Nonjudicial Agency Threatens Defense Lawyers of Falun Gong Practitioners Who Face Show Trial for Their Faith
(Minghui.org) Four residents from neighboring provinces were tried for “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 spiritual and meditation practice based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
Mr. Fu Wende, 68, Ms. Song Nanyu, 67, and Mr. Liao Jianfu, 62, are residents of Panzhihua City, Sichuan Province. Mr. Zhou Fuming is a resident of Huaping County, Yunnan Province. They worked together on May 12, 2016, to distribute Falun Gong informational materials in Huaping County, Yunnan Province. They were reported to police and arrested five months later.
Ms. Song and Mr. Fu were arrested on October 11, 2016. Mr. Liao was arrested the following day. The three were released on bail weeks later, with Ms. Song and Mr. Liao returning home on October 25, 2016, and Mr. Fu on November 7, 2016. It is unclear when Mr. Zhou was arrested, and he was known to have been released on bail on September 9, 2016.
The four Falun Gong practitioners appeared in Huaping County Court in Yunnan Province on March 22, 2018. They were questioned by the prosecutor one by one in the morning. Ms. Song, Mr. Fu, and Mr. Liao testified in their own defense in the afternoon.
The local Political and Legal Affairs Committee (PLAC), an extrajudicial agency tasked with eradicating Falun Gong and given power to override the judicial system, threatened the four practitioners' lawyers before the trial. Mr. Fu's lawyer quit; his two new lawyers resisted the pressure and entered a not-guilty plea for him. The other practitioners' lawyers entered guilty pleas as instructed by the PLAC.
PLAC Threatens Lawyers; Judges Abuse Power
Prior to the trial, the Lijiang City Political and Legal Affairs Committee threatened four local attorneys retained by the defendants not to defend their clients’ innocence. Under the tremendous pressure, the lawyer hired by Mr. Fu immediately withdrew himself from the case, forcing Mr. Fu to replace them with two other lawyers.
The local lawyers were then separately consulted by the Lijiang City Justice Bureau for the same reason. On the eve of the trial, officials from the City Justice Bureau asked to meet with Mr. Fu's new lawyers, who rejected their request.
The court announced various illegal rules on March 21, one day before the trial. Each defendant could not have more than two direct relatives attend the hearing. The relatives and lawyers were not allowed to bring cell phones, computers, or even pens to the courtroom. All of them were thoroughly searched.
Presiding judge He Ruiwei and two other judges, He Fengsheng and Zhao Zerong, formed a collegial panel for the trial. They delivered the summons to the defendants with a commitment statement saying that the panel would carry out an impartial trial and ensure the defendants’ legal rights to defend themselves and receive fair judgment, among other claims.
However, the promise was not fulfilled during the trial. The defendants were stopped by Judge He Fengsheng after reading a small portion of their statements. When the defendants protested, the judge said, “It is I, not you, who is in charge.”
The practitioners’ lawyers were also repeatedly stopped when they defended their clients.
Mr. Fu's Lawyers Refute Baseless Charges
The Yulong County Procuratorate accused Mr. Fu Wende of posting Falun Gong flyers in Yunnan counties on two occasions. They also claimed that some Falun Gong books and materials were found in Mr. Fu's home and his car.
Mr. Fu's lawyers argued that their client did not commit a crime for these reasons:
1. Illegally acquired evidence is invalid. The Huaping County Police Department charged Mr. Fu with posting Falun Gong materials in Yunnan Province in May 2016, but they searched his home in Sichuan Province in October. The searches violated codes stipulated in the Criminal Procedure Law. Moreover, the officers ransacked his home without a search warrant. Any materials collected during the raid thus could not be used as evidence in the case. Although the prosecutor claimed that a search is allowed without a warrant in emergencies, it did not apply to this case because the search took place five months after the charge was filed.
2. The prosecutor did not cite a valid statute and failed to present evidence to support the charge. There is no law listing Falun Gong as a “cult.” This label was given by former Chinese Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin, whose personal opinion does not have legal effect. The charge thus does not have a legal basis.
Freedom of belief is an international law and a universal value. The Chinese constitution provides citizens freedom of religion. Mr. Fu's belief in Falun Gong is his choice and shall not be intervened by any organization, including governmental units.
Any citizen promoting his belief using books and other materials is protected under the freedom of speech provided in the Constitution. The China Press and Publication Administration lifted the ban on the publication of Falun Gong books on March 1, 2011. Thus, Mr. Fu has the legal right to acquire and print Falun Gong materials.
3. The procuratorate and the court have exceeded their legal authority. Prosecutors are not ideological police, and courts are not places of religious inquisition. No organizational law entrusts the procuratorates and the courts with the function of reviewing or judging the issue of faith itself.
Defense Statement of Fu Wende
I am 70 years old. I retired in 2002 as a police officer from the eastern branch of Panzhihua City Police Department. I would like to share with you my personal stories of miraculous occurrences and the greatness of Dafa.
After I retired, I had various diseases, including arthritis, bronchitis, enteritis, gout, lumbar strain, high blood pressure. The ailments had plagued me for years and tormented me so severely that I even had the thought of ending my own life.
I used to muck around every day. I gambled, drank, and smoked. I was selfish. I dreamed of making a big fortune and blindly invested in peculiar businesses. As a result, I lost a lot of money and was divorced.
I started practicing Falun Gong in 2014. All my diseases completely disappeared two months afterward. I have really enjoyed the feeling of being disease-free since then.
I have changed greatly. I came to understand the meaning of life and got rid of all my bad habits. I have taken fame and personal gain lightly. I looked within when conflicts arose. I did not fight back when punched or insulted. I measured things against the principles of “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.”
Also, I became more open and considerate of other people. I helped people in need even though I was not so well off. I did a lot of good deeds without being recognized.
Now, I am very healthy, physically and mentally. I feel very content, happy, and energetic. It is Dafa that constantly cleanses me, changes me, and gives me new life.
If more people follow the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and become good people, there would not be so many strident social conflicts. Our country would not have so many corrupt officials. We would not have to eat poisonous foods and take fake vaccines.
Why can Falun Gong stand and grow widely in the world? It follows the characteristics of “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance” and teaches people to become honest, kind, peaceful, and tolerant.
For individuals, Falun Gong opens up their wisdom and gradually makes them understand the meaning of life and the mysteries of the universe. It improves people's overall spiritual quality and helps stabilize society. In a 1998 survey report submitted to the Central Politburo, the chairman of the National People's Congress Committee stated that Falun Gong has done no harm but instead given many benefits to the country.
If Falun Gong were a cult, what is an organization or individual that pampers wicked people and promotes fighting?
Good and evil are rewarded and punished accordingly. You should make the right choice. To persecute Falun Gong is to encourage deceit, evilness, and conflict. To cherish Dafa is to cherish the life in each of us.
Defense Statement of Song Nanyu
I am 70 years old. I used to have many diseases, including lumbar disc herniation, oppression of cerebral nerves, frequent vertigo, vomiting, enteritis, gastritis, cholecystitis, pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, neurasthenia, sinusitis, migraine, acne, and heart disease.
These diseases made my life miserable. I was also neglected by my husband and endured tremendous stress from his indifference. The physical and mental suffering made me think of killing myself. I even thought of becoming a nun to forget my pain. Although I ditched the horrible thoughts because of my two young daughters, I lived in despair.
Then, the Gods seemed to arrange my fate for me. When I was helpless, one of my coworkers helped me get my current job. I won the house lottery. In this new environment, I met some practitioners and began to practice in July 1997. Six months after I began cultivation, all my diseases were gone, and I felt the beauty of being disease-free. I have not needed to take any medicine in the past 20 years.
Through studying the Falun Gong teachings and doing the exercises, I realized the truth and the meaning of life, as well as the karmic relationships of birth, old age, illness, and death. I understood many questions in life that I had wished to understand but could not answer. I also knew that the purpose of human life is to return to one’s original, true self.
Reading Dafa books made me joyful, peaceful, and mellow. It also widened my worldview. I have since become more open and taken fame and gain lightly. I treat everyone I meet with sincerity, kindness, and tolerance.
I no longer resented my husband for his indifference when I was ill. I have looked after him since he became incapacitated. It is Dafa that has changed my life. It is Dafa that taught me to be a good person and considerate of others.
We practitioners benefit from Dafa. I just wanted to tell people about the goodness of Falun Gong. The police officers arrested and detained me and ransacked my home. The arrest did not have legal grounds.
Defense Statement of Liao Jianxi
On November 28, 2014, I suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and lost a large amount of blood. I suddenly could not move my left hand, and my lips parted. I drooled and could not speak clearly.
My family tried to take me to the hospital, but as a practitioner, I clearly knew that the problem came because of my slacking off in cultivation. Every day at home, I recited “Falun Dafa is good” and “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good.”
I studied the Dafa teachings and did the exercises. I watched the lecture videos of Master Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong. I looked inward for my shortcomings. Under Master’s compassionate protection and the meticulous care of my wife and other practitioners, I completely recovered after seven days without any medical treatment.
My family and relatives tell everyone about the miracles that they had seen happen to me.
Mr. Gao, the husband of Ms. Song Nanyu, was ill for a long time and became incapacitated. On May 12, I went to Huaping County to share my personal experiences with him and persuade him to practice Falun Gong.
Is it a crime to help others relieve their suffering with my own experiences? The charges brought up by the prosecutor made me realize that I have slacked off in my responsibility and mission to save people, including you, the judicial officers. You do not accept it because you have been deceived by Jiang’s regime and are deeply immersed in personal interests.
The prosecutor accused me of undermining the implementation of law without presenting any evidence. The charge does not have any legal basis. According to Article 48 of the Criminal Procedure Law, the prosecutor shall present all material evidence, witness testimonies, and evidentiary opinions. Any witnesses shall be allowed to appear in court to support the testimonies.
Mr. Liao said, “Judicial officers are the law enforcers. They all know that faith is not punished by criminal law. I believe in Falun Gong. I am not guilty of promoting Falun Gong and revealing the facts of the persecution against it because there is no harm to our society.
“Respecting heavenly laws and upholding justice are part of the professional conscience of a judicial officer. As judges, your decision will determine not only the fate of the litigant but also your future.
“We sincerely hope that the judges will handle my case with judicial independence and impartiality and make a judgment based on facts and law. May the light of justice soon return to me.”
Related Reports:Four Seniors Tried for Their Faith, Testify in Own Defense