(Minghui.org) An appeals court judge in Changchun City, Jilin Province blocked Mr. Zhang Guixiang’s lawyer from reviewing her case document or representing her in her appeal case, citing a secret document specifying that all lawyers working on Falun Gong cases must show proof they don’t practice Falun Gong themselves.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Judge Wan Mingyuan of Changchun City Intermediate Court called Ms. Zhang’s family on December 27, 2021 and said she had received her appeal, and asked her lawyer to call her the next day.
Ms. Zhang’s lawyer called the judge as requested. The judge told him that as an out of town lawyer, he must register with his local Justice Bureau and the Justice Bureau in Changchun in order to represent Ms. Zhang. The lawyer replied that he had contacted the Changchun Justice Bureau already, which indicated that he wasn’t under their jurisdiction and that they were unable to register him as a lawyer handling Falun Gong cases. “Then I can’t do anything about it. That’s the requirement.” the judge replied.
When Ms. Zhang’s family went to the court to submit their application to represent her as family defender on December 29, the judge refused to receive them. They called the judge, who then said that they had to present proof from either the Justice Bureau or their local police station to show that they didn’t practice Falun Gong themselves. The family replied that they had gone to both places, and both of them said they weren’t responsible to issue such proof.
The judge insisted that they must follow such a requirement for all Falun Gong cases. “It’s not from me or the court. It’s an order from above. I can’t tell you more about it. Yours isn’t an isolated case. I can’t do anything about it.”
Ms. Zhang’s family said to the judge that they understood she was just doing her job, but that she is also being victimized by the communist regime by following the policy of persecuting good people. They said they would apply to have her recused from the case to prevent her from committing a crime against their loved one.
Prior to Ms. Zhang’s case, the lawyers representing another eight practitioners in Changchun also met with similar obstruction from both the trial court and the appeals court. The judges of both courts mentioned the secret document which demands that lawyers prove they didn’t practice Falun Gong themselves. Judge Wang Rongfu from the Dehui City Court said to the practitioners’ family members, “Murderers can hire lawyers, but not Falun Gong practitioners!”
Arrest and Wrongful Sentencing
Ms. Zhang, a 59-year-old former employee of the Changchun Automobile Import and Export Company, was arrested at home on the morning of October 20, 2020. None of the police officers were in uniform. They took out a copy of a law-enforcement guide and claimed it was the search warrant, but wouldn’t let her family see it up close.
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 allow them to visit her or send her any daily necessities.
The police told Ms. Zhang’s family that the arrest was made 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.
When Ms. Zhang’s lawyer, Xie Yanyi, went to the courthouse in March to submit his Power of Attorney, the judge refused to accept it, claiming that no out-of-province lawyers were allowed to defend Falun Gong practitioners in Jilin.
The Chaoyang District Court held a hearing on July 20 without informing Ms. Zhang in advance. She 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 learned on September 29 that she was secretly sentenced to a three-year prison term. 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:
Cheng Fengyi (程凤义), president of Changchun City Intermediate Court: +86-431-88558777Liu Chunmei (刘春梅), president of Chaoyang District Court: +86-431-88559227, +86-17643109189Qu Dong (曲栋), judge of Chaoyang District Court: +86-431-88559231, +86-13596166414, +86-17643109105Liu Yang (刘扬), prosecutor of Chaoyang District Procuratorate: +86-431-85887057
(More perpetrators’ contact information is available in the original Chinese article.)
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