(Minghui.org) A Shangqiu City resident appeared in court to face charges that she “used 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 principle of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Ms. Huang Xiulan, 47, was arrested on December 15, 2017, after she gave a woman a calendar bearing messages about Falun Gong. The woman happened to be a street committee member and reported Ms. Huang to the police, who seized Ms. Huang hours later.

The police also arrested Ms. Huang's child and brother-in-law, and didn't release them until they were forced to pay tens of thousands of yuan. The two family members were later named as prosecution witnesses in Ms. Huang's trial without their knowledge.

Ms. Huang's lawyer refuted the charges against his client during her trial on August 10, 2018. He argued that no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong and that Ms. Huang's distribution of the calendar didn't undermine any act of law enforcement.

Prosecutor Han Weihua initially alleged that Ms. Huang intended to distribute two bags of Falun Gong books and later said she had already passed out 250 Falun Gong books. Ms. Huang's lawyer countered that the only thing ever confiscated from his client was the one Falun Gong calendar. He demanded Ms. Huang's acquittal, but the prosecutor recommended 3-5 years of prison.

Defense Arguments Against Charges

Ms. Huang’s lawyer argued in court that China has never enacted a law deeming Falun Gong a cult. A new statutory interpretation took effect on February 1, 2017, which 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. Huang lacked legal basis.

Also, one of the prosecution's claims against Ms. Huang mentioned her possession and dissemination of Falun Gong books. The police only confiscated a Falun Gong calendar and never found any Falun Gong books in Ms. Huang’s home. Also, China's Administration of Press and Publications in July 1999 banned the publication of Falun Gong books, but issued a repeal of the ban in 2011. Thus, it is fully legal to own Falun Gong books.

Lastly, Ms. Huang was charged with “using a cult organization to undermine enforcement of the law.” She merely was glad to have her health back through the practice and wanted to share it with others. Her conduct offered no link to the crime that she was charged with.

Ms. Huang pleaded not guilty and described how she’d recovered from epilepsy and severe skin disease through the practice. She did not harm anyone or undermine the law in the process of improving herself.

Lawyer Threatened for Representing Falun Gong Practitioner

Before and during the trial, the prosecution and the court authorities repeatedly interfered with the lawyer’s legal work and almost prevented him from representing Ms. Huang. Prosecutor Han specifically told Ms. Huang that she wasn’t allowed legal representation when she interrogated Ms. Huang on March 14, 2018, in the Pingtai Detention Center. Han later refused to let Ms. Huang’s lawyer review the case. During the hearing the prosecutor even threatened to take away the defense lawyer's job and told him not to defend Falun Gong practitioners.

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