(Minghui.org) Two men in Yanshan County appeared in court for a third time to face charges of “using a cult to undermine law enforcement,” a standard pretext used by the Chinese communist regime in its attempt to frame and imprison Falun Gong practitioners.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a mind-body practice based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.

Mr. Yang Yueliang and Mr. Liu Wenting were arrested on August 4, 2016 after being reported for helping a customer install a satellite dish capable of receiving New Tang Dynasty (NTD) programs.

NTD is a New York-based global news and entertainment media that specializes in providing uncensored coverage about China, including the persecution of Falun Gong.

Mr. Liu was released on bail one month later, while Mr. Yang has since remained at Yanshan County Detention Center. To date, the local police haven't returned Mr. Liu's car confiscated at the arrest.

Mr. Liu and Mr. Yang appeared in court three times, on August 17, 2017, December 11, 2017, and May 14, 2018, respectively. All three hearings were held at the detention center.

First Hearing

The prosecutor cited two pieces of prosecution evidence, including a news report bearing the official stamp of Yancheng County anti-cult office and a statement made by the Chinese embassies that NTD is Falun Gong's propaganda mouthpiece.

Mr. Yang's lawyer refuted the evidence. He pointed out that neither the anti-cult office nor the Chinese embassies were law-making body or law-enforcement agency. As such, they had no authority in determining whether Mr. Yang's and Mr. Liu's installation of NTD-receiving satellite dish broke any law.

The lawyer further argued that the installation tools and satellite dish confiscated from Mr. Yang and Mr. Liu caused no harm to anyone, much less undermine law enforcement.

The prosecutor couldn't refute the lawyer's statements and requested to have the case returned to them so they could gather more evidence.

Second Hearing

The prosecutor played a disk that he claimed to have been confiscated from Mr. Yang's home. The DVD was about Falun Gong's principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.

The lawyer challenged the prosecutor to specify what content in the disk violated law. The prosecutor had no answer and proceeded to present a statement that bore the stamp of Cangzhou City Domestic Security Office. The statement read that NTD promoted Falun Gong.

The lawyer argued that the domestic security office wasn't an authorized agency to verify forensic evidence. As such, its statement couldn't be used against Mr. Yang or Mr. Liu.

Third Hearing

The prosecutor cited a statutory interpretation of Article 300 of the Criminal Law to justify his indictment of the two practitioners. The Interpretation was issued in 1999 by the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate. It required that anyone practicing or promoting Falun Gong be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.

The lawyer countered that the two agencies issuing the interpretation were not law-making body and that their statement should never have been used as the basis to indict Falun Gong practitioners. 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 any indictment against anyone engaging in a cult must be based on solid legal grounds.

The lawyer reiterated that since no law in China labels Falun Gong a cult, the indictment against the practitioners was baseless. He also emphasized that no victim resulted from Mr. Yang's and Mr. Liu's installation of satellite dishes. By law, the two practitioners could not be held accountable for the harm that never existed in the first place.

The lawyer urged the presiding judge to follow the law and to acquit the two practitioners.

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