(Minghui.org) Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Chang Xiuhua (常秀华), in her sixties, was sentenced to a four-year prison term in August 2014, for talking to people about Falun Gong. She was put on trial within a month of her arrest on July 10, 2014.

Zhou Zhiyong, chief of the Haizhou District Domestic Security Division, told her relatives, “There are no terrorists in Fuxin City. We are using her arrest to make our quota.”

Defending a Falun Gong Practitioner

Ms. Chang appealed her case to the Fuxin City Intermediate People's Court. Her family hired Beijing attorney Lan Zhixue to defend her.

The attorney listed the following points in his legal opinion letter to the intermediate court:

1. The Chinese Constitution clearly stipulates that citizens have freedom of belief. In other words, having belief is a fundamental right for all Chinese citizens.

2. The Chinese communist regime has signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Therefore, the Chinese government is internationally obligated to comply with the Charter of the United Nations. These conventions clearly specify religious freedom and the right of belief. They should be observed when judging any case.

3. People cannot be prosecuted for "thought crimes" under existing Chinese law. Ideological issues can be resolved via dialogue, communication, and an exchange of opinions. They cannot be prosecuted under any existing criminal law. To do otherwise is breaking the law.

The Fuxin City Intermediate People's Court sentenced Ms. Chang to three years in prison with a five-year reprieve. Ms. Chang is currently at home.