(Minghui.org) The Hangzhou City Intermediate Court in Zhejiang Province announced in late February 2022 to uphold the five-year term handed down to local resident Mr. Hong Chang for practicing Falun Gong—before his lawyer even got a chance to submit his defense statement.

Mr. Hong, a 53-year-old Go coach, was arrested on April 23, 2021, after being reported for talking to his students about Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

During Mr. Hong’s hearing in the Xihu District Court on September 28, the judge denied his lawyer’s request to play the classroom surveillance videos in which Mr. Hong was accused of showing his students something on his tablet.

The judge sentenced Mr. Hong to five years with a 50,000-yuan fine in late December 2021. He appealed with the Hangzhou City Intermediate Court, which ruled to uphold his original sentence without ever receiving his lawyer’s defense statement.

Mr. Hong’s lawyer said both the trial court and appeals court judges have violated the law in handling his case. None of them was able to specify what law criminalizes Falun Gong, what law was undermined by his client, or what harm he caused anyone. In his opinion: “It’s obvious the judges were just going through the motions when they sentenced him.”

Prior to his latest sentencing, Mr. Hong served one labor camp term and two prison terms, totaling eight years, for refusing to give up his faith.

Related reports:

Zhejiang Man Sentenced for Telling His Go Game Students About Falun Gong

Once Incarcerated for Eight Years, Zhejiang Man Faces Trial Again

Mr. Hong Chang Repeatedly Tortured in Zhejiang Province No. 4 Prison