(Minghui.org) Ms. Zhang Chenghua was seized at around 8 a.m. on March 27, 2018, moments after she stepped out of her apartment building. The 78-year-old woman was taken straight to the local Mishan City Court, where Judge Zhang Ying announced that she had been sentenced to one year in prison and fined 10,000 yuan.

Ms. Zhang had already been sent to Jixi City Detention Center by the time her family rushed to the court two hours later. It was obvious to them that the hearing was just a formality to issue a predetermined guilty verdict against her.

Ms. Zhang was targeted because she refused to renounce Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime. She was first arrested on May 11, 2017 and had her home ransacked. Wang Haiqing, deputy head of the Mishan City Domestic Security Office, never showed a search warrant or produced a list of confiscated items as required by law.

During interrogation, Wang grabbed Ms. Zhang's hand to press her fingerprints on a document that he never allowed her to read. She realized later that it contained fabricated evidence against her.

Wang later coerced Ms. Zhang's granddaughter to sign another document by threatening to send her grandmother to the local detention center. The young woman would later find out that she was listed as a prosecution witness without her knowledge or consent.

While out on bail, Ms. Zhang was twice summoned to the local procuratorate. The first time she went, she was told to put her fingerprints on some paperwork to get her released. She believed the lie and complied with the demand. The second time she was told that the procuratorate would return her case to police if she signed a document. She again fell prey to their deceit.

Ms. Zhang was home on January 22, 2018, when two people knocked on the door saying that they were workers checking on pipes. She opened the door, only to be seized and taken to Mishan City Court.

She asked why they lied to her again, and the arresting officers replied that was the only way to get her to open the door. As she listened to prosecutor Dong Ming read the indictment, Ms. Zhang realized that the documents she and her granddaughter had signed were being used as prosecution evidence against her.

Judge Zhang and her assistants then tried to make Ms. Zhang sign some new paperwork. This time she firmly refused.

Even though Ms. Zhang was released after the first hearing, she was taken back into custody two months later and convicted in less than 20 minutes.

Ms. Zhang's family hired a local lawyer to appeal the case, but Jixi City Intermediate Court instructed the lawyer not to defend her as innocent. Her family wasn't able to get any updates from the lawyer. They called the appeals court on April 19 and were told that the case hadn't been registered with the higher court yet.

Ms. Zhang's loved ones visited her at the local detention center later that day and learned that the appeals court had already sent people to talk to her about her case. Her family returned to the appeals court and submitted a request to represent her in her appeal. Judge Yang Zongyuan warned them that they had no plan to hold a public hearing.

Officer Wang Haiying: +86-467-5220366, +86-467-5232555, +86-13836516222

Jixi City Intermediate Court: +86-467-2881848, +86-467-2881953, +86-467-2881849