(Minghui.org) A 59-year-old Falun Gong practitioner from Daqing City, Heilongjiang Province appeared in court for a second time on November 22, 2018. His lawyers defended his constitutional right to practice Falun Gong and demanded his acquittal.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a mind-body practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since July 1999.

Mr. Xu Bin was arrested on February 28, 2018 with his wife and another practitioner, and detained at the Chengfeng Police Branch. His wife and the other practitioner were released a month later while his arrest was approved.

Prosecutors Ding Ning and Han Xuedong verified the case with him on June 12 before filing a formal indictment. Mr. Xu's case was submitted to the Ranghulu District Court on June 28, and he faced the judge for the first time on August 9.

During his second hearing on November 22, Mr. Xu pointed out that the date of case verification on the indictment was not the actual date that the verification was done. Prosecutor Ding denied the date discrepancy and alleged that Mr. Xu had signed and dated the verification document. He produced a signed file, which bore the signature of a different person. He then admitted that Mr. Xu had never signed the document.

Mr. Xu also testified against the arresting officers for violating legal procedure. He said that the police did not search his car on the day of his arrest, but did it later at the police department. Moreover, a search warrant document was filled out on the spot during a search of his house, and there was no video recording of the search nor a list of items confiscated.

Prosecutor Ding cited Mr. Xu's three prior forced labor terms to allege that Mr. Xu was a repeat offender and recommended a heavier sentence.

Mr. Xu's two lawyers refuted Ding's claim and gave three reasons:

First, Mr. Xu was sent to the labor camp without due process. He was not informed of his rights to appeal or apply for reconsideration of his case.

Second, the labor camp system had been abolished by the government and should not be used as admissible evidence in the current case.

Lastly, the now-defunct labor camp system was against the administrative penalties law and thus Mr. Xu's three prior forced labor terms should not be used as a criminal record.

The lawyers further added that no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong. Thus, it is wrong for the prosecutors to charge Mr. Xu with violating Article 300 of the Criminal Law, which stipulates that those using a cult organization to undermine enforcement of the law should be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.

The lawyers also pointed out the Chinese Ministry of Public Security issued two notices in 2000 and 2005 titled “Notice from Ministry of Public Security Regarding Identifying and Banning Cult Organizations” (Notice [2000] No. 39 and Notice [2005] No. 39). The two notices identified a total of 14 cult organizations, and the list did not include Falun Gong.

Prosecutor Ding alleged that Mr. Xu's possession of Falun Gong books was illegal and evidence that he broke the law. The lawyers countered that China's Administration of Press and Publications repealed its ban on the publication of Falun Gong books in 2011. Thus, it is fully legal for anyone to own Falun Gong books.

Contact details of those involved in the persecution:

Li Chenyong, presiding judge of Ranghulu District Court: +86-133-59596120

Wei Wenbin, deputy head of Ranghulu District Court: +86-459-5997575, +86-133-59596118

Zhu Chihong, chief of Ranghulu District Procuratorate Investigation and Supervision Division: +86-459-5974401, +86-133-59590355

(More participants in the persecution contact information is available in the original Chinese article.)