Shanghai Falun Gong Practitioner Detained Illegally and Without Outside Contact
(Minghui.org) On August 30, 2017, police officers arrested Shanghai Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Yang Jianhua at her workplace. Government agencies worked against Ms. Yang’s family in their search for legal representation.
Ms. Yang was secretly sentenced to prison sometime between February 8 and February 16, 2018. Her exact sentence remains to be verified as the police and court have refused to disclose key facts in the case.
Her family wrote letters to pertinent agencies but were met with injustice. Local authorities ordered social workers to persuade the family to drop their lawyer.
Ms. Yang’s family filed online complaints against the police, the procuratorate, and the court for violating legal procedures, but the court still proceeded to sentence her without holding an open hearing as required by law.
Ms. Yang Jianhua Arrested Illegally; Family Seeks Legal Help
On August 30, 2017, police officers from Changning District Domestic Security Division, Shanghai City, and local Beixinjing Police Station arrested Ms. Yang Jianhua, a Falun Gong practitioner from the Pudong District in Shanghai, at her workplace.
On the same afternoon, more than 20 police officers from Beixinjing Police Station went to Ms. Yang's home and ransacked it without any search warrant.
During the interrogation, police officers from the local Domestic Security Division promised to release her as long as she wrote a statement to give up the practice of Falun Gong.
Ms. Yang negated the unlawful charges to protect her right to freedom and spiritual belief and refused their demand. Later they detained her at Changning District Detention Center in Shanghai under criminal detention.
Ms. Yang's mother, husband, and other relatives then worked together to hire a lawyer for her.
Her mother went to Beixinjing Police Station, Changning District Police Department, Changning District Procuratorate and other law enforcement agencies to seek legal help. She explained to them that Ms. Yang is a good person, an excellent employee and innocent. She asked them to judge the case according to existing laws and release Ms. Yang as early as possible. Some officials showed their sympathy towards Ms. Yang and her family.
However, Ms. Yang's family didn't receive any justice from law enforcement authorities. The family wrote letters to various agencies and government officials—the Changning District Police Department, Procuratorate, Court, Appeal Office, Residential Community Office, Religious Affairs Office, District Chief, Shanghai City mayor, National People's Congress representatives, and other agencies and government officials that they could think of—hoping officials would stand on the side of justice and support them.
Social Workers Urge Family Drop Legal Representation
On November 2, 2017, four people visited Ms. Yang's mother at her home. They claimed to be officials from the local community and social workers from the Pudong New District. The local procuratorate had received her letters, they said, and they came to help her handle the issue.
The social workers showed Ms. Yang's mother some documents, one of which was issued by the Ministry of Civil Affairs on July 22, 1999. They referred to it as the law. Ms. Yang's mother pointed out that the document issued by the Ministry of Civil Affairs was not law and asked them to show real laws.
Then they cited as legal basis two notices issued by China's Administration of Press and Publications in July 1999 to ban the publication of Falun Gong books. Ms. Yang's mother said that the ban had been lifted in 2011 and that it was fully legal for practitioners to own Falun Gong books.
When Ms. Yang's mother asked them to present recent documents, they showed her the Party propaganda materials that defamed Falun Gong.
She told them the self-immolation incident discussed in the propaganda piece was a hoax and, as to her knowledge, former dictator Jiang Zemin slandered Falun Gong during interviews with media, but his statements were not law. She also persuaded them not to follow Jiang to commit crimes.
The social workers then cited a statutory interpretation of Article 300 of the Criminal Law, which required that anyone practicing or promoting Falun Gong be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.
Ms. Yang’s mother countered that the Interpretation was issued in 1999 by the Supreme People’s Procuratorate and the Supreme People’s Court, both of which are not lawmaking bodies and bear no legal authority. Moreover, a new statutory interpretation that replaced the 1999 version took effect on February 1, 2017.
The new interpretation made no mention of Falun Gong and emphasized that indictments against anyone for engaging in a cult must be based on solid legal grounds. Since no law in China labels Falun Gong a cult, the indictment against her daughter lacked a legal basis.
The social workers were upset and said what Ms. Yang's mother quoted were all the statements from the Minghui website. Ms. Yang's mother was very curious about their response and asked if they ever visited the Minghui website.
They replied, “Yes, we do. Anyone can reach the Minghui website by using a software that breaks through China’s Internet firewall.”
One social worker told her, “Do not hire those human rights attorneys. They have their purpose. As long as they handle 100 cases like yours, they would receive financial aid for studying overseas.”
Ms. Yang's mother asked him, “Where is better, China or overseas? Is CCTV broadcasting news to praise China every day? Just let them go abroad.”
They also mentioned that one lawyer in Beijing was arrested. Ms. Yang's mother responded by quoting a piece of morning news that some unjust charges were rectified and some innocent prisoners were released. “If you did things right, there shouldn't be so many false charges,” she said.
They questioned her where she had heard of the news. She told them it was from the morning news on radio and it could be searched on websites.
The social workers continued persuading her to drop the lawyer. “It's no use for the family to hire a lawyer. The government will not let you win the case. You may ask us for help, so do not make a fuss.”
Ms. Yang's mother told them, “It will be all right if you just release my daughter.”
They went on persuading her. “Your attitude is very important. Yang was arrested for the first time, so she could be released immediately, or might be sentenced to three to seven years.”
Ms. Yang's mother responded, “Who am I? Could my attitude make Yang be released? Who are you? Do you have the final say?”
They said, “Let's try our best together to make it happen.”
During their conversation, the social workers also said, “Do you think we are bad people? Do you want to see us come back? Whom do you usually contact? Just do not get in touch with them. This letter was not written by yourself.”
Before the two social workers left, one of them with last name Wang gave her his phone number (+86-21-50755200 ext 4987).
Family's Online Complaint
On November 24, 2017, Ms. Yang's case was transferred to the local procuratorate; on December 28, her case was transferred to the local court where her case would be held until March 1, 2018.
On January 15, 2018, Ms. Yang's family filed a complaint online at 12388.gov.cn, the website used for filing complaints to Shanghai Central Discipline Inspection Commission. Part of the statement is as follows:
“Ms. Yang Jianhua's lawyer presented materials to the police department during her detention, but the police department didn't notify her lawyer after her case was transferred to local procuratorate. This is illegal.
“The procuratorate submitted Ms. Yang's case to the court one week later without notifying the lawyer. In early December her lawyer heard about her case status and missed the opportunity to review her case files during the procuratorate period.
“Today is January 15, 2018, and Ms. Yang's detention period ends on March 1, 2018. The long Chinese New Year holiday period falls in February.
“Last Friday, the court would not allow her lawyer to review her case with the excuse of ‘internal review.’ The time for her lawyer to prepare her defense was thus seriously shortened and will likely cause serious harm to Ms. Yang and her family, and infringe Ms. Yang's legal rights.”
The family’s complaint received this online response from the District Central Discipline Inspection Commission, Procuratorate Commission on January 16, 2018:Greetings: Your question is a judicial issue, so please report it to the National People's Congress or any department at a higher level.
On January 25, 2018, Ms. Yang's family filed a complaint online at jubao.court.gov.cn/910, the website used for filing complaints to the Discipline Violation Report Center of Shanghai First Intermediate People's Court.
They received this reply from the Shanghai First Intermediary Court on January 29, 2018:“As per relevant rules, we've transferred your complaint to the Court Discipline Inspection Department at a lower level where the reported officials work. If you wish to request any further inquiries or new reports, please contact them directly.”
On the afternoon of February 8, 2018, Zhou Weimin, the judge who handled Ms. Yang's case, called her family. “Someone has given me a notice. Now I know you are urging us to deal with Yang Jianhua's case.”
Ms. Yang's family asked him when they would release Ms. Yang. His attitude was similar to that of the police officers from the domestic security division. “You know what your daughter has done and committed.”
The family said, “We are all ordinary people. We hold no hatred against you.”
Zhou interrupted and said he was very busy. “We will hold a trial for Yang and notify her lawyer to review files in advance. We will follow all legal procedures.” Then he hung up.
The judge never contacted Ms. Yang's lawyer.
Ms. Yang's employer contacted Yang Bo, the police officer, and Ms. Yang's family from time to time. Before the Chinese New Year holidays, her employer received a reply from Yang Bo, who said that Ms. Yang had been sentenced earlier.
Her family was very surprised at the news. They wondered if the Changning District Court held a trial secretly.
On February 28, her family went to Beixinjing Police Station, where they met with Yang Bo. He was very rude and asked why they came to him again.
Her family said they wanted to confer with him about Ms. Yang's case status and asked what he had replied to the human resources department of Ms. Yang's employer. Yang Bo shouted loudly and repeated twice that he had no obligation to talk to any human resources person.
Her family asked again, “But you've talked over the phone with her employer.”
Yang Bo shouted loudly, “It's the person from domestic security division who told me she had been sentenced earlier. If you have any questions, just talk to Changning District Domestic Security Division!” Then he turned away.
On March 2, 2018, which was the expiration date of her detention, Ms. Yang's lawyer and family went to the Changning District Court, where they requested to review her files and asked the court to release her immediately. Court officials said the judge was not in.
Support from Her Family and Employer
Ms. Yang Jianhua started practicing Falun Gong as a child. She followed Falun Gong's principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance in every respect. She was honest, kind, sincere, and reliable.
At her workplace, she worked diligently and was appreciated by her employer and colleagues. Both her supervisors in the human resources and legal affairs departments expressed their hope that Ms. Yang would return to work.
By the end of December 2017, an employee of the company’s human resources department, Ms. Liu, called Ms. Yang's mother and said they had deposited her annual bonus to her salary card since she had worked there for more than half a year in 2017.
Ms. Yang's employer was very concerned about her. From time to time, he called Yang Bo (#024731), the police officer from Beixinjing Police Station who handled Ms. Yang's case, and would ask about the status of her case.
In today's world, not many young ladies can get along well with their mothers-in-law, but Ms. Yang's mother-in-law said Ms. Yang was closer to her than her own daughter.
Ms. Yang Jianhua's 95-year-old grandmother asks the family every day, “When will Jianhua be back?” At every meal time she asks, “Jianhua, did you eat? Did they give you food?” From morning till evening, she constantly murmurs, “It's injustice! Yang Jianhua is innocent!”
List of Officials Involved:
Beixinjing Police Station:Tel: +86-21-23030442Public contact info: +86-15601991095Wang Shunhao, superintendent: +86-21-23030410Cai Ruijun: police# 025823Yang Bo, the police officer who handles Ms. Yang's case: police# 024731
Shanghai Police Bureau, Changning branch
Tel: +86-21-62906290, +86-021-23039000Zhu Xinjun, ChiefZhang Xiying, Deputy Chief
Changning District Domestic Security Division, Shanghai
Tel: +86- 21-23039381, +86- 21-23039443Zhang Hui, head of the division: +86-21-23039440, +86-21-23039411
Changning District Procuratorate, Shanghai
Tel: +86-21-62081100, +86-21-62521100Shi Xiaojun: the prosecutor who handles Ms. Yang's case
Changning District Court, Shanghai
Tel: +86-21-52574999Zhou Weimin, the judge who handles Ms. Yang's case: +86-2152574999-18180/18510Yuan Ye, clerk: +86-21-52574999 ext 18450