(Minghui.org) A Jiaozhou City resident was tried on March 15, 2017 for distributing materials to raise awareness of the Chinese communist regime’s persecution of Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.

The prosecutor charged Mr. Zhang Congjie with “using a cult to undermine implementation of law,” a standard pretext used by the regime in its attempt to frame and imprison Falun Gong practitioners. Ms. Zhang’s lawyer argued that no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong and that his client should never have been prosecuted for exercising his constitutional right to freedom of belief and freedom of the press.

Procurator Zhang Jiena used Falun Gong materials confiscated from Mr. Zhang as evidence against him. Mr. Zhang, 59, testified that the materials contained only facts of the persecution. He said he distributed such materials because he wanted the public to see the illegality and the brutality of the persecution.

Mr. Zhang also shared a story from his detention: one of his cellmates was a career thief, who promised no longer to steal after listening to Mr. Zhang talk about Falun Gong’s principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.

The judge stopped Mr. Zhang, saying his cellmate’s story had nothing to do with the case. Mr. Zhang’s lawyer objected, arguing that the core issue was about the practice of Falun Gong itself. He told everyone that he had no idea what Falun Gong was before taking up Mr. Zhang’s case. In order to do a good job defending his client, the lawyer took time to read Zhuan Falun, the main text of Falun Gong, to see why Mr. Zhang would risk his own safety to tell people about the practice.

The lawyer said he discovered that everything in the book was about teaching people to follow the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance to become better people. He argued that the Falun Gong materials confiscated from his client caused no harm to anyone, let alone undermine the implementation of law.

He demanded his client’s acquittal. The judge adjourned the hearing without issuing a verdict.

Mr. Zhang remains at Ducun Detention Center following his arrest on October 20, 2016.