(Minghui.org) The audience in the trial of a Falun Gong practitioner erupted into applause when his lawyer urged the presiding judge to uphold justice for his client who was indicted for his spiritual faith.

Mr. Zhao Yunbin of Linquan County, Anhui Province, was seized on February 20, 2017, for refusing to renounce Falun Gong, a mind-body practice that is being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime. Police raided his home moments later.

Mr. Zhao was first held at a brainwashing center in Bengbu City and later moved to Fuyang City Detention Center, where he remains.

Mr. Zhao was tried in the Yingzhou District Court on December 12. His lawyer entered a not guilty plea on his behalf and refuted the charges against him.

Judge Mei Guihong ordered a quick recess when she noticed that the prosecutor was unable to answer the lawyer’s questions. She took the lawyer to a back room and warned him that directives from their superiors prohibited lawyers from pleading not guilty for Falun Gong practitioners.

The lawyer replied that he had to do what was right for his client.

When the hearing resumed, the lawyer asked Mr. Zhao why he practiced Falun Gong. Mr. Zhao emphasized that the Constitution guaranteed citizens the right to freedom of belief and shared how he personally benefited from following Falun Gong’s principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance to be a good person. He also recounted how he was persecuted for refusing to give up his faith.

Judge Mei ordered a second recess. She yelled at the lawyer in the back room, “Why are you guys promoting Falun Gong in my court?” The lawyer replied that he and his client were simply stating the facts about Falun Gong.

When the session resumed again, judge Mei said the prosecutor charged Mr. Zhao with violating Article 300 of the Criminal Law, which states that anyone using a cult to undermine law enforcement must be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.

The lawyer challenged the prosecutor to specify what cult his client had used and how he had undermined law enforcement. The prosecutor had no reply. The lawyer emphasized that no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong or labels it as a cult and that the prosecutor's indictment against his client had no legal basis.

The prosecutor and judge remained silent, so the lawyer continued with his defense arguments. He said the Falun Gong books confiscated from his client’s home, which was presented as evidence for the prosecution, were all lawful possessions and caused no harm to anyone or to society at large.

The lawyer also praised Falun Gong practitioners such as his client for remaining calm and rational when being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime. He urged the judge and the prosecutor to follow the law and uphold justice for practitioners. He also warned them that they’d be held liable for wrongful convictions.

The spectators clapped in response to the lawyer’s defense, and several bailiffs did also.

Judge Mei adjourned the proceedings and left immediately.