(Minghui.org) A Chongqing man was tried in the Jiangbei District Court on October 15, 2020, for his faith in Falun Gong, a mind-body discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999. The evidence used to charge him was fabricated.

Mr. Liu Zhimin's ordeal stemmed from his arrest on January 8, 2020, when he and Mr. Yang Dingchan were helping Mr. Wu Shenghua, 79, write calligraphy couplets and giving them away for free. All three men are Falun Gong practitioners.

Mr. Wu became healthy after he took up Falun Gong, which he also credits for saving him from a car accident in which he was hit by a speeding car and sent flying more than ten meters. Having benefited so much from Falun Gong, he wanted to spread the word about the practice. Since he is very good at calligraphy, he came up with the idea of writing calligraphy couplets to help people celebrate the Chinese New Year. He started in late 2019 and many locals asked for his couplets that had messages about Falun Gong. As he got busier, Mr. Liu and Mr. Yang began to help him with logistics, such as setting up the table in a local common area and distributing the couplets.

Mr. Wu’s table, brushes, and special paper were confiscated after the police arrested him, Mr. Liu, and Mr. Yang.

The police said Zuo Hechang had reported the trio for distributing things about Falun Gong. It was later confirmed that Zuo’s nephew, Zuo Shiyong, had received a Falun Gong booklet from another practitioner. When Zuo Hecheng saw the booklet, he reported Mr. Liu, Mr. Yang, and Mr. Wu, who had become a local sensation, to the police, even though they knew nothing about the booklet.

Although Chinese law prohibits the police from interrogating citizens over 70 years old for more than four hours, Mr. Wu was held and interrogated at the police station for nearly 20 hours before he was released. Mr. Yang was also released.

The police refused to release Mr. Liu. They detained him as a criminal and took him to the Changshou District Detention. They accused him of being a repeat offender, because he had been sentenced in the past for practicing Falun Gong.

The day after Mr. Wu was released, he returned to the police station and demanded the return of his table and brushes. The police refused. He also went to the local police department and procuratorate to demand Mr. Liu’s release, but to no avail. Mr. Liu’s wife and mother, who is in her 80s, also sought his release but were unsuccessful.

To frame Mr. Liu, the police had Zuo Hechang and his nephew provide witness accounts testifying that they had received the booklet from Mr. Liu. The police also accused Mr. Liu of distributing the Falun Gong materials that other local residents had received from other practitioners.

According to people familiar with Mr. Liu’s case, the Jiangbei District Court rejected Mr. Liu’s case twice, due to the apparent fabricated evidence. But the local police, 610 Office (an extralegal agency created to persecute Falun Gong) and the Political and Legal Affairs Committee (an extrajudicial agency tasked with persecuting Falun Gong) pressured the judge to advance Mr. Liu’s prosecution and sentence him.

On October 14, the day before Mr. Liu’s hearing, Mr. Wu went to the court and demanded to meet with the presiding judge, Huang Ya. Huang refused to meet with him but asked how he knew Mr. Liu's court date. Mr. Wu said that Mr. Liu’s family had told him. Judge Huang said they didn’t inform Mr. Liu’s family of his hearing and she questioned how they knew when it was to be held.

Mr. Wu tried to submit his and Mr. Yang’s witness accounts in support of Mr. Liu, but the court staff refused to accept them.

Mr. Wu returned to the court and testified in person to support Mr. Liu. He submitted a hard copy of his testimony the next day. Mr. Liu’s lawyer, Mr. Li Xiongbin, entered a not guilty plea for him. Mr. Liu also testified in his own defense.

When Mr. Liu told the judge that no law in China says practicing Falun Gong is a crime, judge Huang stopped him and said there was a law banning Falun Gong a long time ago but did not provide the documentation.

Mr. Liu was taken back to the detention center after the hearing and is now awaiting the verdict.

Mr. Liu was previously arrested on September 17, 2015, for filing a criminal complaint against Jiang Zemin, former head of the Chinese communist regime, for ordering the persecution of Falun Gong. The day before his hearing, the police went to his home and kept his wife, Ms. Zhang Li, from attending his hearing. The police also arrested 12 practitioners who went to the courthouse on his hearing day to show their support. He was later sentenced to 2.5 years. His term ended in April 2018.

In addition to prison, Mr. Liu has also served a term of forced labor years ago.