(Minghui.org) A 56-year-old Falun Gong practitioner, Ms. Guo Dongxiang, was tried in the Chaoyang Court in Beijing on April 19, 2018. Unlike other trials of Falun Gong practitioners, the court followed proper procedures.

The trial lasted for about two hours. Ms. Guo made her defense statements without being restricted. Her lawyer was not interrupted when making his arguments. The court also did not organize extra people to sit in the courtroom to prohibit relatives from attending. No presence of a large police force was noticed outside the courtroom.

Ms. Guo was arrested on November 3, 2017, for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong. She has been detained in the Chaoyang Detention Center. Her case was turned over to the Procuratorate in mid-January 2018 and then to the court in mid-February.

Ms. Guo told the judge that she did not commit any crime by practicing Falun Gong and demanded that the procurator withdraw the charges against her. 

Her lawyer stated that a fundamental principle of the nation's criminal law is that only violations clearly stipulated by the law are regarded as crimes. Those not stipulated by law are not crimes and thus are not punishable. The lawyer demanded that the procurator provide the legal basis for labeling Falun Gong a cult. The procurator hesitated. The judge then asked him to respond later, but he never did. 

The lawyer told the court that the China Administration of Press and Publication repealed its ban on publication of Falun Gong books in 2011, and that Falun Gong is legal in China. Therefore Ms. Guo's distributing Falun Gong informational materials is protected by the constitution and is an extension of her freedom of speech. 

The lawyer said that the procurator accused Ms. Guo of “obstructing the implementation of the law by utilizing a cult organization,” but he failed to point out which law was obstructed and how the organization was utilized. 

The lawyer also listed all the violations of due process during the arrest of Ms. Guo and the resulting search of her property. 

The judge adjourned the trial without issuing a verdict. 

Related article: China Administration of Press and Publication Repealed Its Ban on Publication of Falun Gong Books in 2011