Hubei Family Put on Trial for Sending Falun Gong-Related Text Messages
(Minghui.org) Three lawyers and their three clients delivered a lengthy defense during a trial at the Wucheng District Court in Jinhua, Zhejiang Province on February 27, 2017. The judge adjourned the trial, after close to seven hours, without announcing a verdict.
The three defendants, Mr. Zhou Dunwang, his wife Ms. Yang Xianfeng, and their son Mr. Zhou Liang, were arrested for sending text messages that exposed the persecution of Falun Gong on November 2, 2016.
At the time of the arrest, the Zhou family, from Macheng, Hubei Province, was visiting Ms. Yang's sister in Jinhua. They were detained in the Wucheng District Detention Center.
Lawyers: No Legal Basis, Nor Any Evidence for the Charge
The Zhou family was charged with “using a cult organization to undermine law enforcement,” a standard pretext used by the Chinese communist regime against Falun Gong practitioners.
The lawyers argued that the Article did not apply to their case and that there had never been any valid legal basis for the persecution.
Besides, the prosecutor did not provide any evidence to support the claim of “using a cult organization to undermine law enforcement,” as he failed to demonstrate which act of law enforcement was undermined, to what extent, and which cult organization their clients participated in.
In addition, one lawyer said that based on the Chinese Constitution, his client was entitled to freedom of belief and religious freedom, which includes practicing Falun Gong, and that no individual or government agency had the right to interfere with one's spiritual belief.
The prosecutor argued that the materials confiscated from the practitioners included information about the criminal complaints against Jiang Zemin (former head of the communist regime, who ordered the persecution of Falun Gong), an article calling for the public's withdrawal from the Party, and information about the persecution, and that all these materials were “anti-Party” and thus should be allowed as evidence.
The defense lawyers rebutted this, saying that the public had every right to know about Party's persecution of various groups, and that Falun Gong practitioners were very brave to expose these facts.
The prosecutor also exhibited a pile of letters confiscated from the practitioners, but the defense lawyers pointed out that the letters had not been opened.
“How do you know it's criminal evidence without looking at it?” asked the defense attorneys. “This is exactly how you sentenced Falun Gong practitioners in the past – sentencing them even without evidence.” The prosecutor had nothing more to say.
In the end, the lawyers encouraged the judge to weigh the facts, let his conscience reign, and be just when making his decision.
“We demand acquittal for our clients,” said one of the defense attorneys. “We hope that politics doesn't get involved in this case.”
Defendants Share Their Stories, Plead for Justice
The three Falun Gong practitioners also testified on their own behalf.
Ms. Yang Xianfeng
Ms. Yang Xianfeng said she was a core member of the technology team at a large state-owned enterprise in Macheng. Practicing Falun Gong helped her to be more energetic. She won a scientific innovation award as a result of her work.
“We don't have any political pursuit,” she said. “The reason why we risk our lives in bringing the information about the persecution to the public is that we hope people hear the facts and make the right choice. I hope you can truly be just and not be an accomplice in the persecution.”
She also cited historic examples of how dictatorships collapsed after persecuting spiritual beliefs. Furthermore, she warned that there are consequences for anyone who takes part in persecution.
While she was talking, the judge, court clerk, prosecutor and bailiffs all listened quietly without interrupting. This is considered progress compared to many other cases against Falun Gong practitioners, especially those that took place in the early years of the persecution.
Mr. Zhou Dunwang
Mr. Zhou Dunwang was an employee at the Water Bureau in Macheng and in charge of the technical support of the city's water supply system.
He said that after practicing Falun Gong, his health improved and his mind was uplifted.
Because of his position, many people tried to bribe him, but the Falun Gong principles, Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance, were instrumental in his resisting the bribes and maintain integrity. Therefore, his reputation at his workplace was excellent.
At home, he took very good care of his father-in-law, whose two sons failed to do so.
“There are many children nowadays,” he said, “who refuse to take care of their parents, let alone their parents-in-law. I must admit that I would not have taken care of my father-in-law if I hadn't learned Falun Gong, which taught me to be kind and considerate.”
Mr. Zhou Liang
The couple's son, Mr. Zhou Liang, works at Tianhe Airport in Wuhan. He told the court that he began practicing Falun Gong after seeing the positive changes in his parents.
“We didn't violate any law,” he said. “I hope the judge can stand on the side of justice and finds us not guilty as charged.”