(Minghui.org) Mr. Li Guolin of Laishui County, Hebei Province, was dealt a heavy blow when he received a notice on May 16, 2022, to pay a 10,000-yuan court fine imposed on his wife Ms. Song Shuhua.
The notice from the Zhuozhou Court in Hebei Province stated that his wife’s prison sentence for practicing Falun Gong was now in effect and that he had until May 19 to make the payment or the court would withdraw the funds from their bank account.
Mr. Li said he had never received any update about Ms. Song’s case after she appeared in court on December 13, 2021, for her faith in Falun Gong. He hired a lawyer to represent her in March 2022, and the lawyer was surprised to discover that on February 25, 2022, she had been sentenced to one year and ten months. But the lawyer was never made aware of the sentencing hearing or given a copy of her verdict.
Mr. Li, Ms. Song, and their daughter Ms. Li Shuang all practice Falun Gong. Ms. Li has remained in detention since her arrest in Beijing on August 11, 2019. Her parents were both arrested on June 16, 2021. Mr. Li was later released on bail, but Ms. Song was not and was eventually sentenced to prison.
With both his wife and daughter detained, Mr. Li struggles to cope with the mental stress. The order for him to pay the fine only made things worse.
Arrests and Sentencing
Ms. Song, 63, was arrested on June 16, 2021, after being reported for talking to people at a community fair about Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been targeted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999. While ransacking her home, the police also arrested Mr. Li.
After 15 days in the Laishui County Lockup, the couple was put in criminal detention, charged with “undermining law enforcement with a cult organization,” the standard pretext used to criminalize Falun Gong in China. Mr. Li was released on bail on July 31, while Ms. Song remains in the Baoding City Detention Center.
The couple was tried in the Zhuozhou Court on December 13, 2021. Mr. Li attended in person. Ms. Song was connected through a video call and her face was blurred out.
The judge said to Ms. Song, “If you promise not to practice Falun Gong anymore, we can release you to celebrate the New Year with your family.”
Ms. Song refused to agree and said to the judge, “Falun Gong is not a cult. It gives me good health and teaches me to be a good person. It is truly wonderful, so of course I will continue to practice it!”
The judge adjourned the session without announcing a verdict.
Ms. Song’s family hired a lawyer for her on March 7, 2022. The lawyer went to the Zhuozhou City Court, Zhuozhou City Procuratorate, Laishui County Procuratorate, Laishui County Police Department, and Yongyang Police Station on March 7 and 8 to submit his legal opinion. Only then did he find out that Ms. Song had already been sentenced to one year and ten months with a 10,000-yuan fine by the Zhuozhou City Court on February 25. He also learned that the deadline to file an appeal had passed.
When the lawyer demanded a copy of her verdict, the judge refused to give it to him, telling her family to pick it up themselves. The judge indicated that he had informed the lawyer that he had appointed to represent Ms. Song of her verdict. But Ms. Song’s family said they were never aware that she had a court-appointed lawyer and that the court-appointed lawyer never contacted them about her verdict either. Moreover, the judge never informed the family of her sentencing hearing on February 25.
It’s also not clear if the court is planning to sentence Mr. Li.
In addition to the couple’s ordeal, their daughter, Ms. Li Shuang, 29, has been held in the Xicheng District Detention Center in Beijing since her arrest on August 11, 2019.
Perpetrators’ contact information:
Ruan Jiawei (阮嘉伟), head of Baoding City Detention Center: +86-312-8051616, +86-312-8051060Wang Lihong (王立红), president of Zhuozhou City Procuratorate: +86-312-3852822, +86-312-8638361Wang Yanhua (王艳华), presiding judge of Zhuozhou City Court: +86-312-5520128Wang Yajing (王亚静), judge, Zhuozhou City Court: +86-17731862270
(More perpetrators’ contact information is available in the original Chinese article.)
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