Hebei Prosecutor Threatens to Sentence Falun Gong Practitioners No Matter How Their Lawyers Defend Them
(Minghui.org) Thirteen Weichang County, Hebei Province residents stood trial at the Luanping County Court on September 28, 2020 for their faith in Falun Gong, a mind-body practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
The thirteen practitioners were arrested on July 13, 2019 while studying Falun Gong’s teachings together. They are: Mr. Liu Zhifeng and his wife Ms. Wang Haiqin, Mr. Wang Guangxue, Mr. Chen Haidong, Mr. Wang Yongxing, Ms. Du Guilan, Ms. Wang Sufang, Ms. Ge Sufen, Ms. Li Yanhua, Ms. Liu Lina, Ms. Wang Haibing, Ms. Tang Fengxia, and Ms. Liu Fengxia.
Prior to indicting them, the prosecutor, Bao Zhenxian, said to one practitioner’s lawyer, “You don’t need to spend time talking to me anymore. It won’t work. I’ve read too many Falun Gong materials. I know they are all good people. Feel free to defend them however you want in court. Actually, I know too well what you are going to say. But no matter how you defend them, we will still sentence them.”
One judge also attempted to have the practitioners’ lawyers pressure them into renouncing their faith before the hearing. He threatened to give the practitioners heavy terms or have the practitioners or their family members’ workplaces fire them.
All thirteen practitioners were brought into the courtroom in handcuffs and shackles. The bailiffs removed the restraints at the lawyers’ request. Only Ms. Wang Haiqin’s sister was allowed to attend the hearing in person, as she was defending Ms. Wang in court. All the other practitioners could only have one family member watching a video of the hearing in another room.
Mr. Liu Zhifeng and his wife Ms. Wang Haiqin’s two lawyers entered a not guilty plea for them. The other nine lawyers representing the other practitioners entered guilty pleas for their clients.
Mr. Liu, his wife, and Mr. Wang Yongxing also testified in their own defense. They argued that they didn’t violate any laws in practicing Falun Gong and striving to be a good person by following Falun Gong’s principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance.