(Minghui.org) An intermediate court in Bazhong City, Sichuan Province rejected the appeals of nine local citizens without holding a hearing as required by criminal law in China.
The nine residents had been sentenced to prison for refusing to renounce Falun Gong, a mind-body practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since July 1999.
When the practitioners’ families questioned why no hearing was held for the appeal cases, the intermediate court judge responded, “It’s fine to make a decision without it.”
Eight of the Falun Gong practitioners, including an 89-year-old man, were sent to prison in mid-June 2019, while the ninth practitioner, Ms. Sun Rong, has been released after finishing her term.
According to insiders, the decision to hold no hearing for the appeal cases came from Deng Yong, head of the Sichuan Province Political and Legal Affairs Committee (PLAC) and former chief prosecutor for the Sichuan Province Procuratorate.
The PLAC is a non-judicial agency tasked with carrying out the persecution of Falun Gong and given power to override the judicial system.
It was reported that the PLAC closely monitored the practitioners' cases and threatened to discipline prosecutors and judges if they failed to prosecute the practitioners.
The intermediate court judge was not the only judge who succumbed to pressure from the PLAC.
A judge for the Bazhou District Court originally planned to give the practitioners prison terms equal to the time they had already been in detention so that they would be released right after the sentencing hearing. But PLAC officials insisted on heavier sentences, plus fines.
When the practitioners' families later filed complaints against the PLAC for obstruction of justice, the complaints came to a dead end.
On July 26, 2019, Mr. Dai Wanyi’s family received a call from the Sichuan Province Procuratorate. The staff told them that the National Discipline Inspection and Supervision Committee had just forwarded their complaint against PLAC to them. They said they couldn’t handle the case and asked Mr. Dai’s family to come and take their complaint home.
Around the same time, the Supreme People’s Court also texted Mr. Dai's family, saying that it was out of their jurisdiction to hear the family's complaint against the Sichuan Province PLAC.
The nine Falun Gong practitioners from Bazhong City, Sichuan Province were arrested on December 22, 2017.
It was reported that an officer at the Sichuan Province Public Security Bureau called a meeting of the Bazhou City police force and ordered the arrests of local Falun Gong practitioners.
According to sources familiar with the case, this officer told the local police to carefully search every Falun Gong practitioner’s home, and to “grant no mercy.” He said that if the police couldn’t find any evidence to charge the practitioners, it was fine to make the arrest first and then fabricate evidence.
Mr. Zhang Xinwei, who is nearly 90 and has a serious medical condition, was also targeted in the sweep.
Wei Dongbin, head of the Bazhou District Domestic Security Division, insisted on sending Mr. Zhang to the detention center. When the detention center guard rejected Mr. Zhang's admission, Wei almost started a fight with him. Mr. Zhang was released on bail early on the morning of December 23.
The Bazhou District Procuratorate indicted the practitioners on September 28, 2018, with the charge of “undermining law enforcement,” a standard pretext used to frame and prosecute Falun Gong practitioners.
The practitioners appeared in the Bazhou District Court on November 7, 2018 and were sentenced to prison on January 7, 2019.
Their ages, sentences, and fines are as follows:
Mr. Zhang Xinwei, 89, three years of imprisonment with a fine of 4,000 yuan.Mr. Zhang Minglang, 82, five years of imprisonment with a fine of 10,000 yuan.Mr. Kang Zunliu, 71, three and a half years, with a fine of 5,000 yuan.Mr. Zhu Tiangui, 71, two and a half years, with a fine of 3,000 yuan.Ms. Yue Yingcong, 70, four years, with a fine of 6,000 yuan.Mr. Dai Wanyi, 70, three years, with a fine of 4,000 yuan.Ms. Zhou Lihua, 62, four years, with a fine of 6,000 yuan.Ms. Chen Guoqiong, 54, two and a half years, with a fine of 3,000 yuan.Ms. Sun Rong, 40, one and a half years, with a fine of 2,000 yuan.