(Minghui.org) Two of our local Falun Gong practitioners have been tried in court so far this year. Their families each hired human rights lawyers to represent them. But to our disappointment, all three lawyers didn’t make strong arguments to the court about the illegality of the persecution.
As I was involved in the entire process, I would like to share some of my observations and understandings about what we can do to improve the legal representation of practitioners.
First, due to the Chinese Communist Party’s suppression of human rights lawyers, many of them face losing their professional licenses if they take on Falun Gong cases. Some lawyers have been arrested and sent to jail for representing Falun Gong practitioners. As a result, they feel tremendous pressure.
Secondly, many practitioners approach the very few lawyers who are willing to accept Falun Gong cases, which causes the lawyers to travel around the country to attend practitioners’ hearings. Because of their limited time, they can’t thoroughly study each practitioner’s case, so their defense statements are often templated, and not customized to the circumstances.
Thirdly, I noticed that some practitioners or their families still have the notion that they have better chance of success if they hire a lawyer with strong professional skills.
My understanding about hiring lawyers is that they are helping us clarify the facts and expose the persecution. Based on my own experience, we could actually do a good job stating the facts about Falun Gong ourselves, as friends can represent defendants in court as “non-lawyer defenders” in China.
On the Gongyi Forum, a platform for practitioners to share experiences in taking legal actions to counteract the persecution, there is extensive information about how to proceed at every stage of prosecution. As long as we carefully study the information, we can also do the job well without hiring a lawyer.
Additionally, if we represent fellow practitioners, we not only gain more experience in rescuing them from being jailed and lifting the burden from the human rights lawyers, we also save some costs for the practitioners’ families.
When we hire lawyers, the process of finding one provides us with the opportunity to talk to them about Falun Gong and about the persecution, likely expanding the selection of lawyers we can work with. When a lawyer truly understands the facts, he is very often willing to lower the legal fees as well. Therefore we should focus on finding local lawyers and take the lead in preventing practitioners from being imprisoned.
We don’t need to focus too much on which lawyer is more capable. We can consider hiring any lawyer who agrees to enter a not guilty plea for a practitioner. We need to keep in frequent communication with the lawyer, letting him know our expectations, but not becoming dependent on him.
Editor’s note: This article only represents the author’s understanding in their current cultivation state meant for sharing among practitioners so that we can “Compare in studying, compare in cultivating...” (“Solid Cultivation,” Hong Yin)
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