“Don't Talk to Me About the Law”–Judges as Puppets under China's Communist Regime (Part 2 of 3)
(Minghui.org) "The judicial system is the last line of defense for social justice," said Chinese president Xi Jinping in 2014, echoing the United Nations' Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary passed in 1985. The document recognizes an independent judicial system as a basic necessity.
In China, however, the judiciary effectively operates under the directives of the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee, an organization of the Communist Party's Central Committee (politburo). This becomes especially apparent in the Communist regime's 15-year persecution of Falun Gong, as it uses the nation's courts as another tool to carry out its suppression campaign.
Below are some quotes from Chinese judges as they passed sentence against Falun Gong practitioners:
“Each word from you is one more year you will stay in prison.”“The Party forbids it [hiring non-government lawyers]!”“Don't talk to me about the law!”“Yes, we’re bandits. So what?”“We are determined to fight for Communism for the rest of our lives.”
Although the Chinese Constitution guarantees freedom of belief and freedom of speech for all citizens, tens of thousands of cases have been reported on Minghui in which Falun Gong practitioners were imprisoned and tortured by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for their beliefs, or for telling others about their persecution.
“If you die, that’s nothing to us.” The Taichang City Court in Jiangsu Province held a trial against Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Qin Yanqiu on November 7, 2005, charging her with possessing Falun Gong materials. When Ms. Qin said she would protest with a hunger strike, Judge Liu Liangkai replied, “If you die, that’s nothing to us.”
“I’m not afraid of breaking the law.” The Yuhua District Court in Shijiazhuang City, Hebei Province put Ms. Sun Tao on trial on December 7, 2012. When her two lawyers arrived at the courthouse, the bailiffs ordered them to go through a security check. The lawyers pointed out that lawyers are exempt from security checks, but the bailiffs insisted they follow the rules set by the district court.
The standoff lasted for about 10 minutes before Judge Wang Hui came over and said, “I’m not afraid of breaking the law. Let me check them.”
He then forcibly searched the two lawyers.
“We will interrupt if the lawyer tries to defend his client. After three such instances, the lawyer will be expelled from the courtroom.” The Yuanbao District Court in Liaoning Province held a trial against Ms. Wang Xiangju on July 28, 2009. Presiding Judge Ma Shuhe repeatedly discouraged the defense lawyer from pleading not guilty.
In addition, he said, “We will interrupt if the lawyer tries to defend his client. After three such instances, the lawyer will be expelled from the courtroom.”
“If you keep trying to defend after we stop you three times, your right to defense will be revoked.” A similar breach happened in Heilongjiang Province when the Yilan County Court put Mr. Liu Fengcheng and four other practitioners on trial on July 31, 2013.
Judge Zhang Anke told Mr. Liu's lawyer, “According to our internal policy, if you keep trying to defend after we stop you three times, your right to defense will be revoked; otherwise, I will be reprimanded.”
“You would be wise to give up any effort on behalf of the accused. We will not permit your defense anyway.” On the morning of December 8, 2005, three Falun Gong practitioners – Nong Youyue, Huang Ying and Lan Hongping – from Pingguo County in Guangxi Province were illegally tried in court. When the judge read the defense statement from Mr. Yang Zaixin, Mr. Nong's lawyer, and learned that he was going to plead not guilty, the judge instantly barred him from defending the case.
When Attorney Yang demanded an explanation, the judge replied, “There is no point in discussing this decision. You would be wise to give up any effort on behalf of the accused. We will not permit your defense anyway.”
Because of this defense, Attorney Yang Zaixin's employment was terminated by the Zhongchi Law Firm on January 26, 2006.
“They [the Police] have every right to destroy such evidence.” Mr. Ye Qiaoming from Fujian Province Normal University was sentenced to three years with four years of probation on September 15, 2010. His lawyer noted that he was denied the right to a lawyer during the first trial, and the evidence used against him was never verified by any independent agency in court. When he contacted the Fuzhou City Intermediate Court about the situation and requested to call witnesses to testify during the second trial, Judge Liang Qingrong wrote in response, “The police are not obligated to supply any evidence in the first place, and even if they do, they have every right to destroy such evidence.”
“...giv[e] up Falun Gong, I can release you on probation. If you continue practicing Falun Gong, I will sentence you to three years in prison.” When Yunnan practitioner Ms. Zhu Rongzhen was illegally detained in a detention center, she suffered from hypertension and was hospitalized in the Yunnan General Prison Hospital. Officials set up a trial in the hospital on December 23, 2010, and a judge said to her, “If you write a guarantee letter giving up Falun Gong, I will release you on probation. If you continue practicing Falun Gong, I will sentence you to three years in prison.” When Ms. Zhu refused to give up her belief, the judge sentenced her to three years of imprisonment.
“There is no need to follow legal procedures regarding Falun Gong issues.” The Nong'an County Court in Jilin Province held a secret trial against seven Falun Gong practitioners in December 2008 without notifying their families, and announced their imprisonment sentences in March 2009. The practitioners appealed to the Changchun Intermediate Court, which repeatedly delayed their cases and planned to pronounce their judgment directly.
When the family members pointed out that it was illegal to do so, a court official replied, “There is no need to follow legal procedures regarding Falun Gong issues.”
“The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) uses its power to overrule the law in its handling of Falun Gong. We have to follow the CCP's directives.” After Hu'nan Province practitioner Mr. Zhang Chunqiu was arrested and later put on trial, he was not allowed to hire a lawyer. The court judge later said in his closing statement, “The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) uses its power to overrule the law in its handling of Falun Gong. We have to follow the CCP's directives.” Mr. Zhang was thus sentenced to an eight-year prison term.
“If I did not do this job, are you going to pay my salary?” The Changan District Court in Shijiazhuang City of Hebei Province held a trial in April 2013 against Ms. Qiu Liying, claiming she possessed a “confidential document.” However, the document in question, “Public Notice No. 2000-39”, was publicly accessible on the Internet and many lawyers also have it. Ms. Qiu's lawyers pointed this out and asked court officials not to flout the law.
Upon hearing that, judge Tian Dianying replied in court, “If I did not do this job, are you going to pay my salary?”
While ignoring the lawyers' reminder to obey the law, Tian Dianying also threatened and laughed at them, “If you have grounds, then bring charges against me!”
“It doesn't matter how you defend the case—I can always make my judgment as needed.” These words were spoken by Wang Xu, presiding judge of the court, during his conversation with Ms. Qiu Liying's lawyer before the trial,
“You can only plead guilty; otherwise, the trial will be canceled.” Ms. Zhang Yu is a kindergarten teacher in Dehui City of Jilin Province. She and her husband, Mr. Jiang Xuefu, a policeman, were arrested in March 2011 because they had played a Shen Yun DVD to their children.
Their daughter hired a lawyer for them, but Wang Rongfu, a Dehui Court judge, said to the lawyer, “You can only plead guilty; otherwise, the trial will be canceled.”
“The 610 Office represents the Party.” The Jiaonan City Court in Shandong Province held a trial against Ms. Zhang Xiuhua and three other practitioners without notifying their families. When Ms. Zhang's family and her lawyer asked why, judge Liu said he acted according to order from the 610 Office because, “The 610 Office represents the Party.”
“In movies, the police officer always comes with a search warrant and knocks at the door before entering. That's propaganda and not the case in real life.” In May 2011, Jinan City practitioner Ms. Wang Jing was sentenced to three years of imprisonment for her belief. Her family appealed the case to the Jinan Intermediate Court and explained that Ms. Wang was arrested without either a search warrant or an arrest warrant.
Judge Liu Zhiming said to them, “In movies, the police officer always comes with a search warrant and knocks at the door before entering. That's propaganda and not the case in real life.”
“The Falun Gong practitioner will be sentenced even if his attorney wins the case.” Xiangyang City practitioner Mr. Zhao Guojiang was arrested in August 2011 for telling some students about Falun Gong. When his family told the Fancheng Court they had hired a lawyer for Mr. Zhao, Judge Feng said that there was no use hiring a lawyer, for “The Falun Gong practitioner will be sentenced even if his attorney wins the case.”
“We provide written responses to all appeals, except for the ones related to Falun Gong.” Mr. Ye Yandong from Kangping County in Liaoning Province was arrested in December 2010 when talking to people about Falun Gong, and was sentenced to two years of forced labor. His family appealed to the Tieling Intermediate Court, which refused to accept the case. When Mr. Ye's family asked if officials could document this appeal, one staff member said, “We provide written responses to all appeals, but not for ones related to Falun Gong.”
“Telling others to quit the CCP is violating the law.” After Ms. Liu Guifeng, a practitioner from Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, and five other practitioners appealed their sentence, a judge surnamed Liu from the Shenyang Intermediate Court said to them, “Telling others to quit the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is violating the law.” But he refused to explain the legality in detail it upon being asked.
“I don't care whether it is legal or illegal. As long as the CCP is in power, I will not be held responsible.” Shenyang City practitioner Mr. Han Chunlong was arrested during a business trip in December 2012. After his family hired a lawyer to defend him, Judge Tao Zhanhua from the Zhenxing District Court in Dandong City rejected the lawyer.
The lawyer said it was illegal to do so, prompting Tao to respond, “I don't care whether it is legal or illegal. As long as the CCP is in power, I will not be held responsible.”
“We are acting based on instructions from the Political and Legal Affairs Committee, not the law.” These words were from Huang Jin, a judge in the Tiedong district of Anshan City, Liaoning Province. Huang made this remark in public.
“Whatever the higher officials told me is law.” The Tiedong District Court in Liaoning Province has been very involved in the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, including Ms. Xing Dan who was put on trial on November 14, 2014.
Defending his actions, Judge Huang Jin said, “Whatever the higher officials told me is law.”
(To be continued)