Luzhou, Sichuan Province: Courts Show Total Disregard for the Law in the Prosecution of Law-abiding Falun Gong Practitioners
(Minghui.org) In “ Injustice Is Served: The Court System in Today's China ,” an 8-part series exploring the role of the Chinese judicial system in the persecution of Falun Gong, the authors showed how the Chinese regime has never followed the law in its persecution of Falun Gong, and the judicial system is nothing but a convenient way for the government to carry out its persecution policies.
The series also pointed out, “Under pressure and directives from the 610 Office, the judicial system goes all out to put practitioners behind bars, despite the lack of any legal grounds for the verdicts.”
In this article, we provide additional evidence from Luzhou City, Sichuan Province, further exposing the judicial system's total disregard for the law when it comes to prosecuting law-abiding citizens who are simply exercising their right to freedom of belief.
Naxi Court Tries Practitioners Without Their Families’ Knowledge
The Naxi Court tried three Falun Gong practitioners on January 10, 2014, without their families’ knowledge. The bulletin outside the courthouse was full of public announcements of upcoming divorce or criminal case hearings, yet information about any Falun Gong cases was nowhere to be found.
The lawyers delivered powerful arguments in defense of their clients, but the court refused to acquit the wrongly accused. All three practitioners were taken back to their respective detention facilities after the trial was adjourned.
When practitioner Wang Daigui’s family finally found out about the trial, they went to the court on January 23 to request his release. They was furious that they were not notified of the hearing, but a court employee, Wang, told them blatantly, “Wang Daigui is no longer a minor, and he does not need a guardian. As such, the court had no obligation to inform his family of the trial.”
Jiangyang District Court Hands Down Five-year Sentence to Wrongly Accused Practitioner in 10 Minutes
During the trial of Ms. Huang Chaozhen on May 9, 2013, Jiangyang District Court employees tampered with the microphone, causing it to give off loud noises or remain muted. As a result, the spectators had trouble catching what the defense lawyer had to say.
The defense lawyer nevertheless managed to make it clear that it is totally illegal to persecute Falun Gong and that his client should be released unconditionally.
About six months later, the court convened a second trial on November 19. In less than 10 minutes, the judge sentenced to Ms. Huang to five years' imprisonment.
Jiangyang District Court Changes Trial Date Without Any Explanation
Lawyers for Dr. Li Yanjun and Ms. Yang Taiying were surprised when the Jiangyang District Court informed them that a trial for their clients was scheduled for either March 4 or 5, 2013.
It was the first time in the lawyers’ careers that a court couldn’t give a firm date for an upcoming hearing.
The Jiangyang District Court called the lawyers on February 28 to verify their availability for a trial on March 4, only to inform them on the afternoon of March 3 that the trial was to be re-scheduled, with no date set.
The practitioners’ family members didn’t learn of the change until they arrived at the courthouse on March 4. Many of them had taken time off work that day and were severely inconvenienced that there was no hearing.
In particular, Dr. Li’s brother travelled a long distance from out of the province to see his brother, only to be disappointed.
The court refused to provide any explanations for the sudden change in the trial date, and no one was available to answer the families’ inquiries.
Gulin Court Changes Trial Location Less than 24 Hours Before Trial to Begin
On July 12, 2012, just one day before a scheduled trial of three practitioners, the Gulin Court suddenly announced that the trial would be held in the Naxi Detention Center instead of the Naxi Courthouse.
Despite the remote location and a steady rain, about 200 family members and supporters showed up at the detention center the next day.
To everyone’s shock, the court cancelled the hearing, citing the large number of attendees.
The court re-convened on November 22, 2012, and hastily sentenced all three practitioners to prison.
Mr. Luo Zhenggui and his wife Zhang Ziqin were each given four-year sentences. This was the second time the couple was handed prison terms.
The third practitioner, Mr. Shu Anqin, had already lost his job and his company-sponsored apartment for refusing to give up his belief in Falun Gong. After he was sentenced to three and half years this time, his family faced an even bleaker financial future.
Lu County Court Pronounces Sentence in a Brainwashing Center
Cheng Hongzhou, in his 70s, is from Baozang Village, Qifeng Town, Lu County. He was arrested on April 25, 2012, and taken to Er’e Brainwashing Center the same day.
Three months later, the Lu County Court sentenced Mr. Cheng to three years; the trial venue was not the court, but rather, the brainwashing center. He is now serving the illegal sentence in Jianyang Prison.
As a matter of fact, the court never delivered its indictment to Mr. Cheng himself, nor did it inform him of his right to retain a lawyer. In addition, the trial at the brainwashing center was conducted without his family’s knowledge.
Another practitioner, Yang Chunrong, was also secretly sentenced by the same court.
Jiangyang District Court Secretly Tries and Sentences 70-Year-Old Retired Professor
The Jiangyang District Court tried 70-year-old Ms. Tang Xuzhe, a retired professor from Luzhou Medical School, on June 23, 2009. The only ones who attended the hearing were the judge, the public prosecutor, and the police. No family members or friends were notified of the trial.
Ms. Tang was sentenced to three and a half years in Yangmahe Women’s Prison in Jianyang City, Sichuan Province. Her appeal letter was confiscated and never reached a higher court.
Hejiang Court Blocks Lawyers from Attending Trial
When the Hejiang Court tried six practitioners on May 19, 2009, police officers were stationed outside the courthouse to prevent family members and supporters from attending the trial.
Even the defense lawyers were denied entry after they refused to submit to an illegal security check. [Note: A security check is not required at trials in China.]
Outraged, the lawyers filed a joint complaint against the court and requested a new trial. However, the court still sentenced all the practitioners to prison terms ranging from 3 to 7 years on June 15, 2009.
Jiangyang District Court Judge Interrupts Lawyers during Their Defense
After the Jiangyang District Court illegally sentenced him to five years on March 5, 2009, Mr. Yang Ming, a machinist with Changjiang Engine & Machinery Works, filed an appeal with the Luzhou Intermediate Court.
During Mr. Yang's second trial by the higher court on April 27, 2009, Tang Jidian and Liu Wei, both defense lawyers from Beijing, pleaded not guilty on his behalf and offered powerful arguments in his defense.
Judge Li Xudong became flustered when he was rendered speechless by the lawyers’ questioning. In response, he accused them of promoting Falun Gong and kept interrupting them during their arguments.
Unable to finish their defense, the lawyers stormed out of the courtroom. The public prosecutor immediately proposed that the higher court uphold the lower court's verdict.
Attorney Tang’s law license was later revoked as a result of his courageous defense of his client.