge was anything but impartial as he sided with the public prosecutor during the entire trial.
Whenever Yan Jinhua’s family or lawyer spoke, the judge did his best to stop them. There were even spies disguised as audience members who booed loudly when the lawyer defended his client.
Yan Jinhua’s family testified that she was injured while jumping out of a window to escape the police’s interrogation that involved torture. However, the public prosecutor cut them off and claimed it had nothing to do with the case.
To the family’s shock, the court secretary even tampered with the hearing records. He wrote that the court sentenced Yan Jinhua to 3-5 years and her family agreed to the verdict. When the family found out, they were furious, “We are defending her as not guilty. Why did you say she was convicted and sentenced?”
The court secretary didn’t feel the slightest shame and was very impatient with the family. In the end he had to correct the records upon the family’s insistence.
Judge Prohibits Witness from Testifying at the Trial
Guang’an City Court in Sichuan Province opened the second trial for Zou Yunzhu on July 2, 2013, and his attorney from Guangdong Province defended him as not guilty.
A witness, Zou’s daughter-in-law, requested many times to speak but was turned down each and every time. The judge always replied, “Wait a little while.”
She was unable to testify for her father-in-law even when the trial was over.
Judge Brushes Off False Evidence
Technology Development District Court in Hefei City, Anhui Province opened a trial for Zhu Guangzhen, Yu Meixiu and Wang Jian on July 19, 2002.
The public prosecutor was a bit nervous and stumbled quite a few times while reading the indictment filled with fabricated evidence against the practitioners.
Practitioner Ms. Yu Meixiu couldn’t help but laugh upon hearing the section alleging she did a certain thing at a certain time. She said, “I was being held in the detention center at that time. How could I show up at a different place at the same time? Your fabrication went a bit too far!”
The audience members burst into laughter, but the judge simply brushed off the false evidence by saying the prosecutor read the time wrong.
Public Prosecutor Tries to Frame Practitioners Yet Judge Turns a Blind Eye
After practitioner Mr. Shang Xiping and his wife Cheng Shujie were arrested on September 30, 2004, the local court soon opened a trial for them.
The couple’s lawyer pointed out that both of his clients had been detained beyond the legal timeframe and any so-called evidence collected during the extended detention should not be admitted in the trial.
The public prosecutor claimed that Falun Gong cases were special so the police had the right to detain practitioners longer than legally allowed. However, he couldn’t produce any legal documents to justify that claim.
Unable to satisfy the lawyer, the prosecutor requested the judge adjourn the session and schedule a second trial.
One week later at the second trial, the prosecutor came prepared, reading legal explanations by The Supreme People's Court and The Supreme People's Procuratorate.
The lawyer countered, “I also have the same legal explanations here. Why can't I see the part indicating Falun Gong cases are special cases?”
The prosecutor was unable to respond. When the lawyer asked if he had verified the so-called evidence submitted by the police, he again was silent.
The lawyer also didn't accept that his clients were guilty of any crimes just because they possessed Falun Gong books and literature at their home.
Towards the end of the trial, the lawyer emphasized the following: no evidence collected during his clients’ extended detention should be admitted; there was insufficient evidence against his clients; and they never caused any harm to society.
The judge ended the second trial without delivering any verdict. On March 28, 2005, however, the judge sentenced Shang Xiping to 4 years and his wife to 1 year of prison during the third trial.
Judge Xu Tianpeng Shows Total Disregard for Law
While presiding over the trial of practitioner Li Yushu on August 28, 2012, Judge Xu Tianpeng of Fengrun District Court in Tangshan City, Hebei Province couldn’t care less about the law.
Even before the trial began, Xu Tianpeng ordered the removal of one audience member who later confirmed the police tried to take her into custody but gave up after her strong protest.
After the clerk read aloud the court rules, Xu Tianpeng repeated them one more time before announcing that anyone in violation would be fined 1,000 yuan and detained for 15 days.
Li Yushu’s two lawyers strongly requested his handcuffs and shackles be removed, but Xu Tianpeng declined their request and berated them instead.
Attorney Jiang Tianyong read aloud Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”
Xu Tianpeng interrupted him and said sarcastically, “There is no need to read the so-called universal declaration here. Go to the place where it was written to discuss it.”
Whenever the lawyers pointed out that it was illegal to ban Falun Gong, Xu Tianpeng stopped them right away.
Judge Allows Prosecutor to Throw Tantrum Yet Keeps Interrupting Defense Attorneys
A Yi County Court in Baoding City, Hebei Province opened a second trial for seven practitioners on May 8, 2009, including Wang Deqian, Li Baojin, Wang Yaqin, Wang Jinghua, Zhong Shuhua, Kui Yougui and Xu Guifen.
Yao Shichun and Sun Chunmei were the two judges presiding over the trial and their clerks were Cui Xiaojuan and Ye Qingbo. The public prosecutor was Gao Jiansheng and his clerk was Zhao Baode.
Practitioner Wang Deqian hired Wang Yajun and another lawyer from Gaobolonghua Law Firm in Beijing and practitioner Li Baojin hired Attorney Li from Baoding.
The three lawyers had strong arguments to counter the prosecutor’s allegations. The prosecutor was often rendered speechless and he became frustrated and enraged as a result. One minute he smiled to cover up his fear and the next moment he pounded on the desk to let out his anger. During the entire trial, he went in and out of the courtroom more than a dozen times.
Despite all the drama, the judges turned a blind eye to the prosecutor’s behavior.
In order to bring out kindness in the judges, Attorney Wang Yajun read a statement from German pastor Martin Niemöller,
“First they came for the Communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the Socialists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.”
But the judges were not moved and still kept interrupting the lawyers during their defense.
Despite a Strong Defense, Liaoning Court Upholds Initial Verdict
When the Panjin City Court in Liaoning Province opened a second trial for practitioner Xin Minduo on December 12, 2005. Nine lawyers from local law firms came to listen to the case.
Xin Minduo’s own defense attorney delivered such powerful defense arguments that his nine colleagues and other audience members were greatly inspired and impressed. They gave him a round of applause afterwards.
The judge had to end the trial hastily without delivering any verdict. However, some people overheard the police talking among themselves that it was decided 20 days earlier that the initial verdict would be upheld.
Not long afterwards, the court indeed announced that it maintained the initial verdict to sentence Xin Minduo to 13 years in prison.
Hebei Court Officials Admit Trials are Merely a Formality
When the Wanquan County Court in Zhangjiakou City, Hebei Province tried Yue Yuqi and Cao Fengying in early June 2007, Yue was already on the verge of death. He could neither talk nor walk. He weighed a mere 80 pounds and his family had to carry him.
A court official admitted, “There’s nothing we can do. No one dares to take charge of a Falun Gong issue. We have to seek approval from the Intermediate Court. Trials are merely a formality and all verdicts have been predetermined.”
Heilongjiang Court Refuses to Release Practitioners Despite False Evidence Against Them Being Disputed
The Jinshantun Court in Yichun City, Heilongjiang Province opened a trial for Zhang Peixun, Bao Yongsheng and Li Congfu on June 1, 2009, and the three practitioners had a total of six lawyers from Beijing to defend them.
Jinshantun Party Committee Secretary Li Hong, Yichun City Mayor and a few other higher-ranking government officials were all present to hear the case.
The lawyers discovered that none of the case documents given to them were originals and there were no signatures from their clients or interrogators.
One record even implied the same person was interrogated at two different places at the same time. When questioned how this could happen, public prosecutor Shen Xiangfu had no answer.
Shen Xiangfu alleged that the three practitioners possessed prohibited items and he showed the lawyers Shen Yun Performing Arts DVDs and a few other things as evidence. But he admitted he never watched any of the confiscated DVDs.
The lawyers suggested the judge play the DVDs right in the court so everyone could decide whether they contained any illegal content.
The judge of course didn’t dare to play the DVDs and adjourned the session after agreeing to the lawyers’ request to release their clients.
But when the practitioners’ families went to pick them up, the judge refused to let them go. He said, “What we said doesn’t count. We must seek approval from higher-ups.”
Judge Liang Qingrong Claims Police Have the Right to Destroy Evidence
After being illegally detained for one year, Mr. Ye Qiaoming from Fujian Province Normal University was sentenced to three years with four years of probation on September 15, 2010.
Upon returning home to serve his probation, Mr. Ye hired a lawyer from Beijing to appeal his sentence. His lawyer noted that he was denied the right to use lawyers to defend himself during the first trial and the evidence used against him was never verified by any independent agency.
The lawyer submitted a letter to the Fuzhou City Intermediate Court on November 8 requesting the court to investigate the so-called evidence used in the first trial, to make the second trial open to the public, and to call witnesses to testify at the second trial.
In his response to the lawyer, Judge Liang Qingrong wrote, “The police are not obligated to supply any evidence in the first place, and even if they do they have every right to destroy such evidence.”
Judge Wang Ziliang Removes Defendant’s Witness from Courtroom
Qian’an City Court in Hebei Province opened a trial on August 10, 2010 for Li Yankui, Zhao Minghua, Li Qingsong and Zhang Hewen.
Since the evidence presented by the public prosecutor was all fabricated, Judge Wang Ziliang knew clearly he had no witnesses to call to testify for them.
He was aware of the presence of a defendant’s witness, however, a Falun Gong practitioner named Ms. Bai Xueshuang. He deliberately refused to call on her to speak, but was caught off guard when she stood up to refute public prosecutor Zhou Wenqing’s allegation against practitioner Li Yankui.
Zhou Wenqing claimed that Ms. Bai supplied a certain amount of Falun Gong materials to practitioner Li Yankui. Ms. Bai replied immediately, “I am Bai Xueshuang, and I testify I’ve never given anything to Li Yankui.”
Judge Wang Ziliang immediately ordered her removed from the courtroom.
Judge Ignores Witness’ Testimony
Xiangyang District Court in Jiamusi City, Heilongjiang Province illegally tried practitioner Li Shaozhi on April 11, 2007 and sentenced him to five years, despite a key witness’s powerful testimony.
This key witness, 35-year-old Liu Yang, was coerced into helping the police arrest Mr. Li Shaozhi and later fabricate evidence against him. After initially serving as the prosecutor’s witness, Liu Yang felt extremely bad about his behavior and decided to tell the truth in a videotaped testimony.
Below were the main points of Liu Yang’s testimony.
Liu Yang was once detained at the Xigemu Labor Camp in Jiamusi City for his belief in Falun Gong. The brutal torture he suffered in detention left him partially paralyzed and traumatized. Shortly after his release, he gave up his practice of Falun Gong for fear of further arrest.
Police officer Chen Wanyou paid a visit to Liu Yang on July 12, 2006 and demanded he work with them to get practitioner Li Shaozhi arrested. Chen promised Liu 1,000 yuan a month if he cooperated with them. Under pressure, Liu Yang agreed against his conscience.
As a matter of fact, Liu Yang only had brief contact with Li Shaozhi while they were both practicing at the same exercise site years ago and he hadn’t talked to Mr. Li for a long time.
Liu Yang managed to get Li Shaozhi to visit him on August 31, 2006 and he informed Chen Wanyou of the visit the night before. The police arrested Mr. Li at Liu’s home the next day.
Chen Wanyou falsified multiple documents against Li Shaozhi and intimidated Liu Yang to sign his name as a witness. Again, Liu signed everything without even reading the fabrications.
Sadly, the court still went ahead with the guilty verdict even after Li Shaozhi’s lawyer played Liu Yang’s videotaped testimony.
Shenyang Court Cancels Trial Upon Learning of Witness Presence
The Xinmin Court in Shenyang City, Liaoning Province was set to try Pan Youfa at 9:00 a.m. on March 18, 2013, but the trial was canceled just minutes before it was about to begin.
The reason was that Pan Youfa’s lawyers informed the judge they had multiple witnesses ready to testify against the fabricated evidence in the indictment.
The judge was shocked at the revelation, “Why didn’t you tell us of the witnesses in advance?” He immediately decided to cancel the trial.
Sichuan Police Hold Witnesses at Police Station During Court Session
The Guanghan City Court in Sichuan Province opened a trial on July 5, 2000 for practitioners Zhuang Keng, Chen Tuoyu and Yu Yufang.
The prosecutor was allowed to use police-supplied evidence in their judgment, yet the three practitioners’ witnesses were nowhere to be seen at the trial.
It turned out the police had taken all the witnesses to the police station so they had no chance to testify at all.
In the end, the court sentenced Zhuang Keng to four years, Chen Tuoyu to three and half years and Yu Yufang three years.
Liaoning Police Dispatch Spy to Falsify Evidence Against Practitioners
When the Xihu District Court in Benxi City, Liaoning Province opened a trial for nine practitioners on December 19, 2012, the prosecutor relied on a key witness’ testimony against the practitioners.
Named Zhang Chuang (with an alias of Zhuang Shuang), this person was indeed a spy dispatched by police to gather intelligence. He mingled with practitioners and earned their trust. He then asked for Falun Gong materials from them and helped the police create so-called evidence that practitioners possessed “prohibited items.”
Though the defense lawyers requested the court call Zhang Chuang to testify, the judge never agreed.
Judges Turns a Blind Eye to Practitioners’ Torture-induced Injuries
Many practitioners were tortured in custody, yet the judges couldn’t care less about their injuries and refused to investigate. Below are a few examples.
1. Mr. Li Tianmin from Shandong Province
Li Tanmin, in his 30s, was a volunteer coordinator of the Falun Dafa Association in Weifang City, Shandong Province. Weifang City Intermediate Court tried him on February 2, 2000 and sentenced him to four years.
When the judge asked why he signed his name on the police interrogation records, Mr. Li rolled up his sleeves and pant legs to expose the still visible injury marks.
He said, “This is the result of their torture.” The audience members were all shocked.
The judge was rendered speechless, but he refused to further investigate.
2. Mr. Jiang Dexin from Liaoning Province
After being detained for eight months, practitioners Jiang Dexin, Meng Qingjie and Zhai Hui were tried on December 25, 2012 by the Shenhe District Court in Shenyang City, Liaoning Province.
During the trial, Jiang Demin testified how he was brutalized by police. On the day of his arrest, the police covered his head and beat him for a whole day. He had a few teeth fall out and the remaining teeth became loose as a result. He even showed a broken tooth to everyone, but the judge refused to let him show marks from his injuries.
3. Ms. Zhao Guiling from Heilongjiang Province
On December 12, 2001, the Yangming Court in Mudanjiang City, Heilongjiang Province opened a trial for Zhao Jun, Zhao Guiling, Huang Guodong and two other practitioners.
Zhao Guiling was subjected to many different tortures. Once, the guards covered her head tightly for more than ten days in a row and she almost suffocated. In addition, they tied her up with ropes, and there were still rope marks on her shoulders and arms.
The judge had a female marshal examine Zhao and she confirmed Zhao indeed still had injury marks on her body.
But the judge did nothing.
Public Prosecutor Couldn't Care Less When His False Evidence is Exposed
When Laiyuan Court in Hebei Province tried Ms. Li Yanping on January 25, 2007, all the evidence presented by Public Prosecutor Wang Yanmin was falsified.
The most ridiculous lie was that Li Yanping’s husband testified against her. However, he was right there in the courtroom and he couldn’t believe his ears. He stood up to tell the truth but was stopped from talking further.
Li Yanping testified that she was interrogated with torture, but the judge refused to listen and said he would investigate her account later.
When Li Yanping’s husband went to the procuratorate on February 1 to inquire about the investigation results of her torture, Wang Yanmin said to him, “We’ve done our investigation and found no evidence supporting police violence.” When questioned if he had talked to Li Yanping herself about her experience, he said, “No, there’s no need.”
Ms. Li’s husband said to Wang, “At the trial that day, you claimed Li Yanping’s husband said something against her. Do you know that I am her husband and I have never said anything bad about my wife?”
Wang answered, “It’s none of your business.”
Judge Hu Chunwei Orders Confiscation of Torture Evidence, a Bloody Shirt
The Chuanying Court in Jilin City, Jilin Province tried Liu Yuhe, Zhao Guoxing, Zhao Yingjie, Wang Liqiu and Mu Chunhong on July 10, 2007.
During the trial, Zhao Yingjie testified that the police jabbed her private part using a wooden stick covered with nails, but Judge Hu Chunwei stopped her from exposing more of the police officers' brutality.
While in prison, Zhao Guoxing was beaten so badly that his shirt was soaked in blood. He managed to keep the bloody shirt for four months, only to be shocked that the judge had court marshals snatch it while he was showing it to everyone.
Sichuan Court Refuses to Play Police Interrogation Video and Sentences Mr. Zhou Yubao to Three Years
When the Shifang City Court in Sichuan Province tried Mr. Zhou Yubao on December 6, 2012, he testified how he was hit on the head repeatedly by police.
His lawyer also presented the results of a CT scan dated May 15, 2012, the day of Zhou Yubao’s arrest. The police beat him so badly that he sustained a severe brain injury.
When the lawyer requested the court play the police interrogation video, Judge Tang Xin announced a 10-minute break instead.
When everyone returned after the break, Tang Xin claimed the video was too long to play at the trial and then went ahead and sentenced Zhou Yubao to three years of prison. In his words, whoever went against the Communist Party was in violation of the law.
Judge Wu Jianhui Makes Unreasonable Demand for Defendant to Call for a Witness
The Zhengzhuangzi Central Court in Kaiping District, Tangshan City, Hebei Province opened a trial for practitioners Li Wendong, Yue Changcun, Zhang Guochen and Yang Zheng on August 10, 2012.
When Mr. Zhang Guochen testified he was once beaten at the detention center, Judge Wu Jianhui challenged him to call his witnesses.
Defense Attorney Wang replied on his client’s behalf, “Being detained all the time, my client can only present the facts of how he was beaten and does not have any chance to seek witnesses.”