(Minghui.org) The persecution of Falun Gong in China has lasted over 17 years, but many people in China, including prosecutors and judges, know that the persecution is illegal.

Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Zhen Hongmei from Shouguang City, Shandong Province, was tried on September 20, 2016. Her attorney pleaded not guilty on her behalf. The prosecutor acknowledged that practicing Falun Gong is not illegal but claimed that distributing Falun Gong informational materials to the public was not allowed. Ms. Zhen remains detained.

Prosecutor: “Practicing Falun Gong Is Not Illegal”

Ms. Zhen defended her innocence in court. She said practicing Falun Gong harms no one, and no law in China says that it is illegal. She said she has the right to believe in Falun Gong and that distributing information about Falun Gong is not illegal.

Ms. Zhen's attorney asked that his client’s handcuffs be removed and that she be allowed to remove the prison uniform. The court approved the request.

The defense was seldom interrupted by the judge or the prosecutor.

Why, the attorney asked, do so many people still practice Falun Gong even though the persecution has lasted 17 years? It is not wrong, he added, to be a good person and follow the Falun Gong principles Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.

He explained that practitioners regularly run the risk of being arrested and detained to tell the public that persecuting Falun Gong is wrong. They do not use violence or do anything extreme. He asked the judge and prosecutor if they had processed many criminal cases, and, if so, why were none of them were committed by a practitioner?

Falun Gong teaches people to be good, so it is a benefit to society, he noted. Even the current Chinese President, Xi Jinping, said that people have faith and the nation has hope. Persecuting Falun Gong is wrong, and it lacks a legal basis. We should respect practitioners. He requested Ms. Zhen’s release.

Finally, the prosecutor said that practicing Falun Gong is not illegal, that it is fine to practice at home, but distributing Falun Gong information is not allowed. He suggested the court deal with it leniently.

The trial was adjourned without a verdict.

Police: “No Rules Apply to Falun Gong.”

Ms. Zhen and three other practitioners went to the countryside on May 14, 2015, to clarify the truth about Falun Gong. She was reported and arrested by Shuangcheng Police Station officers. They handcuffed and tortured her on the iron chair. Her home was ransacked.

She was detained in the Shuangcheng Police Station for four days. When Ms. Zhen's family member asked about it, Guo Hongtang, team lead of the Domestic Security Division, said, "No rules apply to Falun Gong."

Ms. Zhen was later transferred to the Weifang City Detention Center. She has been held there for five months. Her husband works out of town, and her child is motherless.