Hebei Woman Tried for Her Faith
(Minghui.org) A Laiyuan County resident was tried on December 23 on charges of “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 practitioners.
Ms. Zhang Xiaofen’s lawyer argued that no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong and that his client should never have been prosecuted for exercising her constitutional right to freedom of belief and freedom of the press.
The prosecutor had no answer when pressed by the lawyer to specify which law Ms. Zhang had broken.
Ms. Zhang was seized from home at 5:00 a.m. on August 5, 2016 together with her three overnight guests, who all practice Falun Gong. The indictment claimed that her private gathering with other practitioners “disturbed social order.”
Her lawyer argued that such private gatherings are protected by law and that singling out Falun Gong practitioners’ gathering amounted to discrimination against the spiritual belief.
The prosecutor then mentioned a “key eyewitness:” Li Zixian, the Laiyuan County Party secretary. Li saw Ms. Zhang and another practitioner talk to people about Falun Gong at a local tourist attraction. Li ordered the arrest of the other practitioner who talked to him.
Secretary Li, however, wasn’t present in court for the cross-examination.
Ms. Zhang went to the police station to inquire about the arrested practitioner, and officer Zhang Fang refused to listen to her explain why the persecution of Falun Gong was wrong. Days later, Ms. Zhang was arrested at home. Her lawyer argued that the arrest was police retaliation against his client.
Like Secretary Li, officer Zhang was listed as a witness but did not appear in court.
The indictment also listed a printer and other items confiscated from Ms. Zhang’s home as evidence against her. The lawyer argued that the police never found a printer at his client’s home. He admitted that his client did own some Falun Gong materials, but they were her lawful possessions and caused no harm to anyone, let alone undermine law enforcement.
The lawyer demanded an acquittal, but the judge adjourned the hearing without issuing a verdict.