70-Year-Old Woman Testifies in Her Own Defense against False Charges
(Minghui.org) Tension filled the air on the morning of June 30 at the Panlong District Court in Kunming. A truck drove up and armed police emerged to take positions in front of the courthouse. Anyone wishing to enter the building could not bring handbags or mobile phones. IDs were scanned by a computer before people could enter the courtroom.
All of this security was not for the trial of a terrorist or gangster, but for a 70-year-old retired teacher who practices “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance,” Ms. Zhu Yaming. She was charged with “utilizing a cult organization to obstruct the enforcement of law,” a typical accusation used against Falun Gong practitioners in China.
Ms. Zhu entered the courtroom accompanied by two armed police. Five of her relatives watched her enter from their places in the back of the gallery, where they were forced to sit.
“I didn't obstruct any law enforcement by distributing materials about Falun Gong”
The public prosecutor read the charges. He said police took Ms. Zhu into custody on January 10 as she passed out information that exposed the persecution of Falun Gong. The arresting officers testified that they confiscated 200 DVDs, 400 books, and 900 brochures. This was presented as evidence for the state's charges.
With no attorney to represent her, Ms. Zhu took the stand in her own defense. She testified that the police exaggerated the amount of materials confiscated. At most, she had 100 DVDs, 40 books, and 100 brochures. She then stated that passing out Falun Gong materials did not obstruct law enforcement, as the Constitution guarantees people's right to spread and/or accept materials expressing different ideas and thoughts.
She elaborated on her argument. “I believe my case concerns the issue of belief. China's Constitution and laws allow people to pursue their belief. There is nothing illegal about this. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression, either verbally or in print. Article 36 in the Constitution guarantees such rights to seek, accept or distribute information they identify with.”
“Falun Gong is not a 'cult'”
Ms. Zhu further debunked the lie underlying the charge of “utilizing a cult organization to obstruct the enforcement of law.” She referred to a June 2 report on Legal Evening, a mouthpiece of the Beijing CCP Committee, that reported on a list of 14 religious groups as “officially banned cult organizations.” Falun Gong was not on the list.
The list came from a 2000 internal document issued by the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), “Notice of MPS 2000 No. 39.” Out of the 14 organizations listed as “cults,” 7 were named by the Office of CCP Central Committee and Office of State Council, and 7 were named by MPS itself. Falun Gong was not on either list, despite the nationwide persecution having started in 1999. In other words, there was never a legal basis for the persecution of Falun Gong to begin with.
Ms. Zhu next told how she personally benefited from Falun Gong. “I practice Falun Gong to gain good health and to be a good person who always considers others first.”
She described to the court her illnesses before she practiced Falun Gong: insomnia, gastritis (inflammation of stomach lining), enteritis (inflammation of small intestine), kidney stones, cholecystitis (inflammation of gallbladder), and pharyngitis (inflammation of back of throat). All her illnesses disappeared shortly after she took up the practice.
“For over ten years now, I haven't taken any medication and I always try to conduct myself by the principle of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. When conflicts arise, I always search within to find my own shortcomings instead of blaming others. I can honestly say that Falun Gong is not a cult!”
Judge Ends Hearing Without Issuing a Verdict
The presiding judge interrupted Ms. Zhu several times. Undeterred, she managed to finish her defense. Then he adjourned the hearing. He ordered Ms. Zhu to remain to read the court record and he left the courtroom without issuing a verdict. A while later he returned, and told Ms. Zhu that she could sign the record and go home to wait for further notice of the next step in her prosecution.
Her latest arrest in January took place just six months after an arrest in June 2013. Both times she was taken away by police for distributing truth-clarification materials about Falun Gong. She saw her home searched and ransacked. Her personal belongings, a computer, MP3 and MP4 players, DVDs, and dozens of Falun Gong books were confiscated. Her son was also extorted 9,000 yuan.
This is yet another example of laws that exist only the minds of the CCP's judiciary and law enforcement, when they want to bring false charges against Falun Gong practitioners like 70-year-old Ms. Zhu.
Parties responsible for the persecution of Ms. Zhu:
Hongyun Police Station: +86-871-65813951, +86-871-65816499Zhang Yun ( 张云), Panlong Police Sub-station: +86-871-63387951, +86-871-63387900, +86-871-63387892