Lawyers Defend Falun Gong Practitioner-Clients, Urge Court to Reverse Course
(Minghui.org) Lulong County Court in Hebei Province recently tried two more residents for practicing Falun Gong, a spiritual practice being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime. Just two months ago, the same court sentenced Mr. Li Kai, to three and a half years for refusing to give up his belief.
Upon learning of Mr. Li Kai's unjust sentence, both Mr. Dai Zhongmin and Ms. Zheng Yanhua were determined to fight for their constitutional right to freedom of belief, and to talk publicly about Falun Gong and the persecution.
Mr. Dai's lawyer, Mr. Dong Qianyong, and Ms. Zheng's lawyer, Mr. Tang Tianhao, both entered not guilty pleas for their clients and rebutted the prosecutor's charge that Mr. Dai and Ms. Zheng had “illegal possession of Falun Gong materials.”
The two lawyers emphasized that there has never been any law that criminalizes Falun Gong and the persecution has been illegal from the onset. They also pointed out that their clients' possession of Falun Gong materials posed no threat or danger to society at large or any individual person.
The two defendants and their lawyers urged the court to reverse course.
Lawyer Met with Roadblocks in Quest to Represent Client
It took Mr. Dong considerable effort to be able to represent Mr. Dai during the trial on November 27, 2015.
Mr. Dai was given a court-appointed lawyer after he told the court that he would defend himself. Dai didn't know at the time that his brother had hired Mr. Dong to defend him. When he found out about Mr. Dong, Dai requested a change of legal counsel. The court, however, used various excuses to try to block the change.
When Mr. Dong went to the Lulong County Court on November 25, he was shocked to learn that the trial would be held the very next day, as his client's family had never received any notice about the trial date.
The court officials declined to grant Mr. Dong access to Mr. Dai's case files, citing the lack of Mr. Dai's signature on the required paperwork to switch lawyers.
The detention center had Mr. Dong wait for hours before finally allowing him to see Mr. Dai to obtain his signature.
The court still refused to allow Mr. Dong to review his client's file when he rushed back to the courthouse. Undeterred, he went to talk to higher officials of the court to fight for his right as a defense lawyer. He eventually got to read Mr. Dong's file and got the court to agree to reset the trial to one day later on November 27.
Ms. Zheng Yanhua, a retired teacher, was reported to the authorities after a local official stopped by her home and saw the Falun Gong banners she had. This happened on July 2, 2015. The local police came to her home later and arrested her without any paperwork. Her daughter-in-law was also taken into custody, but was released later in the night. The police ransacked the home while nobody was there.
Mr. Dai Zhongmin is an employee of the Qinhuadao Starry Special Vehicle Co. LTD. The local police came to his company and arrested him without any paperwork on July 3. Later, his home was ransacked and more than 3,800 yuan in cash was confiscated along with Falun Gong materials and other personal belongings. His family was not given a list of the confiscated items.