(Minghui.org) Four Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province residents made their second court appearance on October 21, 2021 for their faith in Falun Gong.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual practice with three principles “Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance” and five sets of slow-moving exercises. It has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999 due to its tremendous popularity and revival of traditional values that the communist regime has been seeking to destroy.
The four practitioners, including Mr. Li Lizhuang, Ms. Huo Xiaohui, Ms. Tang Zhuyin and Ms. Li Yanqing, were arrested between April 7 and 8, 2020 for making phone calls to the public about how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) covered up the coronavirus epidemic and how people recovered from the virus infection by reciting the auspicious phrases “Falun Dafa is good; Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance is good.” Another three practitioners, Ms. Ding Yan, Ms. Jiao Qihua and Ms. Zhao Lihua, who went with them, were also arrested.
The Harbin authorities transferred the practitioners’ cases to the Ranghulu District Procuratorate in the nearby Daqing City. The prosecutor then indicted them and moved their case to the Ranghulu District Court.
The seven practitioners first faced judge virtually on June 22, 2021. Ms. Tang, 70, remained very weak after a major surgery, but judge Xue Qiang still forced her to stand trial. She was wheeled into a makeshift courtroom in the local detention center by two bailiffs, and she was too weak to sit properly. Yet the judge ordered the bailiffs to take her back after the recess, although she was still extremely uncomfortable.
Mr. Li objected to the virtual hearing and requested to defend himself in person in front of the judge and the prosecutor. But Judge Xue ordered bailiffs to forcibly carry him out to the makeshift room to attend the virtual hearing. Mr. Li raised an objection again in the middle of the hearing, and the bailiffs held him down to continue the hearing. Judge Xue rejected Mr. Li’s request to have communist party members, including the judge himself and the prosecutor, recused from the case as Mr. Li deemed these atheists unfit to handle the case involving spiritual belief.
Mr. Li, Ms. Huo, Ms. Tang and Ms. Li appeared in court again on October 21. This time it was in-person in the courthouse. It’s not clear whether the other three practitioners were tried around the same time or whether they have been convicted.
During the practitioners’ second hearing in October, they were ordered to wear personal protection equipment, face masks and goggles. The court only allowed one family member of each practitioner to attend the hearing, but two of the family members were denied entry into the courthouse as they traveled from Beijing and didn’t have a molecular test of the coronavirus with 24 hours.
The two family members who were allowed into the court room said they couldn’t recognize the practitioners, but could only identify them through their voices. Despite the strong protest from the practitioners and their lawyers, judge Xue kept the practitioners wearing handcuffs and shackles throughout the hearing.
Like previous hearing, judge Xue didn’t allow the practitioners’ lawyers to talk anything about Falun Gong. When lawyer Xie Yanyi asked Mr. Li when he started practicing Falun Gong, Xue warned the lawyer and threatened to remove him from the courtroom like last time.
Both Mr. Li and Ms. Li said that they didn’t violate any law in practicing their faith, which gave them good health and enabled them to be better people. The judge ordered the bailiffs to take away their microphones. They continued to talk, but were eventually stopped by the judge.
Mr. Li said the police failed to provide specific information about the phone calls, including the exact time of the calls, the length of each call, what was said during the calls, how many phones were used by each practitioner, their own cellphone numbers, as well as how the phone calls had harmed others.
Mr. Li added that during the pandemic lockdown between January and April 2020, each of the practitioners could only leave home for two hours each day to make phone calls to the public to expose the persecution of Falun Gong. Each phone call was about three minutes, and it was impossible for the seven of them to make 150,000 phone calls during the 100 days of lockdown as alleged by the prosecutor, as they’d at most make a total of 28,000 calls based on the math (100 days * 120 minutes each day *7 practitioners, divided by 3 minutes for each call). As a matter of fact, the phone calls the practitioners made were not even nearly 28,000, much less 150,000.
When prosecutor Feng Guang read from a notebook that he recommended five years against Mr. Li, judge Xue cleared his throat and Feng immediately changed the recommended term to ten to eleven years.
During the practitioners’ previous hearing in June, Feng had attempted to trick the practitioners into admitting having made tens of thousands of phone calls, by promising to reduce their prison sentence by three or five years, or he would ask for seven to eleven years against them.
Perpetrators’ contact information:
Feng Haibo (冯海波), head of Daqing City Domestic Security Office: +86-13089051888, +86-15045899010Feng Guang (封光), prosecutor of Ranghulu District Procuratorate: +86-459-5974007, +86-459-5974201Xue Qiang (薛强), judge of Ranghulu District Court: +86-13836990471
(More perpetrators’ contact information is available in the original Chinese article.)
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