(Minghui.org) A Chinese Canadian remains detained in Beijing since her arrest more than a year ago for refusing to renounce Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime. Her family and friends submitted a letter to the local court after a recent pretrial hearing, urging court officials to drop the case against her.

Ms. Sun Qian, 52, had a hugely successful career as the founder of Beijing Leadman Biochemistry Co., Ltd. She was twice placed on China’s Hurun Report of wealthy individuals. Her success, though, came at the expense of her health, and nothing helped her heart palpitations, liver problems, and depression.

Ms. Sun Qian

Her symptoms disappeared shortly after she began practicing Falun Gong in 2014. However, her new faith landed her in police custody. Ms. Sun was arrested at her home in Beijing on February 19, 2017. Due to her Canadian citizenship, her case has received widespread attention in both China and Canada. When the Canadian government sought her release, the Chinese government stepped up pressure on lawyers who signed up to fight for her constitutional right to freedom of belief.

A total of three lawyers were forced to quit representing her between June 2017 and late March 2018. The local Chaoyang District Court moved swiftly to announce a court date, as her family scrambled to find two new lawyers for her.

The new lawyers still had lots of case files to read when they were notified to attend a pre-trial hearing scheduled for April 23, 2018. The lawyers told Ms. Sun's family that there were 8 video clips in the case files that failed to play and that they suspected the court was trying to rush through Ms. Sun's prosecution without giving them sufficient time to review everything.

Ms. Sun and her new lawyers attended the pre-trial hearing, which was held in a room in Wenyuhe Courthouse. They overheard some bailiffs talking about how Zhou Qiang (chief justice of the Supreme People's Court) had just visited Wenyuhe. It is unclear, though, whether Zhou's visit had anything to do with Ms. Sun's case.

The lawyers asked why the Chaoyang District Procuratorate and Court failed to investigate the fact that Ms. Sun was tortured in the first few days of her arrest. She was denied food and water for 48 straight hours following her arrest. She was also pepper sprayed and had her hands cuffed behind her back during her detention.

Judge Li Yifan and prosecutor Zhang Xin didn't have an answer. They ignored the lawyers' request that Li be recused from the upcoming trial.

The lawyers also wondered why the procuratorate still sent people to interrogate Ms. Sun after her case had already been forwarded to the court. Prosecutor Zhang offered no explanation.

The lawyers concluded that there was no legal basis to arrest and indict Ms. Sun.

Ms. Sun's family and friends mailed a letter to Chaoyang District Court shortly after the pre-trial hearing. They urged the court officials to drop the case against Ms. Sun.

The letter also highlighted the lack of legal basis in Ms. Sun's prosecution. She was charged 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.

Ms. Sun's family and friends argued that no law in China has criminalized Falun Gong or labeled it a cult, and that former Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin directed the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate to issue a statutory interpretation of Article 300 in November 1999, which required that anyone practicing or promoting Falun Gong be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.

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. Since no law in China labels Falun Gong a cult, the indictment against Ms. Sun has no merit.

Judge Li Yifan, +86-18600857209

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