(Minghui.org) A Hefei City, Anhui Province resident was tried in May 2019 for not renouncing his faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Mr. Zhang Xinhong, 64, was arrested on May 8, 2018 after being reported for talking to a man about Falun Gong and urging him to quit the Communist Party. Mr. Zhang has been detained at Hefei City Detention Center since.

Mr. Zhang appeared in Shushan District Court on May 30, 2019 after one year of detention. Two lawyers entered a not-guilty plea for him. They argued that no law has ever criminalized Falun Gong in China, and that their client’s practicing Falun Gong is exercising their freedom of belief.

The prosecution's evidence included a computer, printer, Falun Gong related materials confiscated from Mr. Zhang's home, as well as the letters he had written to government officials to persuade them not to participate in the persecution.

The lawyers asked how writing the letters violated any law. They also cited a notice from the Chinese publication bureau in which the ban on publishing Falun Gong books was revoked in 2011.

The police provided a witness account from Mr. Zhang's wife against him. But the lawyers pointed out that the police never verified the interrogation record with his wife before asking her to sign the document. The prosecutor also failed to verify the account with his wife during the hearing, thus it wasn't valid to be used as prosecution evidence.

The man that Mr. Zhang talked to accused him of distributing a Falun Gong informational booklet to him. But Mr. Zhang denied giving him anything.

In addition to the unverified prosecution evidence, the lawyers also argued against the judge for failing to inform their client of the hearing three days in advance as required by the law, and blocking his family members from attending the hearing—while many seats remained empty in the gallery room, only two of his family members were allowed to enter.

The judge didn't respond to the lawyers.

Prior to his latest arrest, Mr. Zhang was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2001 and then another 4.5 years in 2010 for not giving up his faith.