Ten Falun Gong Practitioners Tried for Their Faith, Eight of Them in Their 70s and 80s
(Minghui.org) Ten Falun Gong practitioners, including two in their 80s and six in their 70s, were tried on November 7, 2018, in the Bazhong District Court for not giving up their faith.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a mind-body discipline that has been persecuted by the communist regime since 1999.
The prosecutor charged the practitioners with “undermining law enforcement using a cult organization,” a standard pretext used by the regime in its attempt to criminalize Falun Gong. He listed as evidence the complaints the practitioners had filed in 2015 against former communist party leader Jiang Zemin for ordering the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999.
An earlier report about the practitioners facing trial published on the Minghui website was also cited as evidence against them.
The practitioners' lawyers argued that the indictment failed to specify which law their clients had undermined by practicing Falun Gong to keep fit and healthy.
The lawyers also questioned how the few computers, printers, and printing paper confiscated from the practitioners' homes had harmed anyone. Ms. Sun Rong testified that the prosecutor recorded her cellphone as a computer in the indictment. Neither the prosecutor nor the judge responded to her.
The lawyers emphasized the lack of legal basis for the persecution and demanded that their clients be acquitted.
In addition to the lawyer's non-guilty defense, many of the practitioners recounted how they had regained their health by practicing Falun Gong. Some of their family members also testified in their defense.
The hearing lasted from 10 a.m. to nearly 11 p.m. The judge adjourned the hearing without announcing a verdict.
The ten practitioners from Bazhong City, Sichuan Province, including Zhang Minglang, Zhang Xinwei, Chen Guoqiong, Yue Yingcong, Zhou Lihua, Dai Wanyi, Yang Jiashun, Kang Zunliu, Zhu Tiangui, and Sun Rong, were all arrested on December 22, 2017.
Except for Mr. Zhang Minglang, 82, and Mr. Zhang Xinwei, 89, who were released on bail due to their age, all the others remain in a local detention center.
Practitioners and Families Alike Recount Benefits of Falun Gong
Mr. Zhang Xinwei walked into the courtroom with a cane and help from his family members. He recounted how his high blood pressure, hepatitis, and tuberculosis, as well as many other ailments, disappeared after he picked up the practice of Falun Gong in 1998. He also described how he recovered from a comminuted fracture in 20 days back in 2000.
Mr. Zhang's four sons had tried to persuade him to plead guilty and to drop his lawyer the day before the trial, but the lawyer refused and entered a not guilty plea for his client in court. The sons changed their attitude after listening to the defense arguments and thanked the lawyer for standing up for their father.
Mr. Zhang Minglang, a former prosecutor himself, argued that it was his constitutional right to practice Falun Gong and he didn't violate any law by doing so. He credited Falun Gong for freeing him from over 30 years of suffering from liver and stomach problems, as well as severe rheumatoid arthritis.
Ms. Chen Guoqiong also thanked Falun Gong for curing her herniated lumbar disc that had left her bedridden and incapacitated. Her daughter testified in her defense as well. The young woman said she was grateful for Falun Gong for giving her a healthy and caring mother, who had broken no law by refusing to give up her faith.
Ms. Sun Rong's husband described how his hot-tempered and ailing wife became healthy and gentle after she started practicing Falun Gong. He also talked about her dedication to their family and how she tenderly cared for his mentally ill mother for decades.
Related article in Chinese:四川巴中市89岁老人在法庭上的自我辩护