Jilin Man Given 8.5 Years for Refusing to Renounce Falun Gong
(Minghui.org) Mr. Zhang Jingquan was secretly tried and sentenced to 8.5 years in October 2016.
The Lishu County, Siping City resident was arrested together with his wife on June 16, 2016 and had more than 180,000 yuan in cash confiscated from their home. The couple was targeted because they refuse to renounce Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime.
The Lishu County 610 Office, an extra-legal agency tasked with eradicating Falun Gong and given power to override the judicial system, issued an order to keep Mr. Zhang’s case confidential. His lawyer was barred from meeting with him, and his family was threatened for trying to seek his release.
The police forwarded the case to the local court on September 26 without informing his family or lawyer. Mr. Zhang was soon sentenced to prison.
While Mr. Zhang is awaiting transfer to prison, his wife Ms. Liu Jinru is still in serious condition after rupturing her Achilles tendon in the police station on the day of their arrest.
Lawyer Denied Meetings with Client
Mr. Zhang’s lawyer was turned away when he tried to visit his client at Siping City Detention Center on July 26. The guards produced a document issued by the Lishu County Domestic Security Office, stating that no lawyer was allowed to visit Mr. Zhang because he had compromised national security.
The lawyer complained to the Siping City Procuratorate and the Discipline Inspection Committee of Lishu County Police Department. Both agencies referred him back to the Lishu County Domestic Security Office.
The lawyer tried again on August 25, but was still denied a meeting with his client. He then went to talk to Wang Mingshan, head of the Lishu County Domestic Security Office.
Wang claimed that the lawyer needed written approval from his local judicial bureau, stating that he was allowed to represent his client. The lawyer argued that his law license was good anywhere in the country, but Wang refused to listen.
The lawyer next visited the complaints division of the Jilin Province Procuratorate, where a staff member declined to process the lawyer’s complaint against the police, saying that only the 610 Office could handle Falun Gong cases.
The lawyer argued that the 610 Office does not have any judicial power, but the staff said that Falun Gong cases are political cases, which need not follow legal procedure.
The staff admitted that the procuratorate, the court and the police are all violating the law, but he emphasized that political cases can only be handled in a political way. He even suggested that the lawyer learn more about politics.
Family Retaliated Against for Seeking Mr. Zhang’s Release
Two relatives of Mr. Zhang’s went to request his release on August 15, and Wang Mingshan threatened them, “You must admit that Falun Gong is an unlawful practice. The more you try to use the lawyer, the heavier sentence we’ll give Zhang Jingquan!”
The relatives argued that no law criminalizes Falun Gong, and Wang called in more than a dozen plainclothes officers to surround and intimidate them. He further threatened to detain the relatives for seven days if they refused to show their IDs. He also struck the relatives in the head with his phone and kicked them during the interrogation.
A third relative tried on September 22, but Wang refused to meet with him. Instead, Wang and police chief Yao Guangyu instructed the local department of motor vehicles to tow away the car that the relative drove there.
Wang then pressured the motor vehicles agency to give the car owner heavy punishments, including half-a-year license revocation, a fine of 5,000 yuan, restitution of 5,000 yuan in towing expenses, and 500 yuan in miscellaneous expenses.
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