The Globe and Mail: Canadian Falun Gong Practitioner Framed and Tried After 18 Months of Detention
(Minghui.org) The Globe and Mail, one of Canada's major newspapers, reported on September 12 on the trial of Canadian citizen Sun Qian for her belief in Falun Gong.
The article was titled, “‘I did nothing illegal’: Canadian Falun Gong practitioner denies wrongdoing in single-day trial.”
As Canada's most widely read newspaper on weekdays and Saturdays, The Globe and Mail is based in Toronto and is regarded by some as Canada's “newspaper of record.” It had previously reported on Ms. Sun's arrest and torture. The latest followup report wrote that,
“A Canadian Falun Gong practitioner says she was tortured by Chinese authorities after being framed by her husband, who used her beliefs to turn her in while having an affair with a younger woman.
“I did not, I do not and will not do anything illegal,” Sun Qian told the Wenyuhe court in Beijing on Wednesday, where she stood for a single-day trial 18 months after she was first detained.”
The Wenyuhe court had promised an open hearing, but it barred journalists from The Globe and Mail and representatives of European embassies from entering. Only three Canadian diplomats and Ms. Sun's parents, brother, and sister were allowed to attend the trial.
Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, once expressed her concern for Ms. Sun's plight. She said, “In my view, a single Canadian detained abroad unfairly is one too many, and this is a duty that all governments have,” she continued, “I take extremely seriously my duty.”
The Globe obtained Ms. Sun’s testimony from her lawyer, mother and brother.
Tortured In Detention
Ms. Sun, 52, graduated from Peking University and co-founded a biochemistry company with her husband. She became a Canadian citizen in 2007.
The wealthy businesswoman took up the practice of Falun Gong in 2014 and credits it for curing her health problems. She was arrested at home in Beijing on February 19, 2017 for refusing to renounce Falun Gong.
Ms. Sun testified in court that she wasn't given any water or food while being initially detained in a facility. A public prosecutor denied that Ms. Sun was ever mistreated, but he failed to provide any surveillance videos to justify his claims.
Ms. Sun's lawyer, Li Jinsong, said the prosecutor simply didn't dare to show the videos in court.
Ms. Sun also testified against guards at the No. 1 Detention Center in Beijing, where she remains to this day. She said she was pushed to the ground and pepper sprayed in May 2017.
The Globe reported that Ms. Sun called “all the elements and procedures of her case illegal” and believed, “practicing Falun Gong is both legal and reasonable.”
The court isn't expected to issue a verdict any time soon. The 18 months of detention of Ms. Sun has brought tremendous pain to her family. Her mother was quoted by The Globe saying, “Seeing my daughter get detained and suffering through all of this has left me really, really sad. Living in a country like this without freedom or human rights, I feel sorry for her. I feel pain.”
Framed By Husband
Ms. Sun accused her husband, Shen Guangqian, of falsifying her signature and illegally transferring her company shares to himself while she was in detention. She also said that Shen worked with a police friend to get her arrested.
Shen did not respond to repeated requests from The Globe for comment.
The court denied Ms. Sun's lawyer's request to cross-examine Shen and his family's maid. Ms. Sun became the only person to testify in court. Her lawyer pointed out there were errors in the case document. For instance, her arrest warrant was dated after she had been taken into custody. He said, “So it’s obvious they forged the application.”
Authorities Attempt to Limit the Influence of the Case
Due to her Canadian citizenship, China-born Ms. Sun's case has received wide attention both inside and outside of China.
Huang Hanzhong, one of a series of lawyers who were forced to quit representing Ms. Sun under government pressure, commented that Ms. Sun's case “is not a particularly special one,” as numerous Falun Gong practitioners have been prosecuted for holding firm to their faith.
He criticized the court for breaking laws. Ms. Sun’s hearing, for instance, was meant to be open.
But a court worker claimed that there were no more seats when The Globe and Mail and European diplomats arrived at the courthouse.
Ms. Sun's sister, Sun Zan, refuted the claim. When she came to the same courtroom on April 23, 2018 for a pre-trial hearing, there were three rows of seats. This time, only two rows were there, with most seats occupied by police and people she had never met. They “must have been arranged by the government to fill up the room,” the sister said. She continued, “My understanding is that they want to limit the influence of this case.”