(Minghui.org) An 82-year-old woman in Maoming City, Guangdong Province stood trial on December 27, 2021 for her faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999. Her two lawyers entered a not guilty plea for her.
Officers from the Zhanqian Police Station went to Ms. Li Shunhua’s home at 7 a.m. on the day of the hearing and took her to the Maonan District Court. Intimidated by the 610 Office, Ms. Li’s son and daughter didn’t go with her.
Ms. Li’s two lawyers arrived at the court at 8:40 a.m. for the security check. The bailiff deliberately delayed the process and spent over an hour searching their personal items. At one point, a female staff member claimed that the lawyers weren’t allowed to bring their computers into the courtroom. The lawyers challenged her that there were no such rules. Another male staff member then walked over and signaled the woman to leave.
The presiding judge, Tan Wei, and the court’s vice president, surnamed Ruan, also asked the lawyers whether they could use computers provided by the court. The lawyers insisted on using their own computers, which had the documents they prepared for the case. The judges made it clear that they didn’t want the lawyers to record the hearing, thus blocking them from bringing any electronic device into the courtroom, not even a charging cable.
The lawyers became angry and said that they knew of another lawyer, Lu Tingge, who wasn’t allowed to bring his computer into the same courthouse, and the hearing of the case Lu represented was eventually canceled. After several rounds of negotiation, the judges allowed the lawyers to use their own computers, after covering the cameras and microphones with thick tape.
The hearing started after 10 a.m. and lasted less than two hours. Judges Tan, He Xuejun, and Zhou Jinfeng, as well as court clerk Liu Dan, participated in it. Prosecutor Deng Jinli of Maonan District Procuratorate also attended the session.
The lawyers argued that there are no laws that criminalize Falun Gong in China. While the prosecutor charged Ms. Li with undermining law enforcement, he failed to elaborate on what law was undermined, and how. They added that two witnesses, Guo Weiqing and Zheng Caiqin, the two residential committee staff members who were assigned to monitor Ms. Li, didn’t appear in court to accept cross-examination, thus rendering their accounts invalid. They demanded an acquittal of Ms. Li.
Judge Tan was initially very rude to the lawyers, but he remained silent during the remaining part of the lawyers’ defense statements.
Arrest and Indictment
Ms. Li suffered rheumatoid, deformed joints and fingers in her younger years. In her 20s, she also developed nephritis and later struggled with tuberculosis for seven years. As she grew older, she had multiple heart conditions, Meniere’s syndrome, sciatica, frozen shoulder, and many other diseases. Her nephritis was so serious that it almost led to uremia. She visited doctors every week and had to take handfuls of medicine every day. She had lost hope in life due to the physical suffering.
In September 1995, at the age of 55, she took up Falun Gong and soon saw all of her diseases disappeared.
For not renouncing her faith, she was arrested on October 23, 2020 and her home was ransacked. During a physical examination the next day, Ms. Li was found to have high blood pressure and a severe heart condition, induced by the mental distress from the persecution. The doctor said to the police that her life could be in danger at any time.
Despite her condition, the police took her to the Maoming City No. 1 Detention Center on the same day. The guards ordered an inmate to closely monitor her and report to them if she fell sick. At 4 p.m. on October 26, 2020, the inmate noticed that Ms. Li’s face was flushed. She reported it to a guard and Ms. Li was released on bail at 11 p.m.
Ms. Li had severe stomach pain upon returning home. She had loose bowels for 11 days and her body weight dropped over 20 lbs.
The prosecutor at the Maonan District Procuratorate indicted her on October 22, 2021, on charges of “undermining law enforcement with a cult organization,” the standard pretext used to criminalize Falun Gong practitioners in China. The indictment stated that since Ms. Li took up Falun Gong, she has been actively promoting the practice to others, especially to Guo Weiqing and Zheng Caiqin, between 2015 and 2020.
Both Guo and Zheng were members of the Gaoliangnan Residential Committee. They harassed Ms. Li multiple times between 2015 and 2020, with the latest harassment being in July 2020, and ordered her to renounce Falun Gong. As Ms. Li remained firm in her faith, they reported her to the police, which resulted in her arrest and indictment.
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