(Minghui.org) A married couple in Yingkou City, Liaoning Province, appeared in Zhanqian Court on September 28, 2020, for refusing to give up their faith in Falun Gong, a mind-body discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Their two lawyers entered not guilty pleas on their behalf. Only two family members were allowed to attend the hearing.

The lawyers pointed out that no law in China has ever deemed practicing Falun Gong a crime and that the China Administration of Press and Publication lifted the ban on Falun Gong books in 2011. They said that the constitution guarantees their clients freedom of belief and that they haven’t harmed anyone or undermined any law enforcement in practicing their belief. “Since when is living by Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance a crime?” the lawyers asked.

Mr. Liu Quanchun, 45, and his wife Ms. Shi Qingxiu, 43, testified in their own defense, giving details of how they both recovered their health by practicing Falun Gong, especially Mr. Liu, who had lung fibrosis and lumbar prolapse.

Zhao Dan, the presiding judge in her 30s, repeatedly interrupted the lawyers’ defense.

Just days before the couple’s hearing, judge Zhao sentenced another practitioner, Ms. Ren Xiulan, in her 70s, to 3.5 years in prison.

Arrests and Denied Warm Clothes in Custody

Mr. Liu was stopped by two plainclothes officers on his way home on March 24, 2020. The officers took him to his residence and confiscated his computer, printers, and 8,000 yuan in cash. His wife, Ms. Shi Qingxiu, was also arrested.

The police initially said they would return the 8,000 yuan to the couple’s relatives. But when their relatives went to ask for the return of the money, the police said they were holding it so the couple could pay their fines in the future.

This was Ms. Shi’s second arrest in a month. She had been arrested in early March after being reported for hanging up a “Falun Dafa Is Good” banner. Because of the coronavirus outbreak, she was released after paying a 1,000-yuan fine.

After their arrests, they were transferred between several detention facilities before ending up in the Yingkou City Detention Center. The Dashiqiao Detention Center, where Mr. Liu had been held just before, withheld the 1,000 yuan in his expense account and some of his clothes.

Even though the weather was getting colder, the Yingkou City Detention Center refused to accept warm clothes the couple’s family sent them. They were wearing shorts and tank tops in the courtroom, while almost everyone else had on heavy jackets.

When the couple’s lawyers went to the detention center to meet with the guards overseeing their clients, security personnel refused to disclose the guards’ names. The couple’s family is now worried about their loved ones.

This wasn’t the first time Mr. Liu has been targeted for his faith. He was arrested on July 28, 2016, while visiting another practitioner in nearby Haicheng City. He was held at the Haicheng City Detention Center for a month and released on bail. The police ordered him to pay a 1,000-yuan bail bond and to report to them whenever he was summoned or they would put him on the “wanted” list. Mr. Liu refused to cooperate and went into hiding for a period of time.

Related reports:

Liaoning Couple Face Prosecution for Practicing Falun Gong

Liaoning Province: 101 Arrested in One Day