Three Guizhou Women Tried for Distributing Information about the Persecution of Falun Gong
(Minghui.org) Three Weining County residents were tried in two separate cases for distributing materials exposing the Chinese communist regime's persecution of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
Two of these Falun Gong practitioners, Ms. Zhu Jiacai and Ms. Luo Cuiqin, were tried on November 27, 2018, while the third, Ms. Xu Yanfei, was tried the following day.
The three women were all charged with “using a cult to undermine law enforcement,” a standard pretext used by the regime in its attempt to frame and imprison Falun Gong practitioners.
Ms. Zhu and Ms. Luo both had lawyers defending their innocence. The lawyers argued that no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong or labels it a cult and that their clients' distributing Falun Gong materials caused no harm to anyone, much less undermined law enforcement.
Ms. Xu was given a court-appointed lawyer who was instructed to enter a guilty plea for her.
The three women, along with several other practitioners, were targeted after they went to remote Hezhang County on August 13, 2017, to distribute information that refuted the defamatory propaganda about Falun Gong. A local resident wrote down their car plate number and reported them to the police.
Over 100 police officers were dispatched on October 16 from Weining and Hezhang counties and their supervising Bijie City Police Department. They arrested Ms. Zhu, plus her husband Mr. Dai Dingyun, and their son, who do not practice Falun Gong. The officers confiscated Falun Gong materials and all their bank deposit certificates, including a recently received medical compensation from a major accident that the son had many years before.
Ms. Luo was arrested on the same day and her home was ransacked. Ms. Xu went missing that day, and it was confirmed months later that she had been arrested on the same day as Ms. Zhu and Ms. Luo.
The three women were taken to Jinsha County Detention Center, and their cases were forwarded to Bijie Procuratorate in early 2018.
Ms. Zhu and Ms. Luo's Trial
Ms. Zhu and Ms. Luo were tried in the Qixingguan District Court in Bijie City. The proceedings lasted eight hours with an hour and a half break at noon. Seven family members and friends were present in the courtroom.
A prosecutor from the Qixingguan Procuratorate spent a considerable amount of time reading aloud lengthy statements that he claimed were witness testimonies. None of the alleged prosecution witnesses was present to be cross-examined.
Ms. Zhu and Ms. Luo disputed the number of banners put up and pamphlets distributed in August 2017, saying there were far fewer than the prosecutor alleged. They also said the pamphlets the prosecutor displayed in the courtroom were different from the ones they had handed out. They asked the court to verify that their fingerprints were on the pamphlets.
Ms. Zhu and Ms. Luo also tried to explain that the reason they tell people about Falun Gong is because they have benefited significantly from the practice, both physically and spiritually. But as soon as they mentioned anything like that, the presiding judge or his assistant stopped them.
The defense lawyers refuted the charges and argued that distributing Falun Gong materials caused no harm to anyone or to society as a whole. The lawyers also argued that the surveillance video provided by the police was of such low resolution that it was not possible to confirm if the two people seen in the video distributing materials were, indeed, the two women on trial.
When the attorneys asked to see some of the actual banners and pamphlets their clients had distributed, the prosecutor contacted the police midway through the trial, but no one ever showed up with the evidence.
Ms. Xu's Trial
Ms. Xu appeared in the same court on November 28, 2018. A widow, she has a son, who didn't dare to hire a lawyer for her because he was afraid of retaliation from the authorities.
The court didn't inform her son or other family members of her trial. The three lawyers who represented Ms. Zhu and Ms. Luo saw a notice of Ms. Xu's trial on the bulletin board in the lobby of the courthouse. They volunteered to represent her the next day (November 28), but it was too late to file paperwork.
The courtroom was packed, but Ms. Xu didn't know any of the spectators, who weren't asked to show IDs as they entered the courthouse.
Ms. Xu testified in her own defense, but a court-appointed lawyer entered a guilty plea as instructed. The hearing was over in an hour, and Ms. Xu was taken to Bijie City Detention Center afterward.
Key Parties Responsible:
Qixingguan Procuratorate: +86-857-8313009Lu Chuan, head of Xingguan Court: +86-13985350528Wu Anyu, chief, Qixingguan Police Department: +86-15395735098Wu Li, officer, Bijie Detention Center: +86-13765871188