Antique Shop Owner Illegally Sentenced Again
(Minghui.org) Mr. Zhang Shengqi, owner of an antique shop in Laiyang was put on trial on December 24, 2013 after being detained for six months. Laiyang Court illegally sentenced him to five years in prison on January 7, 2014. Mr. Zhang and his family have since lodged an appeal.
Hundreds of people crowded outside the Longwangzhuang Township Courthouse on December 24, 2013. The crowd consisted of uniformed and plainclothes police officers and government officials from Laiyang City and various townships. It was packed with police cars and unmarked vehicles.
The usual quiet and peace of the area was disrupted. When local people heard the court was putting a Falun Gong practitioner on trial, they said, “There's no need to put on such a farce to abuse these kindhearted people.”
When the trial began the judges announced two rules: (1) No debate is allowed on the issue that the “state has defined Falun Gong as a “cult,” (2) No debate is allowed on the issue if the explanations by the Supreme Court and the Supreme Procuratorrate are applicable to Falun Gong.
The two defense attorneys found it ridiculous and laughable that the judges made such an announcement before the defense even started. They wondered if the judges were worried that these two issues would be exposed, since Mr. Zhang's arrest violated the law in the first place.
The court session went on for over four hours. Mr. Zhang told people about the persecution and the two defense attorneys also spoke in defense of their client.
Ms. Jiang Shu'e, an employee in Mr. Zhang's antique shop was illegally arrested by some unidentified people on May 3, 2013. When Mr. Zhang saw Ms. Jiang being shoved into a car, he smashed the car window to try to rescue her. A group of people came up and violently beat him.
He later learned that the abductors were plainclothes police from the 610 Office. The thugs pushed Mr. Zhang to the ground and stomped hard on his head. After the attack his face was covered with blood and he lost his hearing. The police detained Mr. Zhang for “obstructing public duties.” They returned to ransack and rob his antique shop several times.
Mr. Zhang's family hired lawyers to sue the 610 Office of Laiyang City for their conduct. The lawyers pointed out: Personnel from Laiyang 610 Office arrested their client and broke into his private residence without showing any warrant, and they even refused to show their ID. They did not come in police cars and they were not in uniforms when they carried out the arrest.
The Procuratorate of Laiyang returned the case to the police department for lack of evidence. According to the guidelines, when a case cannot be established, the police should have released Mr. Zhang. However, the Laiyang City 610 Office continued to gather so-called evidence and they sued Mr. Zhang again, charging him with “undermining law enforcement.”
Mr. Zhang Shengqi, 45, is originally from Yanshan County, Hebei Province. Mr. Zhang was a master sergeant in the navy's air force division. He lost his job for practicing Falun Gong in May 2000, and was forced to transfer to civilian work in Laiyang. He now runs an antique shop.
Since July 1999 when the persecution of Falun Gong started, Mr. Zhang has been severely persecuted for holding onto his belief. He was forced to transfer to civilian work, then forced to leave home and became destitute. While he was imprisoned, he was tied to a death bed and tortured for over 20 days, interrogated using torture, and subjected to three years of forced labor. Mr. Zhang has been robbed of his personal property and deprived of his freedom of belief and the right to leave the country.