(Minghui.org) Mr. Chen Guangwei, a 77-year-old Falun Gong practitioner was tried in Yantai Court on August 13, 2014. His alleged crime: “sabotaging law enforcement.” This is the typical trumped-up charge Chinese authorities use to prosecute Falun Gong practitioners.

Mr. Chen defended himself in court, explaining that practicing Falun Gong does not violate any laws, or “sabotage law enforcement.” He looked directly at the judges while he spoke. However, the judges seemed unwilling to lift their heads. During Mr. Chen’s statements, one judge commanded: “Don't say the words 'Falun Gong!'” The court hearing was cut short after only 20 minutes.

Belief Is Not a Crime

During his defense, Mr. Chen said: “I began to practice Falun Gong in 1996. My health was very poor. I suffered from insomnia, hypertension and heart disease, and I experienced cardiac arrest while sleeping. After I began practicing Falun Gong, all of my symptoms went away. I was so excited! Through studying the teachings, I learned that Falun Gong is a Buddhist cultivation system. Practitioners are required to improve their moral character, and they are try to become better persons.”

Mr. Chen went on: “Article 36 of China’s Constitution states: ‘citizens have freedom of religious belief.’ Falun Gong is a spiritual belief, and practitioners should have their basic human rights. Their personal cultivation and exercises, their effort to tell people the facts, and their appeals in Beijing are all basic rights guaranteed by the Constitution.”

“In Document Number 39 issued by Communist Party Central Committee, China State Council and China Ministry of Public Security on April 9, 2000, the Chinese Government named 14 evil cults in China. Falun Gong is not on the list.”

“The prosecutor used Falun Gong books and DVDs as ‘criminal evidence’ against me, but that is totally invalid. I have the right to distribute information about Falun Gong. I'm being charged with ‘using an evil cult organization to sabotage law enforcement.’ In reality, it is the communist Party that meets the criteria for being considered an 'evil cult.' The public prosecutor failed to identify a particular law that was sabotaged by me.”

Mr. Chen Arrested and Family Harassed

The police arrested Mr. Chen at home on March 6, 2012. They also confiscated his printer and a large quantity of DVDs with Falun Gong related content. After being released on bail that night, Mr. Chen decided to stay away from home to avoid further persecution.

The police gave his family a hard time after he left, and they frequently harassed and threatened them.

On January 21, 2014, Penglai City Police and Penglai Labor Insurance Administration worked out a plot to lure Mr. Chen home. They told him to go collect a pension check at the Labor Insurance Office. The police arrested him right after he picked up his pension check.

Personnel in City Economic and Trade Commission (where Mr. Chen worked before retiring) told his son to pay 100,000 yuan to bail his father out. The family had no such money. They later lowered the amount to 50,000 yuan, and then 5,000 yuan. But the family refused to pay them. Finally, the police took Mr. Chen’s car.

They told Mr. Chen to stay home during the first two weeks after the Chinese New Year, and he was prohibited from leaving home for 15 days following the New Year. After that they said he would have to submit a request whenever he needed to leave his home.

The police also told Mr. Chen’s son to write a “guarantee statement” promising that his father would not go anywhere. If Mr. Chen left home, they would arrest his son.