(Minghui.org) A woman in Changchun, Jilin Province, was secretly tried in a ten-minute hearing without legal representation and sentenced to three years for practicing Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Arrested and Indicted

Ms. Zhang Guixiang, a 58-year-old former employee of the Changchun Automobile Import and Export Company, was arrested at home on the morning of October 20, 2020. The police ransacked her home and confiscated her Falun Gong items.

The police didn’t provide any information about Ms. Zhang’s status after taking her away. When her family managed to find out that she was in the Weizigou Detention Center, the guards didn’t let them visit her or send her any daily necessities. They were only allowed to make a deposit for her to buy things inside.

The police later told her family that the arrest was to meet a quota and that they would release her in ten days. When the ten days were up, the police refused to release her and transferred her to the Changchun No.4 Detention Center.

The police later submitted Ms. Zhang’s case to the Chaoyang District Procuratorate. Her family learned from prosecutor Liu Yang on February 24, 2021, that she had been indicted and her case forwarded to the Chaoyang District Court on February 5. Judge Qu Dong was assigned to her case.

Lawyer Barred from Representing His Client

When Ms. Zhang’s lawyer Xie Yanyi went to the courthouse in March to submit his Power of Attorney, judge Qu refused to accept it, claiming that no out-of-province lawyers were allowed to defend Falun Gong practitioners in Jilin.

Her family went with lawyer Xie to the Chaoyang District Court on June 4 and filed a complaint against judge Qu for preventing the lawyer from representing Ms. Zhang. They also filed similar complaints with the Jilin Province Procuratorate and the Chaoyang District Procuratorate. They both responded that it was their responsibility to look into the case, but that they also had an order from the city government not to accept any complaint related to Falun Gong.

The lawyer and Ms. Zhang’s family then went to the Changchun City Intermediate Court a day later to complain about judge Qu depriving Ms. Zhang of her right to legal representation.

On June 14, when they checked on Ms. Zhang’s bank account, her family discovered that the local social security bureau had suspended her pension since April. When they called the office to ask about it, the person who answered refused to give any explanation, saying, “We will talk about it when Ms. Zhan is released.”

The Jilin Province Procuratorate responded to the family’s complaint on June 21 and suggested that the family communicate with the court themselves.

Ms. Zhang’s family went to the courthouse many times and called judge Qu several times to seek justice for her. The judge said, “If you think the police did her wrong, you should file a complaint against them. You don’t have to tell me that. If the police or the prosecutor think there is something wrong with the case and they want to withdraw it, I have no objection to that, either.”

Changchun City Intermediate Court officials called the family on June 24 and asked if they were satisfied with their response to the complaint. When the family responded that it had not yet been resolved, the court officials said they would follow up with them. An hour later, Zhang Dan, the presiding judge of Chaoyang District Court, called Ms. Zhang’s family and asked them to come to the courthouse. She said she would help them resolve the problem.

When the family got there, judge Zhang said she was busy in a meeting and couldn’t see them. She got back to the family a few days later and said that she couldn’t resolve the issue after all and they would have to deal with it themselves.

When the family consulted people who worked at the intermediate court about what else they could do, they were told, “You can continue to file complaints.”

Secret Hearing

On the morning of July 20, the detention center guards ordered Ms. Zhang to wear protective gear to appear at a hearing. Ms. Zhang thought the hearing would be in a courtroom, only to be taken to a separate room in the detention center for a video conference.

Ms. Zhang asked the judge where her lawyer was. The judge responded that if she pleaded guilty, he would appoint a lawyer for her; otherwise, she would be denied legal representation. Ms. Zhang insisted that she didn’t violate any law in practicing Falun Gong. The judge ended the hearing in ten minutes.

Ms. Zhang’s family said they went to the courthouse to meet with judge Qu the day before the hearing. Qu didn’t mention a word about the hearing scheduled for the next day and maintained that he was handling her case according to the law.

During another meeting between Ms. Zhang’s family, judge Zhang and judge Qu’s assistant Li Zhuo on August 5, judge Zhang took several photos of Ms. Zhang’s family members and their IDs. She also asked for their personal information. A bailiff videotaped the entire meeting.

Ms. Zhang’s family said that the authorities had violated legal procedures at every step of the prosecution process. When they were said that everyone who participated in the persecution would be brought to justice in the future, Li laughed at them.

The family asked Li to inform them if the court scheduled a hearing. Li didn’t mention that a hearing had already taken place two weeks earlier.

Ms. Zhang’s lawyer found out about the secret hearing on August 26, when he was finally allowed to visit her. Prior to that, her family had called judges Zhang and Qu, as well as Li, several times about the status of her case. They either refused to answer the call or beat around the bush when they spoke.

Ms. Zhang’s family learned on September 29 that she has been secretly sentenced to three years. They asked if any witnesses appeared in court to be cross-examined. Judge Qu responded that he had the witnesses’ accounts in writing and there was no need for them to appear in court. He also refused to provide the legal basis on which he convicted Ms. Zhang, saying “I don’t have any obligation to explain this to you.”

The judge also refused to provide a copy of Ms. Zhang’s verdict to her family, claiming that there was no such legal requirement. He claimed that even Ms. Zhang’s own children didn’t have the right to appeal the verdict on her behalf.

Perpetrators’ contact information:
Liu Yang (刘扬), prosecutor, Chaoyang District Procuratorate: +86-431-85887057
Qu Dong (曲栋), judge, Chaoyang District Court: +86-431-88559231, +86-13596166414, +86-17643109105Jiang Hui (姜辉), judge, Chaoyang District Court: +86-431-88559354, +86-431-88559352

(More perpetrators’ contact information is available in the original Chinese article.)

Related reports:

Jilin Judge Bars Out-of-Town Lawyer from Representing Local Falun Gong Practitioner

After Two Labor Camp Terms and Constant Harassment, Jilin Woman Arrested Again for Her Faith

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