Two Falun Gong Practitioners to Appear in Court After One Year of Harassment
(Minghui.org) Two Zhangjiakou City, Hebei Province, residents are facing trial for their faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Ms. Liu Shouhui, 70, and Mr. Zhao Zijun, in his 50s, were arrested on April 25, 2019, after being reported for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong. The police interrogated them in separate rooms, but they refused to cooperate with the officers.
Ms. Liu was released around 1 a.m. that night. The police followed her home and obtained her address. They returned during the day and ransacked her place. Her Falun Gong related materials and 800 yuan in paper bills stamped with messages about Falun Gong were confiscated. Due to strict information censorship in China, many Falun Gong use creative ways to spread information about their faith, including printing messages on paper bills.
The police also ransacked Mr. Zhao’s home when no one was around. His Falun Gong books and related materials, cellphone, and computer were confiscated. They interrogated him again on April 26, while locking him in a chair with his hands cuffed. He still refused to answer any questions. He was transferred to a detention facility later in the day.
The police arrested Ms. Liu again on May 9, 2019, and took her for a physical examination. She exhibited symptoms of low blood pressure and also vomited. She was released after the local detention center refused to accept her.
The police brought Ms. Liu back to the police station five days later and demanded that she not go out of town and that she report to them if she had to leave home. Ms. Liu refused to comply.
Mr. Zhao was released on bail on June 7, 2019 and also put under house arrest.
Not long afterwards, both Ms. Liu and Mr. Zhao were summoned to the Qiaoxi District Procuratorate and asked to sign their case documents. Ms. Liu refused to sign it. The prosecutor said it was fine if she just drew a circle. She still refused to sign.
When asked to sign his name, Mr. Zhao said to the prosecutor that the statement he wrote at the detention center to renounce Falun Gong was made under coercion and against his will. He declared the statement void and said he is determined to continue practicing Falun Gong. After a moment of pause, the prosecutor turned around and said to the police, “See, why do you arrest them? They are so stubborn. The one before him [referring to Ms. Liu] also refused to sign the document. Now you’re leaving me in a dilemma––it’s difficult for me to either dismiss their cases or sentence them.”
In the next few months, the police frequently harassed Ms. Liu and Mr. Zhao, seriously interfering with their and their families’ lives.
After the courts and procuratorate have resumed normal business hours after the lockdown policies during the coronavirus pandemic were lifted, Ms. Liu and Mr. Zhao were summoned to Qiaoxi District Court on May 27, 2020 to get their indictment documents and were told that they were scheduled to appear in court in about two weeks. The exact date of their court hearing remains under investigation.
A court staff said to Mr. Zhao, “We know you are all good people. What you did was nothing. But you’ll have to write a guarantee statement promising not to practice Falun Gong in the future, in order for us to give you a light sentence. This is the order from above and we can’t do anything about it.”