(Minghui.org) Mr. Li Jiechun from Chaoyang City, Liaoning Province appealed a court's decision to sentence him to five years in prison for his faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that is persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party.

Arrest and Sentencing

Mr. Li was illegally arrested at his home by the Chaoyang Police Department and the Beipiao City Police Department's Domestic Security Division on September 7, 2016, for giving out flyers about the practice of Falun Gong. His home was also ransacked.

He was held at the Beipiao City Detention Center and tried in the Beipiao City Court on December 29, 2016. Mr. Li was sentenced to five years' imprisonment on February 4, 2017.

The Appeal Trial

The appeal was heard at the Chaoyang City Intermediate Court on May 5, 2017. It started at 10:00 a.m. and lasted for about an hour. Judge Wang Shuguang, clerks Tao Rui and Hua Zhengtong, two prosecutors from the Chaoyang Procuratorate, several court bailiffs, and plainclothes police officers were present in the courtroom.

Officers checked the IDs of Mr. Li's family and friends and confiscated a pen and notepad from a family member before the hearing started.

The defense attorney entered a “not-guilty” plea for Mr. Li and informed the court that Mr. Li's actions were no different from people passing out advertisement flyers. The attorney also stated that a person's belief does not constitute a crime, as the Chinese Constitution grants people freedom of belief.

Mr. Li Jiechun also spoke in court and pointed out that no law in China has defined Falun Gong as a cult, and that he has not posed a threat to society by practicing Falun Gong or passing out Falun Gong flyers.

The trial ended with no verdict being reached.

Persecuted Numerous Times

Mr. Li has benefited physically and mentally from practicing Falun Gong. He used to have rickets and a blood disease, which disappeared after he took up the practice. He talks to others about the benefits he has gained from Falun Gong and also raises awareness about the ongoing persecution by the Chinese regime.

Mr. Li has been arrested, subjected to forced labor and tortured many times for refusing to renounce his belief.