Authorities Set up Checkpoints to Prevent Public from Attending Falun Gong Trial
(Minghui.org) Holding a court hearing inside a detention center, placing three checkpoints outside, and mobilizing close to a hundred local government cadres to stand guard—These were just a few of the tactics authorities used to prevent the public from observing the trial of two Falun Gong practitioners at Naxi Detention Center in Luzhou City.
On November 17, Luzhou Intermediate People's Court held a second trial for Falun Gong practitioner Li Yanjun and Yang Taiying inside Naxi Detention Center. Besides court officials and three defense lawyers, only one family member was allowed inside the court during the trial.
However, tension was high and a lot was going on outside the detention center. A firetruck and over a dozen government vehicles were parked along the nearest street. Several police cars with cameras drove back and forth. Plainclothes police with cameras could be seen everywhere. Police in riot gear were stationed nearby.
Three checkpoints were set up on the street that led to the Naxi Detention Center in the early morning. The first one was at the gate of the detention center, guarded by court marshals. The second checkpoint was staffed by officers from Luzhou Police Department and the Domestic Security Unit.
The third checkpoint was set up at the intersection of the street that led to the detention center and a major road. Close to one hundred government cadres from every community of Luzhou, surrounding townships, counties, and even some villages were summoned to stand guard. Some came as far as Gulan County, a few hundred miles away.
As soon as anyone approached the intersection, plainclothes police, and the directors and secretaries of various community office and neighborhood committees surrounded the person asking for identification. If they recognized the individual, they would persuade the person to go back.
One woman was recognized by officials from Huayang Township. When she refused to talk to the officials, two officials from Huayang Township grabbed her by the arms and tried to force her into their car. When the woman resisted and left on her own, they followed her for a distance.
Another woman was picked up by her angry husband. Apparently, the officials phoned her husband when they could not convince her to turn back. Others were picked up by their children, or by people from their workplace.
Most who tried to attend the trial were family members of the two practitioners on trial and local Falun Gong practitioners who came to show their support.
Despite the authorities' attempt to turn away every person trying to enter the court, some Falun Gong practitioners remained outside throughout the trial. They patiently explained to the government cadres that the persecution against Falun Gong in general, as well as prohibiting citizens from attending public trials, were unlawful.
Upon hearing the practitioners' explanation, one officer from a community office said, “We are being sent here into the cold, and I cannot stand it anymore. Since it is a public trial, we all should go inside and listen to it. If this is truly 'rule of law', it would be good for you and good for us.”
However, Zhang Hua from Naxi “610 Office” became angry after seeing Falun Gong practitioners talking with government cadres. He yelled, “What are these community officers doing here? Don't let them talk! Get them away [from practitioners]!”
One passing motorist commented, “Defending Falun Gong's innocence is such an important matter. You ought to get the radio and television stations here to do a live broadcast. Let the public see what Falun Gong truly is and let them be the judge of good and evil. Only the evil is afraid of being seen.”
Inside the courtroom, three lawyers defended the two practitioners. One lawyer pointed out that the court proceeding is illegal in itself by keeping the public and family members from observing the trial.
The lawyers also pointed out that practicing Falun Gong is not against any Chinese law, and that possessing Falun Gong material is protected by freedom of speech. They asked for the charges of “undermining the enforcement of law” to be dropped.
Both practitioners pleaded not guilty and asked to be released unconditionally.
The court adjourned at 1 pm, without issuing a verdict.