Extralegal Agency Forces Falun Gong Practitioner to Dismiss Lawyer Who Planned to Enter a Not Guilty Plea for Her
(Minghui.org) Two women in Pingdu City, Shandong Province are facing trial for upholding their faith in Falun Gong. One of the practitioners, Ms. Sheng Shuli, was pressured by an extralegal agency to dismiss her own Beijing lawyer who had planned to enter a not guilty plea for her.
“If she uses the lawyer from Beijing, she [Ms. Sheng] will be sentenced to five years; If she agrees to a local court-appointed lawyer, she will be sentenced to three years,” threatened an agent from the Pingdu City 610 Office.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a meditation system that consists of exercises and the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began to suppress the group in July 1999 and since then, hundreds of thousands of practitioners have been arrested, detained, and tortured.
The 610 Office is an extralegal agency tasked with eradicating Falun Gong and given power to override the judicial system.
Arrest and Threats
When Ms. Sheng and Ms. Qu Yuanzhi went to Jiudian Town to talk to people about Falun Gong on January 22, 2019, officers from the Zhugou Police Station arrested them and sent them to the Pudong Detention Center on the next day.
On June 21, 2019, officers from the same police station arrested Ms. Sheng’s father, 75-year-old Mr. Sheng Songgang, who was soon sentenced to three years in prison.
The local Huangdao Court initially scheduled a hearing for Ms. Sheng and Ms. Qu for July 29, 2019, but postponed the court date twice, first to August 8 and then August 12.
While the two Falun Gong practitioners were awaiting trial, agents from the 610 Office kept threatening Ms. Sheng's family. Unable to bear the pressure, Ms. Sheng’s two sisters took her son to the Huangdao Court to file paperwork to dismiss the human rights lawyer they had hired from Beijing.
Guo Yucheng, deputy director of the 610 Office, went to Ms. Sheng’s home several times to question her family about who had helped her hire the Beijing lawyer.
The court appointed Fu Guoren, a local lawyer, to represent Ms. Sheng. He went to Huangdao Court on August 8 to review the case and later visited Ms. Sheng at the detention center. He told her that he was instructed by the court to plead guilty on her behalf.
Key Responsible Personnel:
Guo Yucheng: deputy director of Pingdu 610 Office, +86-15615887178Zhugou Police Station: +86-532-83321006Mou Xiaofeng: director of Zhugou Police Station, +86-13869839721