(Minghui.org) A Fuxin City resident was sentenced to two years in prison and fined 5,000 yuan on December 25, 2018 for refusing to give up Falun Gong, a traditional mind and body improvement system being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime.

Ms. Shan Sufen's disabled husband requested a public defender to appeal her conviction, but was told that anyone but Falun Gong practitioners may receive free legal counsel. He then submitted an appeal to the court on his wife's behalf, but the court never forwarded the paperwork to the local intermediate court as required by law.

The husband was informed on the eleventh day after his wife's sentencing that she was no longer allowed to appeal her case as she'd failed to submit the required legal documents within the 10-day appeal window.

A Happy Family Because of Falun Gong

Ms. Shan’s husband, Mr. Sun Xiaping, has been disabled since childhood. As the youngest, he was spoiled by his parents and older siblings, and he had a very bad temper. After he got married, his family initially doubted whether Ms. Shan would take good care of him and they were distant and hostile to her.

Ms. Shan followed Falun Gong's principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance in every area of her life, and she never complained. She provided for and took good care of the family. Her kindness and endurance won the respect of her in-laws. Also because of practicing Falun Gong, Ms. Shan’s severe anemia quickly improved. Her husband became very supportive of her practice.

Mr. Sun repaired small appliances for a living. He often did free work for the local police officers, believing that this was the best way to protect his wife and the family from the persecution, which had been ongoing since 1999.

Wife Arrested and Tried for Her Faith

A dozen plainclothes officers from the Fuxin Police Bureau and Xifuxin Police Station broke into Ms. Shan's home on August 28, 2017. Without showing any ID or search warrant, they searched the house and threatened to put her in prison.

Overwhelmed by the situation, Ms. Shan had a serious muscle spasm and demanded to be taken to a hospital. After the hospital checkup, the police drove her straight to the local detention center, which declined to admit her because of her physical condition.

The police took Ms. Shan back to the police station and left her on the floor suffering from the spasm. They called her husband to come pick her up. He had to have a friend carry him to the police station and help bring Ms. Shan home.

After Mr. Shan’s health recovered through practicing Falun Gong, the police showed up at her home on April 27, 2018, demanding that she sign some paperwork. She refused to sign. The police proceeded to submit her case to the Haizhou District Procuratorate on May 12, 2018. The Procuratorate twice returned the case due to lack of evidence.

The police showed up at Ms. Shan's home again in early July 2018. She was not in, and officer Cao Xu threatened Mr. Sun that they would arrest his wife again and suspend their low-income subsidy.

Terrified and under tremendous stress, both Mr. Sun and Ms. Shan saw their health decline. As soon as Ms. Shan got better and returned to work, the police tried one more time and eventually got her case accepted by the procuratorate, which forwarded the case to the Haizhou District Court on September 4, 2018.

Ms. Shan's hearing was set for October 16, 2018, but when she, her husband, child and lawyer arrived at the courthouse, judge Tong Qiang suddenly announced that the hearing was canceled. The reason was that Ms. Shan had hired a lawyer who entered a not guilty for her.

Officer Feng Shucao from the Fuxin Police Bureau stopped by Ms. Shan’s home on December 21, 2018. He claimed that he happened to be driving by and that he just wanted to visit her. Moments later, he went outside and brought in a large group of officers. They forced Ms. Shan into a police vehicle and took her to the Xindi Detention Center.

Judge Tong held a hearing on December 25, 2018 at the detention center. He sentenced Ms. Shan to two years in prison and fined her 5,000 yuan.

Husband's Request for Public Defender Denied

Ms. Shan asked to appeal her case, and her husband called the local court and judicial bureau requesting a public defender. He was told that Falun Gong practitioners were not entitled to free legal assistance. The court told him that as soon as Ms. Shan signed a statement to renounce Falun Gong, she would be free to go. Ms. Shan refused to write the statement, as no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong.

Ms. Shan’s husband, although not a lawyer, decided to defend his wife himself (which is allowed by law). He filed an appeal to the court and called judge Tong several times to inquire whether Tong had forwarded the appeal to the local intermediate court.

On January 8, 2019, after the deadline to file an appeal has passed, the court called Ms. Shan’s husband to tell him that she wasn't allowed to appeal her case as the required documents hadn't been received withing the 10-day appeal deadline. That is when Mr. Sun learned that judge Tong never forwarded the appeal to the higher court as required by law.