(Minghui.org) A woman in Panzhihua City was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for talking to people about the Chinese communist regime’s persecution of Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
Ms. Ji Xiangshou’s husband wasn’t given a copy of the verdict as required by law.
Ms. Ji was arrested on June 24, 2016, and had her home ransacked that night. Police confiscated her laptop, printers, Falun Gong books, and other personal belongings.
Ms. Ji’s husband received an arrest warrant for his wife one month later, but the warrant bore no signature of the person in charge of the case. The local Dongqu Procuratorate returned the case twice to police, on October 21, 2016, and January 4, 2017, respectively.
The police refused to release Ms. Ji. She appeared in court on September 11, 2017, to face charges that she violated Article 300 of the Criminal Law, which stipulates that those using a cult organization to undermine enforcement of the law be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.
Her two defense lawyers argued that the People’s Congress (China’s legislative body) has never enacted a law deeming Falun Gong a “cult” and that former Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin directed the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate to issue a statutory interpretation of Article 300 in November 1999, which required that anyone practicing or promoting Falun Gong be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.
The lawyers further pointed out that a new statutory interpretation took effect on February 1, 2017, to replace the 1999 version. The new interpretation made no mention of Falun Gong and emphasized that an indictment against anyone engaging in a cult must be based on solid legal grounds. Since no law in China labels Falun Gong a cult, the indictment against Ms. Li lacks a legal basis.
Prosecutor Zhang Chi was unable to specify Ms. Li’s role in violating Article 300 and just said that her possession and distribution of Falun Gong materials violated the law.
The lawyers argued that the Falun Gong materials confiscated from Ms. Li were her lawful possessions and caused no harm to anyone or society at large, let alone undermine law enforcement. They added that their client should not have been prosecuted for exercising her constitutional right to freedom of belief and freedom of the press.
The lawyers demanded Ms. Li’s acquittal. Judges Xu Kunli and Wang Jun ruled on September 30 to convict her and refused to give her husband a copy of the verdict.