(Minghui.org) Ms. Li Hongyu, a Falun Gong practitioner, filed an appeal to contest her guilty verdict on February 22, 2017. Because no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong, she is determined to uphold her constitutional right to freedom of belief.

Ms. Li's attorney checked with the Tianjin City First Intermediate Court on March 6 and realized that the trial court hadn’t forwarded the appeal to the higher court, even though the paperwork had been filed 12 days before.

Ms. Li was illegally arrested on September 24, 2016, for refusing to cease distributing materials about Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime. Officers from Meichang Police Station in the Wuqing District took her to Wuqing Detention Center that evening.

She was secretly tried in the Wuqing District Court without her family or attorney present on November 29, 2016. She testified in her own defense and emphasized that she had broken no law.

The prosecutor failed to present evidence showing she posed a risk to anyone or to society, or that in fact she had broken any law at all. The judge ended the trial hastily.

Ms. Li was sentenced to three and half years on February 21, 2017.