Shandong Woman Appeals Unjust Prison Sentence
(Minghui.org) “I suffered from migraines and asthma since a very young age. The pain was so intense that I had trouble focusing on my studies and I eventually dropped out of high school. I managed to have two boys after I got married, only to see my older son suffer from a rare disease.
He often lost consciousness with no apparent trigger, and the doctors couldn't diagnose his condition. My husband couldn't deal with taking care of our sick son, and he divorced me when the kids were still little.
One day my son passed out again while we were walking on the street. I had a gut feeling he'd die this time and cried to Heaven for help, 'Please save my son! I'm willing to trade my life for the health of my son!' A passer-by suggested I try Falun Gong. Fortunately, my son finally regained consciousness.
I brought my son to a Falun Gong exercise site the very next day. As soon as the exercise music began to play, he fainted again. I was extremely worried, but the veteran practitioners there assured me he'd be fine. My son woke up with a rosy face two hours later when we'd finished the exercises.
I couldn't believe my eyes – Falun Gong saved my son! He, a boy who lagged behind in developmental milestones, has since grown into a healthy young man. I also regained my own health after I began practicing Falun Gong.
Having benefited so much from Falun Gong, I am determined to tell people that it is wrong for the Chinese Communist Party to persecute such a wonderful practice – a practice that has transformed my life.
However, I was arrested and sentenced to more than three years simply for pasting self-adhesive stickers with messages exposing the persecution of Falun Gong.
How can I be punished for following my conscience to speak the truth – that Falun Gong is a practice that does no harm to society?”
Above is an excerpt from Ms. Dong Aifeng's (董爱凤) letter of appeal, requesting a reversal of her illegal sentence by the Laiyang Court. The court had sentenced her to three years and three months on December 18, 2014, following a November 25 trial.
Ms. Dong was arrested on August 21, 2014 for putting up stickers with messages reading “Falun Dafa is Good.” The police confiscated more than 2,600 yuan in cash from her, but they never returned the money to her or her family.
Only three of the eight family members who went to support Ms. Dong at the November trial were allowed into the courtroom. Those who saw her during the trial said that she had become extremely thin after three months of detention.
During the trial, Ms. Dong's lawyer pointed out that freedom of belief is a universal human right, protected by the current Chinese Constitution. He emphasized that Ms. Dong's belief in Falun Gong is not against any law.
The lawyer also reminded the judge that Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution declares that Chinese citizens have freedom of expression. As a practitioner of Falun Gong, Ms. Dong has the right to express her belief and her feelings about the belief through various methods, including putting up stickers in public places.
The lawyer concluded that the charge of “pasting stickers to expose the persecution of Falun Gong is a criminal action” actually violates the Chinese Constitution, which guarantees citizens' right to freedom of expression. He asked that his client be acquitted.
The judge however still sentenced Ms. Dong to prison, despite her innocence.
Ms. Dong soon submitted her letter of appeal. She explained, “We appeal because we hope that the higher court can help uphold justice for me and several other practitioners who were also sentenced to prison.”
In the letter she shared that Falun Gong not only cured her and her son's diseases, but also turned her into a more considerate person who now takes fame and profit lightly.
In her own words, “I took good care of my elderly father until he passed away. He left his house to me and my two sons, but my sisters sold the house without giving me a penny. I, however, did not argue with them at all. I remain the caregiver of my 93-year-old mother.”
Finally, Ms. Dong warned the judge and the prosecutor in her appeal letter, “According to the Civil Service Law, those civil servants who break the law must take full responsibility for their actions. Those who worked on my case, do you think the sentence can pass future inspection? History will soon turn this page, and more and more officials who initiated the persecution against Falun Gong are falling from power. How can you bear the responsibility of sentencing innocent Falun Gong practitioners to prison?”