Injustice Is Served: The Court System in Today's China—Families Punished for Hiring Lawyers (Part 7 of 8)
(Minghui.org) 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 7: Families Punished for Hiring Lawyers
When practitioners’ families hire lawyers to represent their loved ones, they are often intimidated or even punished for doing so.
Judges and courts in China have limited the rights of, threatened, and have even taken revenge on the family members of Falun Gong practitioners who hired lawyers. Hindering and threatening lawyers and preventing family members from attending hearings are frequent occurrences.
1. Sister Killed for Hiring a Lawyer for Her Brother
In 2010, Falun Gong practitioner Mr. Li Fengfei from Alihe in Inner Mongolia was arrested. When his sister Ms. Li Fengxia heard that he was tortured to disability in just four days, she rushed to the Dayangshu Police Station to demand his release.
The assistant chief at the police station beat Ms. Li violently. He grabbed her by her neck and said, “No one dares speak up for Falun Gong here. You even ask for his release. You're too bold!”
On August 2 of the same year, Alihe court tried Mr. Li. Ms. Li hired a lawyer for him. After the trial, plainclothes officers followed Ms. Li Fengxia and arrested her. On April 28, 2011, her family members learned of her death.
2. Families Prevented from Attending Trials
Mother Taken Away to “Drink Tea,” Causing Her to Miss the Trial
The Haizhu District Court in Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province, scheduled a trial on May 5, 2011 to “prosecute” Attorney Zhu Yubiao. Prior to the trial, Mr. Zhu's mother hired two human rights lawyers to defend him.
However, in January 2010, deputy director Shen at the Lawyers Management Office in the Guangzhou City Bureau of Justice in Guangzhou had a “talk” with one of the lawyers, ordering him to censor his plea. For the safety of this lawyer, Mr. Zhu's mother had to terminate their contract.
Shen didn't see the other lawyer, who then disappeared without a trace. Mr. Zhu's mother requested an investigation of his whereabouts so that lawyer could defend her son.
Unable to locate the lawyer, she remembered the legal provision that family members and friends can act as counsel. She asked her son to appoint her to defend him, which the Bureau of Justice found intimidating. Suddenly, the missing lawyer showed up. The court decided to expedite the case on May 4, 2011.
Mr. Zhu's mother asked to attend the trial as a witness. She submitted her resident book and identification but was never notified and got no answer when she inquired in person on May 3, 2011.
The trial was eventually held on May 5, 2011. The 610 Office told Mr. Zhu's mother that they could give her a ride to the courthouse. On the way, they pretended to contact the court and then said that there was no auditing permit available.
They drove far away to “drink tea” with her. There were 10 people at the table. She reprimanded those who had apprehended her and asked them not to follow the evildoers.
One of them said, “I'm going to eat.” She said, “Aren't there more important things to attend to now?” He responded, “Lecture me some other time.”
They made their way back to the court at 11:30 a.m. at her insistence, but the trial was already over. She could only deliver the pre-written litigation letter to the court.
Elderly Parents Denied Entry to Son's Trial
The Dongxihu District Court in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, tried Falun Gong practitioner Mr. Guo Wuhai on September 3, 2010, on a charge of “surfing the Internet.”
Early the next morning, access to the Dongxihu District Court was restricted. In order to gain political capital, Cao Bin, head of 610 Office in the Dongxihu District, gave orders that the streets be monitored and any Falun Gong practitioners be prevented from entering the court.
When Mr. Guo's brother and sister-in-law approached the courthouse, they were driven away by 610 Office staff. They said that they were family members and had come in the early morning to see their brother. They were told that the courtroom was full, so they couldn't enter.
When Mr. Guo's aged parents arrived, they were not allowed to enter, either. Finally, the chief judge allowed them into the courthouse. They were told to wait in a room on the first floor and watch their son on TV. They never saw him on the television.
3. Family Member Severely Beaten for Pleading for Loved One
On December 18, 2003, Sun Ke in Dehui City, Jilin Province, pleaded for the rights of his relative—Falun Gong practitioner Sun Qian, and exposed the illegal behavior of staff in the justice system.
Sun Ke was seized and beaten by officers in the criminal police division and then detained in the Dehui City Detention Center. Wang Zhenfeng and others in the legal division of Dehui police station planned to send Sun Ke to a forced labor camp to conceal their criminal acts.
4. Brother Arrested for Hiring Lawyers
On April 25, 2012, computer engineer and Falun Gong practitioner Mr. Hou Junjie was arrested by officers from the Xujing Police Station in the Qingpu District in Shanghai. His brother, Hou Mengqiang, hired a lawyer for him.
The police in Shanghai took Mr. Hou away on August 23, 2012. The Qingpu District Court in Shanghai planned a second trial and notified the lawyer not to attend.
5. Families Sentenced to Unlawful Forced Labor
Sister Sent to Forced Labor Camp for Hiring Legal Representation for Brother
In December 2010, Wuhan Falun Gong practitioner Mr. Peng Liang was arrested. His sister Peng Yan hired a lawyer for him.
Five days before the scheduled trial, the authorities arrested Ms. Peng Yan "to prevent her from causing trouble” and saying they would release her in a few days.
After half a year of torture in a brainwashing center, she was then sent to a forced labor camp by the 610 Office in Wuhan City, Hubei Province.
This was clearly for revenge. When Ms. Peng Yan made efforts to rescue her brother, staff members of the 610 Office in the Wuchang District warned her, “Don't sacrifice yourself over this.”
Manager Sentenced to a Year and Nine Months
Yu Yang, manager of the northeast region at an American Company, coordinated the work of 10 lawyers to defend his father-in-law and five other Falun Gong practitioners put on trial on February 6, 2009.
At the end of the trial, the practitioners were all exempt from criminal penalties and returned home after ten months of detention. This was the first time practitioners had been successfully defended in Shengyang City, Liaoning Province.
The city's 610 Office was in a panic and brought up the issue internally.
Later when officers in the Tiexi Police Station illegally arrested Mr. Yu Yang, they said, “We heard that your father-in-law's lawsuit went pretty well. You will not have that opportunity. We will take you directly to a forced labor camp. We can send you there as we please because sending someone to forced labor is the privilege of public security agencies.”
Mr. Yu was sent to the Shenxin Forced Labor Camp for a term of a year and nine months for distributing Falun Gong materials between 2000 and 2002.
6. Wife Sentenced to Five-and-half-years for Hiring Lawyers for Her Husband
On February 28, 2013, after Falun Gong practitioner Mr. Wang Guangwei was unjustly sentenced, his wife Ms. Sun Suling hired a lawyer to defend him. The local 610 Office had her arrested and sentenced to five and a half years. Ms. Sun refused to comply and appealed to the court in Qingdao.
She and her husband were arrested and their home ransacked by police officers on March 14, 2012. Mr. Wang was taken to the detention center in Pingdu City.
Ms. Sun later returned home on “bail.” Mr. Wang was tried in Pingdu City on July 27 at 2 p.m.
Family members hired lawyers from Beijing and invited local people to attend the hearing. The Pingdu 610 Office was rather scared. On one hand, they controlled the Pingdu City Court to delay the trial. On the other hand, they created false evidence to arrest Ms. Sun and claimed that they would not open the trial until Ms. Sun Suling was captured.
On September 4, the Pingdu City Court secretly tried Mr. Wang without informing his two lawyers. Mr. Wang was sentenced to four and a half years.
7. Family Members Inside and Outside of China Harassed on Trial Days
Pudong New District Court in Shanghai sentenced Hong Kong Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Zeng Aihua, 58, to three years of imprisonment on February 12, 2007. The Shanghai domestic security agency and 610 Office were afraid that their arresting someone from Hong Kong would be leaked to the outside world.
Ms. Zeng's 70-year-old husband Xu Xuede was in the hospital for three weeks because of serious arthritis and could not walk. He went to the trial in a wheelchair.
After the authorities found out where he was, they called the hospital and told them to monitor Mr. Xu and report back. The hospital could not stand the pressure so they released Mr. Xu the next day.
Mr. Xu was then without medical treatment. He was in great pain. Coupled with the heartache due to his wife having been illegally sentenced, it was almost too much for him to bear.
The CCP has even interferes with citizens of other nations. Ms. Chen Muhan, the daughter of Ms. Zeng Aihua and now an Australian citizen, has been appealing to help rescue her mother.
She became a target, too. On February 11, the day before Ms. Zeng's trial, her home in Sydney was broken into. The wires and cables of the Internet router were pulled out. The transformer was destroyed.
A few months prior, Ms. Chen Muhan's email inbox was hacked. Her letter to Kong Chief Executive Zeng Yinquan and Hong Kong legislators was stolen. Someone published a letter titled “Chen Muhan: Please Help Rescue My Mother” under Chen Muhan's name on the Internet. However, the contact email address in the letter was not hers.
That letter disclosed Ms. Zeng's ID number, Chen Muhan's addresses in Hong Kong and Sydney, Ms. Chen's phone number, and other personal information. This seriously violated the privacy of Ms. Zeng Aihua and her family members.