(Minghui.org) A high school teacher in Anshan City, Liaoning Province was tried by Lishan District Court on May 20, 2019, for not renouncing his faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Two lawyers entered a not guilty plea for Mr. Wang Hongzhua. They argued that no law in China has ever criminalized Falun Gong and that the Constitution grants Chinese citizens the right to freedom of religion and belief.

The lawyers also pointed out that Mr. Wang didn't violate any law or cause harm to anyone by spreading information about Falun Gong and raising awareness about the persecution. None of the Falun Gong-related materials confiscated from his home should be used against him.

Mr. Wang testified in his own defense. He rebutted the charge of “undermining law enforcement,” which is a pretext used by the authorities to detain and imprison Falun Gong practitioners. “This is not a criminal case. It's political persecution,” he said.

The prosecutor and presiding judge frequently interrupted the lawyers' and Mr. Wang's defense.

Mr. Wang is awaiting a verdict at Nantai Detention Center, where he has been held since he was arrested on August 22, 2018, after being deceived into returning to school for an urgent meeting.

It was reported that the police arrested him in order to fill the quota for a campaign to crack down on gang members. Instead of arresting real gang members, the authorities targeted Falun Gong practitioners.

Another 30 local Falun Gong practitioners and their family members were arrested between August 22 and 23, 2018.

Related reports:

High School Teacher Among Recent Mass Arrest Victims in Liaoning Province

31 Falun Gong Practitioners and Their Family Members in Liaoning Province Arrested in Two Days