(Minghui.org) A retired senior information engineer stood trial on June 7, 2022, for practicing Falun Gong. She testified in her own defense and entered a not guilty plea.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Ms. Zhang Yanyan, a 68-year-old Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province resident, was arrested on September 9, 2021, after being reported for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong in a residential area. Her Falun Gong books, informational materials, computer, and printer were confiscated. 

The police put Ms. Zhang on a one-year bail with the charge of “undermining law enforcement with a cult organization,” the standard pretext used to frame Falun Gong practitioners. She paid a 2,000-yuan bail bond. 

Because Ms. Zhang refused to renounce Falun Gong, the police submitted her case to the Xuanwu District Procuratorate on February 21, 2022. She was indicted shortly afterwards.

Qiu Zhendong, of Xuanwu District Police Department, and Sun Zhongzhou, of Houzaimen Police Station, received calls from overseas Falun Gong practitioners in June 2022, urging them to drop Ms. Zhang’s case. They were infuriated and threatened to take Ms. Zhang back into custody.

Court Defense

Ms. Zhang appeared in Xuanwu District Court on June 7. The lawyer she hired from out of town was barred from entering Nanjing, due to local pandemic prevention measures. The local lawyers weren’t allowed to enter a not guilty plea for her. She had to dismiss her lawyer and represented herself in court. 

The presiding judge, Fang Tian, two more judges (names unknown), clerk Xu Mengjiao, prosecutor Chen Lifang and a bailiff attended the session. The gallery was filled with people that Ms. Zhang didn’t know.

When judge Fang confirmed Ms. Zhang’s name with her, she also demanded to know the other two judges’ names, but the judge ignored her.

The prosecutor read a list of items confiscated from Ms. Zhang that the police labeled as “cult promotional materials,” without showing the actual items in court. 

Ms. Zhang demanded the prosecutor present the Falun Gong materials in court for cross examination. She added that for the confiscated items that weren’t listed as prosecution evidence, such as her computer and printer, the police should return them to her. The prosecutor remained silent. 

Ms. Zhang continued to ask the prosecutor whether anyone signed the police’s document labeling her Falun Gong materials as cult propaganda. She asked the prosecutor twice, but the latter didn’t answer. When she was about to question the prosecutor the police’s qualification to evaluate the evidence, the judge stopped her.

The prosecutor then blurted out that Falun Gong is a cult. Ms. Zhang rebuked him, pointing out that Falun Gong wasn’t included in the cult list published by the Ministry of Public Security. She added that the ban on Falun Gong books has also been lifted by the Chinese publication bureau in 2011. 

The prosecutor argued that one can determine any group as a cult, as long as they match the characteristics of cults. Ms. Zhang immediately responded that no law has ever criminalized Falun Gong in China and that one can’t casually make such a decision oneself as only a law-making body has the authority to outlaw any group or label it a cult.

The prosecutor remained silent. 

The judge ordered Ms. Zhang to present the Chinese publication bureau’s notice to lift the ban on Falun Gong books. As she didn’t have a hard copy with her, the judge dismissed it and said she couldn’t use it as defense evidence.

The prosecutor then accused Ms. Zhang of “surreptitiously distributing banned materials.” Ms. Zhang again refuted that she had no choice of doing it openly due to the persecution.

When Ms. Zhang continued to argue that it’s her freedom of belief to practice Falun Gong and speak up for it, the judge interrupted her and blamed her for promoting Falun Gong in court. The judge didn’t let her finish reading her final statement and adjourned the hearing without announcing a verdict.

Perpetrators’ contact information:

Li Jianhua (李建华), senior officer of Xuanwu District Police Department: +86-18913861900Sun Zhongzhou (孙中洲), officer of Houzaimen Police Station: +86-1732798182386Fang Tian (方田), judge of Xuanwu District Court: +86-25-83185115Chen Lifang (陈丽芳), prosecutor of Xuanwu District Procuratorate

(More perpetrators’ contact information is available in the original Chinese article.)