This 8-part series explores the role of China’s judicial system in the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. 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 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.
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
Supporters of victims are often implicated as well. In some places in China, the local police advertise open trials, only to use the opportunity to round up local practitioners who show up to support the defendants.
Several hundred officers were dispatched to arrest Falun Gong practitioners and their family members when they came to attend a trial at the Dalian City Intermediate People's Court in Liaoning Province on the morning of April 12, 2013. Justice organizations in Dalian City had conspired to make this happen.
Officers from the Dalian City Police Department Domestic Security Division and the Dalian City Police Department Zhongshan District Branch made the arrests outside the courthouse. Cao Xunbing was the head of the Zhongshan District Branch. Liang Yongguo, a Zhongshan District Court judge, participated in the trial. Qu Huiyong from the Zhongshan District Procuratorate was the public prosecutor.
Earlier, the Zhongshan District Court of Dalian City announced that 13 Falun Gong practitioners would be tried at the Dalian City Intermediate People's Court No. 6 Courthouse at 9:30 a.m. on April 12, 2013. They were among 79 practitioners who were arrested on July 6, 2012, which involved a broad range of people.
A lot of family members and practitioners planned to audit the court session upon hearing the announcement.
Around 8 a.m. on the trial day, several hundred uniformed and plainclothes officers were dispersed within the 200 meters surrounding the Dalian City Intermediate People's Court, located on the west side of Dalian City People's Square. Officers set up barriers and blocked all roads in front of the courthouse. They were stationed at every road and vehicles were prohibited from passing. Plainclothes officers questioned passersby and stopped them from coming close. Taking a walk or resting in the nearby square was not allowed. Numerous buses and police vehicles were parked by the electric gates outside the courthouse, which remained closed. Two large buses with black windows were parked in front of the city government building.
Officers outside of the courthouse began arresting people at around 8:20 a.m. Elderly women were dragged into police vehicles as soon as officers saw them. No appeal was accepted. There were several buses capable of seating 22 people each. Arrested people were dragged straight onto the buses.
Practitioner Mr. She Yue's elderly mother was arrested as soon as she arrived at the court entrance. So was his wife Ms. Hua Caixia.
According to witnesses, officers kept arresting people until 10 a.m. Plainclothes officers arrested two practitioners in their 60s near the courthouse at around 10 a.m.
At the same time, officers were stationed by practitioners' houses, preventing their family members from auditing the trial. Mr. Wang Shouchen's wife from Dalianwan Town found that officers already had blocked her door at 6 a.m. when she was ready to go to her husband's trial. She could not leave the house.
The number of practitioners arrested remains unclear. Confirmed arrests include Ms. Wang Ruiping, Ms. Meng Xiangling, Ms. Zhao Zhenhua, Ms. Tian Yuhua, Ms. Bi Xiufeng, Ms. Qi Shuxian, Mr. Yu Tianjian, Mr. Li Changshuang, Ms. Qin and three other practitioners. They were taken to the Jinnanlu Detention Center, also known as the Dalian City Drug Rehabilitation Center. Also confirmed are the arrests of five practitioners from Malanzi: Mr. Song Weidong, Mr. Wang Lei, teacher Wang, Mr. Dong, and Ms. Xu.
Two defense attorneys were also arrested. Attorney Cheng Hai was beaten by officers. Both lawyers were then released.
This incident, known as the Dalian City 4-12 incident, was already reported by overseas media.
The Chicheng County Court authorities of Hebei Province announced that seven practitioners including Mr. Zhao Bingheng would be tried in a “public session” on November 28, 2007. The trial would be conducted at the Qiaodong Court in Zhangjiakou City, 62 miles away from the Chicheng County Court.
Two family members approached criminal court president Huang Zhong who was in charge of the case, “Many family members want to attend the trial. If three or four members from each family attend, that would be over 20 people.”
Huang said, “Whoever wants to go can go. It doesn't matter how many people attend, as long as they can be seated.” The family members left pleased.
However, agents from some organizations started “having conversations” with practitioners on November 26. They even harassed practitioners at their homes. They told practitioners that the authorities had made an arrangement, and that non-immediate family members could not attend the court session, nor go to Zhangjiakou City on trial day. Guards would be stationed at all road crossings and non-immediate family members would be intercepted. Anything could happen when somebody was intercepted.
On November 27, the day before the trial, the government agencies seemed to be anticipating great danger. The Chicheng Town Government and the Chicheng Town Education Bureau deployed agents to monitor almost all local practitioners.
Agents were dispatched to call practitioners, visit their homes, or station themselves at their doors. They used all means to stop practitioners from attending the court session.
Officers, government agents and police vehicles were stationed at all road crossings and transportation stations throughout the county. All vehicles and people leaving the county were examined. People without their IDs were stopped and questioned, or even forced to curse Falun Gong. People were puzzled and thought that something significant must have happened.
Ms. Mu Yu is an arrested practitioner's family member. Chicheng Town government officials and the Yuhui Primary School principal harassed her six times at home on November 27. When they learned that she took a shuttle to Zhangjiakou City around noon, they reported it to their supervisors.
Police stopped the shuttle at the Longguan Checkpoint. More than ten officers stood by, while two officers got on and asked passengers for their IDs. Most people did not have them.
When Ms. Mu Yu was asked for her ID, she handed it over. The officer told her and her two companions, “Get off the bus. We have some business with you.”
Ms. Mu responded, “On what grounds do you ask me to get off? Huang Zhong from the court said whoever wanted to go could go. Now you are telling us that we cannot go. Why? I will not get off!”
One more uniformed officer and a plainclothes officer got on the bus and stared at them, trying to intimidate them. One family member got fed up and said, “What's the problem? It is an open court session and anybody can attend. It is our right. Why would you forbid us to go?” The officers were speechless.
In a little while, Chicheng Town government official Zhang came and said, “Get off, Ms. Mu. A car from your school will arrive shortly. You can ride with them to Zhangjiakou City.” With that, Ms. Mu got off the bus.
A car came later, full of officials from several primary schools. With only one seat available, Ms. Mu and her two companions let it go and tried to get back on a shuttle. They stopped several shuttles, but officers stopped the shuttle drivers from taking them.
Finally, one family member managed to get on a shuttle despite the officers' obstruction. Ms. Mu and her younger sister were escorted by two primary school deputy principals to Zhangjiakou City. They were delayed at the Longguan checkpoint for over three hours and arrived at Zhangjiakou City after 7 p.m. They had planned to arrive early and meet with the lawyers, but missed it because of the delay.
A lot of police vehicles parked at the Qiaodong Court in Zhangjiakou City around 8 a.m. on November 28. Officers were everywhere. Two lines of police in riot gear stood on either side of the door. Passersby kept stopping and staring at the court. A court staff member said, “Is it necessary to make such a fuss? The court is almost turning into a prison.”
Ms. Chen Haiyan's mother is 72 years old. She traveled over 60 miles by bus to attend her daughter's trial. However, officers pushed and pulled her and drove her out the door because she did not bring her ID.
When the elderly woman pleaded that she was over 70 years old, one of the officers yelled, “Even if you were 108 years old, you could not attend the trial without an ID.”
The mother was puzzled because Huang Zhong from the court told them a few days ago that anybody could attend the trial and the County officials also stated in a meeting that immediate family could attend the trial. How come when she arrived, only people with IDs were allowed to attend the trial?
Her little grandson did not have his ID and could not enter the trial either. She and her grandson had to stand outside. Her husband was bedridden and could not come. She overcame great difficulty to come to the court, hoping to see the appointed lawyer defend her daughter and son-in-law. She hadn't seen her daughter for over seven months.
A middle-aged woman tried to register at the door with her ID, but the guard said, “The trial already started. Nobody is allowed to enter.” That angered the woman.
She raised her voice and questioned, “Is this the people's court? Why wouldn't a people's court allow people to enter? Why would you deny our legal rights? Who's law is this that an open court session requires one's ID to attend? The Chinese Communist Party just despises human rights. It just knows how to cheat people and persecute people. Every day in your news broadcast, you boast about governing the country with law and constructing a harmonious society. It's all lies. What's wrong with Falun Gong practitioners who believe in Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance? Why would you bully them to this extent?”
She talked louder and louder for half an hour. Those officers, who originally stood in the yard with angry scowls, withdrew into the janitor's room and did not dare to come out to confront the woman. Court staff members working upstairs opened their windows to listen quietly to the woman.
Several dozen family members and friends who traveled over 60 miles to the court planning to see the practitioners were denied entrance. Only five family members for Ms. Wang Yufeng and Ms. Guo Xiulin, along with four school principals and teachers who were appointed to watch two family members, attended the trial.
A trial was scheduled in the Hejiang County Court in Sichuan Province on May 19, 2009 for six practitioners including Ms. Wei Fengming, Ms. Luo Shuizhen, Mr. Gui Dalu, Ms. Song Degui, Ms. Wu Derong and Ms. Wu Xianzhen.
Six lawyers from Beijing were to appear in court to defend for the practitioners. The fact that lawyers would defend for practitioners as innocent scared the Chinese Communist Party. The Luzhou City 610 Office and the Hejiang Court authorities made a detailed deployment for searching and intercepting people.
Practitioners and detained practitioners' family and friends from various townships, towns, districts and counties left for Hejiang County in the early morning of the trial day. Some of them were intercepted at bus stations and were forced to go back.
The 610 Office authorities set up checkpoints along the way. All passenger buses headed for Hejiang County were stopped and passengers were searched.
A passenger described how his bus was stopped in Fuyin Town, Hejiang County. Two people in black clothes got on the bus and started searching passengers' bags without showing their IDs. They questioned passengers about their travel destination and purpose. When a discontented passenger asked what they were doing, they replied that they were performing their routine duties. They lied that they were trying to catch those who sell drugs and they claimed that they were particularly watching out for elderly women. Passengers were baffled and regarded them as ridiculous.
On one bus, an officer found a complaint letter in a passenger's bag that accused a court of issuing an unjust sentence to Falun Gong practitioners. The officer demanded that the passenger get off the bus and attempted to confiscate the letter.
The passenger warned the officer sternly not to take the letter away because she needed to submit it. She told the officer that she was going to Hejiang County to have her relative look at the letter.
But the officer insisted that she go back, “Do not go to Hejiang County today. A case is on trial there.” The passenger responded, “A case is being tried? Then I definitely want to attend.” The officer was Wang Jizhong from the Hejiang County State Security Bureau, who had been participating in the persecution of practitioners for a long time.
Ms. Wu Xianzhen's husband, relatives and friends drove from Naxi District to Hejiang County to attend Ms. Wu's trial. Their car was intercepted as they entered Hejiang County. Ms. Wu's husband and other passengers reasoned that it violated their rights to stop them from attending the trial. They argued for over an hour to no avail. They were followed even when they went to the restroom. They had no choice but to return to Naxi District.
The bus carrying defense attorneys was stopped at the south end of the Yangtze Bridges. Agents got on to the bus and attempted to examine passengers. An attorney said, “On what grounds do you examine us? It is illegal to casually stop a bus and examine passengers.” The agents said that their superiors ordered them to stop the bus. Some passengers protested, “We are attending the trial of our family members. Who will be held responsible if we are delayed and miss the court session?”
The agents asked passengers where they were going and where they were from. A passenger protested, “Where I am from is not your business. I won't tell you.” The agent asked again, “What's your name? Let me search your bag.” The passenger answered, “People of all names are entitled to take a bus. If you want to search my bag, show your ID first.” The driver and passengers kept pressing the agents to stop. The agents called their superiors, then let the bus go.
Ms. Hu Wangxiang was tried for her belief in Falun Gong in the Dongxihu District Court in Wuhan City, Hubei Province on November 16, 2010.
On the trial day, two officers, both in their 20s and with anti-riot guns in hand, kept walking back and forth at the door of the courthouse. Some unidentified agents mixed in the crowd, watching people. Officers, plainclothes officers and officer assistants occupied all road intersections around the courthouse and watched every passerby.
Ms. Hu's family members planned to enter the courtroom around 8:30 a.m. Cao Bin, Director of the Dongxihu District 610 Office, prohibited them from entering. Cao said that it was their policy that they could only watch the trial on TV instead of in the courtroom. He claimed that watching TV was the same as auditing.
The family asked, “Is the court conducting business according to the law or according to what somebody says?” Cao said, “That's how things are. It doesn't matter what you say. This is not the place to talk reason.”
A passerby was outraged after learning what was going on, “This is too overbearing. Legal-illiterates and gangsters are ruling nowadays and there is no place for good people. Is it necessary to mobilize such forces just for an elderly woman who practices Falun Gong?”
An elderly man spoke in anger, “The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) tells only lies. Even her children are not allow to enter the courtroom. How can this be called an open session!”
Upon seeing that the trial of an elderly woman charged for her belief of Falun Gong was so heavily guarded, a husband and wife said, “The CCP has done too many bad deeds and is scared to death of good people. That's why it is treating a weak elderly woman like this and using it to frighten people. I think that the CCP will soon die out.”
Officers nearby did not agree with Cao either. Some officers remarked that nowadays China was not like a sound country, that China would die if corruption was not rectified, and that it was a shame and sadness that a legal-illiterate like Cao was commanding the legal system of the whole district.
Ms. Hu Wangxiang's family had to watch the trial session on TV. Her elder sister and two sons walked out of the courthouse during the adjournment around 9:20 a.m. They came across Liu Tao, the public prosecutor. Thinking that what the public prosecutor presented was all fabricated and meant to create an unjust case, Ms. Hu's two son approached Liu Tao, to question him about what was really going on.
Cao Bin ordered, “Arrest them!” Several officers coming out from police vehicles and a few nearby plainclothes officers surrounded Ms. Hu's elder sister and two sons. They beat the family and shocked them with electric batons.
Ms. Hu's elder sister suffered a serious relapse of high blood pressure after the beating. Ms. Hu's two sons were taken to the Xincun Police Station affiliated with the Wuhan City Police Department Dongxihu District Branch. The sons were later released.
According to an officer who did not want to disclose his name, Cao Bin made a detailed arrangement for Ms. Hu Wangxiang's trial a week ahead of time. Cao repetitively stressed that no mistakes would be allowed, otherwise he would have a difficult time reporting to his boss.
The Xian District Court of Mudanjiang City tried Falun Gong practitioners including Mr. Zhao Boliang, Ms. Zhang Yuhua, Mr. Li Yongsheng and Mr. Li Haifeng on November 28, 2008.
Outside of the courthouse, the Domestic Security Division Chief Li Zhe, officer Peng Fuming and Yang Danbei (female) were directing over ten officers to arrest those coming to audit. Over thirty people were missing, twelve family members were arrested and nearly ten Falun Gong practitioners were sent to forced labor camps.
The arrested 12 family members included Ms. Ma Shufen, Ms. Wang Shuxiang, and Ms. Zhao Xiuyan. Practitioners secretly sent to the Heilongjiang Women's Forced Labor Camp included Ms. Ma Shufen, Ms. Zhao Chunyan, Ms. Li Xiange and Ms. Zhang Cuiqing. Ms. Zhang Yaqing was sent to the Wanjia Forced Labor Camp in Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province. Mr. Wang Kejun, Mr. Zhang Peizeng, Mr. Li Chongjun and Mr. Yan Chengshan were sent to the Suihua Forced Labor Camp in Heilongjiang Province.
Many people were beaten and injured. Mr. Yan Chengshan, a practitioner from Harbin City, was arrested by the Mudanjiang Police Team head Li Zhe for going to audit the court session. He was beaten and cruelly tortured. His nose was broken and became swollen and distorted. He was suspended up in an awkward posture for an extended period, disabling one of his arms. His family requested to visit him many times, but the requests were all turned down. Only when Mr. Yan had recovered from all injuries, was his family allowed to see him. Mr. Yan was later sent to the Suihua forced labor camp for a term of one year.
Mr. Li Chongjun, a Falun Gong practitioner from Jidong County was badly beaten by officers for going to audit the court session. One of his eyes was injured. He was later sent to a forced labor camp for a term of 18 months.
The Baoqing County Court authorities in Shuangyashan City, Heilongjiang Province resorted to a “strange method” in order to restrain people from coming to audit a court session. People were forced to curse Falun Gong before being allowed to enter the courtroom.