(Minghui.org) Over one hundred armed police guarded a courthouse in Nanjing City on May 31 as six local residents, all women, were tried for refusing to renounce Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime.
The supposedly “open” trials were closed to the public. Many Falun Gong practitioners were arrested as they tried to enter the courthouse to show their support. The exact number of arrested practitioners remains to be investigated.
About 20 other practitioners had already been arrested on May 13, the original court date for these six Nanjing women. The authorities postponed the trials and threatened to arrest anyone who dared to show up at the courthouse.
The defendants were tried in two hearings, with Ms. Ji Jianxia, Ms. Xiong Guizhen, Ms. Zhang Chaomei, and Ms. Pan Hanyu in one group, and Ms. Wang Huilan and Ms. Yue Jinlan another group.
Several human rights lawyers defended the six practitioners’ constitutional right to freedom of belief. The lawyers emphasized that the persecution of Falun Gong is illegal from the onset as there has never been any law that criminalizes the practice.
The judge who oversaw both trials at Xuanwu District Court adjourned the hearings without issuing a verdict. The six women have remained detained since their arrest in August 2015.
Related Report: Ten Women Who Practice Falun Dafa Face Illegal Trial in Nanjing