Hebei Woman Tried for Her Faith, Lawyer's Defense Frequently Interrupted by Judge
(Minghui.org) A resident of Qinhuangdao City, Hebei Province, was tried by Changli Court on July 17, 2019 for not renouncing her faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Ms. Peng Xiuli's lawyer entered a not guilty plea for her. She also testified in her own defense.
Presiding judge Wei Yongli frequently interrupted their defense and moved on to the next question before they finished the previous one. Wei also threatened to revoke the lawyer's license and report him to his local judicial bureau if he continued to plead not guilty for Falun Gong practitioners.
At Ms. Peng's request, Wei played surveillance video of her arrest, which showed two people surrounding Ms. Peng and dragging her to the police station. The video also showed police ransacking her home when no one was present. Her Falun Gong books, computer and related materials were confiscated.
Judge Wei asked Ms. Peng, “Is it true that the police found criminal evidence of Falun Gong books and other materials at your home?”
She replied, “I didn't violate any laws in practicing Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance. The items confiscated from my home aren't relevant to this case.”
Wei went on to ask, “Where did you get the books and pamphlets?”
Ms. Peng refused to answer and again said that they were not related to the case. When she testified to how she had benefited physically and mentally from practicing Falun Gong, Wei cut her off and didn't allow her to continue.
Wei then turned to the lawyer and asked him questions. The lawyer argued that no law criminalizes Falun Gong in China and that it was within his client's freedom of belief to practice Falun Gong. He cited a notice from the Chinese publication bureau revoking the ban on the publication of Falun Gong books and related materials in 2011.
He also pointed out that while the prosecutor accused Ms. Peng of “undermining law enforcement with a cult organization,” the standard pretext used by the communist regime to imprison Falun Gong practitioners, she failed to provide evidence to show which law Ms. Peng had allegedly obstructed.
The judge adjourned the hearing without issuing a verdict.
Arrest and Detention
Ms. Peng was arrested on November 3, 2018 while talking to people about Falun Gong. The police interrogated her at the police station and ransacked her home. She has been held at Qinhuangdao Detention Center since.
Ms. Peng's arrest caused tremendous mental distress to her father, and he passed away five days later. She was not allowed to attend his funeral.
Ms. Peng also developed medical conditions herself at the detention center, including high blood pressure and irregular heartbeat.