(Minghui.org) A Pingdu City resident is appealing a two-year prison term for talking to the public about the persecution of Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline based on the principle of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.

Mr. Lu was arrested on November 2, 2016, shortly after he gave a brochure to a man he ran into on the street. Unbeknown to him, that man was Chang Yuhao, the head of the local 610 Office, who soon ordered his arrest.

Mr. Lu’s latest arrest and subsequent prosecution saw the interference from the Pingdu City 610 Office, a local branch of an extralegal agency created by the central Communist Party leadership and given power to override the judicial system in carrying out its task to eradicate Falun Gong.

This is the second time that Mr. Lu Jianguo has been given jail time for his faith. He had previously been sentenced to 7 years in prison following his arrest in 2008.

Deputy Head of 610 Office: “I Call the Shots!”

Guo Chengyu, deputy head of the 610 Office, threatened Mr. Lu after his arrest: “Wait and see how I’m going to fix you!”

Mr. Lu hired a lawyer from Beijing to represent him, but the local detention center refused to grant the lawyer visitation when he tried to see his client on November 23, 2016. The guards declared that out-of-town lawyers must secure approval from the local 610 Office.

Guo arrived at the detention center soon afterwards. He tried, unsuccessfully, to snatch the pile of documents the lawyer was holding. When the lawyer questioned why a simple meeting with his client would require permission from the 610 Office, Guo responded, “In Pingdu, I call the shots!”

The lawyer asserted that the 610 Office had no legal authority to decide who could visit detainees. Guo relented, and the lawyer met with Mr. Lu around noon that day.

Son Threatened

Guo, however, called Mr. Lu’s son while Mr. Lu was meeting with his lawyer. Guo threatened, “I’m going to sentence your father to four years if you keep using your Beijing lawyer. If you listen to us and use a local lawyer, I’ll reduce the sentence to three years!”

Mr. Lu’s son refused to cooperate with Guo, who made a follow-up call a few days later to repeat his threats. The son again ignored Guo, as his father broke no law by raising awareness of the persecution of Falun Gong.

Agents of 610 Office Monitor the Trial

Mr. Lu was tried in the Pingdu Detention Center on January 17, 2017. About five agents from the Pingdu City Domestic Security team and the 610 Office were present.

Mr. Lu’s lawyer argued that no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong and that his client had every right to spread information about its persecution.

Sentenced to Prison and Almost Denied Meeting with Lawyer

The local court issued a verdict on March 21, 2017, sentencing Mr. Lu to two years in prison and giving him a fine of 5,000 yuan.

Mr. Lu filed an appeal ten days later. When his lawyer went to visit him on April 12, the detention center claimed that it was no use visiting Mr. Lu, as the appeal deadline had already passed. The lawyer confirmed that Mr. Lu had already sent in his appeal. Only then did the guards let him in.

Related Article in Chinese:曾遭电刑 冤判七年 山东吕建国再被非法批捕