Lawyer Demands Overturn of Sichuan Woman’s Sentence for Her Faith
(Minghui.org) The defense lawyer for a woman sentenced for her faith demanded that her conviction be overturned, as there is no legal basis for her charges.
Ms. Feng Deqiong is a 63-year-old native of Lu County. She was first seized in late 2015 for refusing to renounce Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime. The local police released her on bail after she was found to have usually high blood pressure. They re-arrested her on February 29, 2016, after noticing that she had moved to live with her daughter and “violated her bail conditions.”
The Lu County Court tried her at Naxi Detention Center on April 1, 2017, sentenced her to two years in prison, and fined her 2,000 yuan on July 6.
The Luzhou City Intermediate Court held an appeals hearing at the same detention center on October 31. Ms. Feng’s lawyer refuted the original verdict and demanded her acquittal.
Ms. Feng was charged with violating Article 300 of the Criminal Law, which stipulates that those using a cult organization to undermine enforcement of the law should be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.
Her lawyer pointed out that since the People’s Congress (China’s legislative body) has never enacted a law deeming Falun Gong a “cult,” 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.
A new statutory interpretation that replaced the 1999 version took effect on February 1, 2017. The new interpretation made no mention of Falun Gong and emphasized that any indictment for 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. Feng lacks legal basis.
The prosecutor cited state propaganda as evidence against Ms. Feng, and the lawyer countered that the defamatory material was not law.
The prosecutor also alleged that Ms. Feng’s possession of Falun Gong materials broke the law, though he failed to specify which law was violated. Her lawyer argued that it was her constitutional right to own Falun Gong materials, which caused no harm to anyone or society at large, much less undermine law enforcement.
The lawyer demanded Ms. Feng’s conviction be overturned, and the judge adjourned the appeals hearing without issuing a verdict.
Ms. Feng’s daughter testified in her mother’s defense at both the initial trial and the appeals hearing. She also wrote multiple letters to the local courts and explained in detail why her mother remained firm in practicing Falun Gong, which had returned Ms. Liu to health and turned her into a happy mother.
While Ms. Feng remains at Naxi Detention Center, her daughter and lawyer are continuing their efforts to seek her acquittal.