Lawyer Barred from Citing Statutory Provisions to Defend Client Tried for Her Faith
(Minghui.org) A Wuhan City resident was tried on September 27 for “using a cult to undermine law enforcement,” a standard pretext used by the Chinese communist regime in its attempt to frame and imprison Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) practitioners.
Ms. Wang Lijun’s lawyer entered a not-guilty plea for her, as no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong and she caused no harm to anyone, let alone undermine law enforcement.
The lawyer, however, was repeatedly stopped as he tried to cite relevant statutory provisions to prove his client’s innocence. He commented after the hearing that this was the first time he has been barred from using the law to defend a client.
Ms. Wang, 51, remains detained following her arrest on September 18, 2015. According to insiders, another local Falun Gong practitioner, Ms. Xia Meirong, was tried together with Ms. Wang.
The lawyer’s defense arguments centered on the illegality of the persecution of Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline based on the principle of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
He said that the People’s Congress, China’s law-making body, has never enacted any law that bans Falun Gong. Moreover, article 35 of the Chinese Constitution guarantees a citizen's right to freedom of belief and freedom of the press.
The presiding judge, Liang Hong, stopped the lawyer after he started talking about the Constitution and other applicable laws. The lawyer tried to repeat what he said, only to be stopped again.
The prosecutor alleged that Ms. Wang hung a banner reading “Falun Dafa is good and Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good” and “Jiang Zemin faces public trial” at a certain location. Included in his dossier of evidence were a surveillance video clip and an unnamed tipster, who claimed to have seen Ms. Wang hang up the banner.
The lawyer rebutted the evidence by pointing out several suspicious points. The indictment never specified the location of the banner. The video clip only showed a woman passing by the said location, and there was nothing that pointed to her hanging up the banner. The indictment did not identify the eyewitness, only that someone saw her.
The lawyer further argued that there was nothing wrong with the message written on the banner. Falun Gong teaches people to be good, but former Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin launched the persecution that resulted in his client’s arrest.
He concluded that even if his client had indeed hung the banner, she had every right to do so. He asked the judge to throw out the questionable prosecution evidence.
Arrests Outside the Courthouse
The judge only allowed two of Ms. Wang’s family members, who do not practice Falun Gong, to attend the hearing. Ms. Wang’s mother, 75, was thus stopped outside as she is also a Falun Gong practitioner.
The elderly woman retreated to the street across from the courthouse, but she was seized by four plainclothes officers and driven to a local brainwashing center. She was kept there from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Mr. Feng Jiwu, a local practitioner with no relation to Ms. Wang, was also arrested for showing up at the courthouse to support her. His whereabouts remain unknown at the time of writing.