Turmoil in Jiansanjiang – Local Practitioners and Residents Harassed and Monitored During High-Profile Trial
(Minghui.org) Jiansanjiang, a small farming city in northeastern China, was recently under siege during a high-profile trial of four Falun Gong practitioners in December.
Plainclothes and uniformed police officers were stationed throughout the city. Police cars filled all the parking spots along the streets. The police set up checkpoints at transportation centers, highway toll stations, local stores and hotels. Everyone was required to show their IDs and confirm that they weren't Falun Gong practitioners before the police would let them pass.
At a gas station, a local resident who forgot to bring his ID was ordered to verbally abuse Falun Gong and its founder before he was allowed to leave.
At a local school, one teacher threatened the kids that “Falun Gong (practitioners) are kidnapping children.” Shaken by the teacher's words, a student surnamed Li suffered heart pains and was taken to a hospital.
A High-Profile Trial
In March 2014, seven Falun Gong practitioners and four human rights lawyers were arrested for petitioning for the freedom of practitioners detained in a black jail. Under escalating international attention, three of the practitioners and the four lawyers were released.
However, four practitioners, Wang Yanxin (王燕欣), Meng Fanli (孟繁荔), Shi Mengwen (石孟文) and Li Guifang (李桂芳), remain in custody and were placed on trial from December 17-19, 2014.
According to an insider, “Extra police from 15 nearby farms were dispatched here by the provincial Political and Legal Affairs Committee. Staff from the local residential committee, farm personnel, school teachers and even street janitors were summoned by the authorities. Along the 2,500-meter-long road (about 1.5 miles) leading to the court, nearly 2,000 people were monitoring the situation on the trial day.”
During the three-day trial, the eight lawyers representing the practitioners encountered tremendous interference from the Jiansanjiang authorities: the police set up several checkpoints on their way to the court; their IDs and minivan were confiscated, making them one hour late for the trial; bailiffs physically assaulted the lawyers during the trial; and plainclothes officers followed them after the trial.
Harassment of Local Falun Gong Practitioners
Falun Gong practitioners near Jiansanjiang were monitored by police during the three days of the trial, and in some cases, during the several days leading up to the trial. Some practitioners' family members were monitored by the police themselves, while others were threatened and pressured by the local police to monitor their practitioner family members.
For those who had planned to attend and observe the trial, the police stayed at their homes and would not allow them to leave their homes.
In the early morning of December 16, the day before the trial, 13 police officers stood in a line in front of the home of defendant Mr. Shi Mengwen's mother, preventing her and other family members from leaving the home.
Mr. Shi's sister had to obtain special permission from the police supervisor in order to go to work.
In the afternoon of December 16, when Mr. Shi's brother came to their mother's home, he found five policemen playing cards at the door.
Ms. Han Shuhong, Mr. Shi Mengwen's sister-in-law, came from out of town to attend the trial on December 17. After passing several checkpoints, she was stopped outside of the court and arrested along with more than 20 other people, including Mr. Shi's daughter Ms. Shi Xiaojie.
The police body-searched Ms. Han and seized her cellphone, as well as the cash and the jewelry she was wearing. When she demanded that the police provide a list of confiscated items, the police rebuffed her rudely.
Although Ms. Han was released at 4:30 p.m. – when the trial had adjourned, she was shadowed by two police officers over the next several days.
In the week after the trial, the local authorities continued to harass Mr. Shi's family.