(Minghui.org) A Tianjin woman was recently tried for refusing to renounce Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime. Ms. Liu Guirong testified in her own defense, and her lawyer also argued for her constitutional right to freedom of belief.

Ms. Liu was riding her electric bike on July 7, 2017 when she was stopped at an intersection and arrested. Agents from Jiarongli Police Station proceeded to ransack her home without her knowledge. They confiscated her Falun Gong books and informational materials.

Ms. Liu was released on bail on August 14. Two weeks later, she was summoned to the police station to pick up her impounded bike. She returned home with her bike, but police arrived moments later to take her back into custody. She has since remained at Beichen District Detention Center.

Ms. Liu appeared in court on December 13. Her lawyer entered a not guilty plea for her, as no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong. Prosecutor Wang Lifang alleged that the Falun Gong books and materials confiscated from Ms. Liu’s home were enough evidence against her. Wang cited as legal basis two notices issued by China's Administration of Press and Publications in July 1999 to ban the publication of Falun Gong books.

The lawyer countered that the Administration issued a repeal of the ban in 2011 and that it was fully legal for practitioners to own Falun Gong books and informational materials.

The lawyer further argued that it was against legal procedure for the officers who searched Ms. Liu’s home to keep the confiscated items. By law, those items should have been under the care of someone else.

Wang replied that she didn’t know about the repeal of the ban on Falun Gong books or the legal procedure concerning confiscated items. The lawyer said he’d send her copies of the relevant laws and regulations after the hearing.

Ms. Liu testified in her own defense. She explained how her skin problems disappeared after she began practicing Falun Gong and expressed her determination to hold firm to her faith. She also shared how her family had been affected by the persecution of Falun Gong. As she had been arrested multiple times for her faith, her husband was so traumatized that he fell ill and died a few years ago. Her young grandson once said to her, “I’ve already lost my grandpa. I don’t want to lose you too.”

Wang recommended 1-2 years of prison at the end of the hearing, and judge Ma Jun said he’d convene a meeting with his assistant judges before issuing a verdict.

Prosecutor Wang: +86-22-86813311

Judge Ma: +86-22-86819951

Related Report:China Administration of Press and Publication Repealed Its Ban on Publication of Falun Gong Books in 2011