Hubei Teacher Appeals Five-Year Sentence for “Teaching Computer Skills”
(Minghui.org) A teacher in Hubei Province appealing his five-year prison sentence alleges that the charges and evidence against him were fabricated by the police. Mr. Xu Xudong had previously been imprisoned and tortured from 2001 to 2005 for practicing Falun Gong. During that illegal prison term, his mother died of grief. Now, he and his family face five more years of torment.
Mr. Xu Xudong is last known to be incarcerated at the Yun County Detention Center.
During his trial on September 13, 2013, Mr. Xu was told that he violated the law by “teaching computer skills” and “supplying computers to others.” The prosecutor entered several photos as evidence. Among the photos contested by Mr. Xu, a computer bag and a computer monitor were counted as “computers,” and an unlabeled cardboard box was purported to be a CD burner. Mr. Xu alleges that, in addition to the photos, the prosecutor's witness testimony was also falsified.
After the trial, Mr. Xu recalled a judicial officer’s comment, “It's not about whether you have broken the law. If the [Chinese Communist] Party wants to sentence you, you're guilty even if you're not guilty.”
Procedural Violations and Intimidation of Defense Attorneys
The Yun County Court did not notify Mr. Xu of his trial date until the day before the trial. Under Chinese criminal procedure code, the court is required to notify defendants at least three days before the scheduled trial date.
Prior to the trial, the 610 Office ordered the Bureau of Justice to pressure the law firm employing Mr. Xu’s two defense attorneys and forbid them to defend Falun Gong practitioners. The Yun County Police also did not allow the attorneys to meet with Mr. Xu and even prohibited them from entering a non-guilty plea. Despite the extralegal intimidation by government officials, Mr. Xu's attorneys appeared in court and defended Mr. Xu.
Absent Witnesses and Missing Signatures
Mr. Xu pointed out that none of the prosecution witnesses attended the trial. He also said that he did not recognize any of the witnesses listed, including Luo Qihua, Xuan Anping, and Zhang Daozhi. His attorneys stated that the prosecutor’s witness testimony was filed five years ago and without any signatures.
Mr. Xu's attorneys also contest the expert verification of witness testimony, citing a conflict of interest: the verification was conducted by Yang Lijuan, an agent with the network monitoring unit of the police department pressing the charges, not by an independent third party. Furthermore, Ms. Yang has no pertinent qualifications to carry out the verification.
Mr. Xu said, “I don’t even know how to print, so how could I teach others? I never had a computer, so how could I give it away?” When he contested that the prosecutor's witness testimony was self-contradictory and did not conform to the facts, the prosecutor remained silent.
Mr. Xu's 70-year-old father, the only family member allowed to attend the trial, was left crying when the trial ended.
Arrested, Detained, and Beaten in a Brainwashing Center
On February 26, 2013, Mr. Xu was arrested by plainclothes officers on his way home from work. Without identifying themselves as police, they forced him into a vehicle and beat him. Mr. Xu was then held in a detention center for a month before being taken to the Hubei Province Legal Education Center (also known as Banqiao Brainwashing Center) on March 25. He was violently beaten and was injected with unknown substances.
In one case of physical violence, Officer Liu Cheng hired a man named Bao Aihua to beat Mr. Xu for up to a half hour at a time. Bao also repeatedly hit Mr. Xu's head with a thick book, making him dizzy and unable to move his neck.
As part of the brainwashing procedure, Mr. Xu was forced to read and watch information slandering Falun Gong between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. every day. Not allowed to turn off the television or lights at night, he quickly became sleep-deprived. He experienced headaches, mental breakdowns, and other health problems due to the long-term mental torment.
After Mr. Xu was brought back to the Yun County Detention Center on April 27, the police department submitted the charges and evidence to the Yun County Procuratorate.
Previous Imprisonment for Peaceful Appeal
Prior to the his current sentence, Mr. Xu had been imprisoned for five years in Qinduankou Prison in Wuhan from 2001 to 2005. He was arrested and sentenced in 2000 for petitioning the government in Beijing after the Chinese regime began to persecute Falun Gong in July 1999.
In Qinduankou Prison, Mr. Xu was frequently made to stand for 20 hours a day, beaten, deprived of sleep for up to 15 days at a time, held in solitary confinement, exposed to the sun for long periods of time, and forced to write “thought reports.” Due to the hard labor, he lost fingernails twice after his fingers were crushed by bricks.
While Mr. Xu was being tortured in prison in 2001, his sister, Xu Yanqin, was arrested and held in Zhushan County Detention Center for several months. Before releasing her, the police extorted thousands of yuan from their elderly parents.
Because the police continued to harass Mr. Xu after he was released, he had to find work in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuhan, and other cities and could not stay in the same place for very long. Meanwhile, officers went to his father’s home and demanded that he hand over his son. Under the tremendous mental pressure, Mr. Xu's father is moved to tears every time he mentions his son.