(Minghui.org) A total of ten women from Nanjing city were arrested and sentenced to prison for “using a cult to undermine law enforcement,” a standard pretext used by the Chinese communist regime in its attempt to frame and imprison Falun Gong practitioners.
Their defense lawyers entered not guilty pleas for them. The lawyers argued that no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong, and their clients should never have been prosecuted for exercising their constitutional rights to freedom of belief.
Moreover, there was no prosecution evidence that showed the defendants' practice of Falun Gong ever caused harm to anyone, let alone undermined law enforcement.
The practitioners filed an appeal, but the local intermediate court upheld the original verdicts without holding open hearings or informing their lawyers.
These ten practitioners are: Ms. Xie Lihua, Ms. Tang Jingmei, Ms. Ji Jianxia, Ms. Xiong Guizhen, Ms. Zhang Chaomei, Ms. Pan Hanyu, Ms. Pan Xiaoqin ,Ms. Pan Qingning, Ms. Wang Huilan, and Ms. Yue Jinlan.
Four practitioners, Ms. Xie Lihua, Ms. Tang Jingmei, Ms. Pan Xiaoqin and Ms. Pan Qingning, were arrested on March 23, 2015 and were officially detained the next day. Their arrest was approved on May 1, 2015 and they were put on trial on September 17, 2015.
During this period, Ms. Xie Lihua and Ms. Tang Jingmei were detained at Nanjing Detention Center while the other two practitioners were released on bail for health problems.
Five practitioners, Ms. Ji Jianxia, Ms. Xiong Guizhen, Ms. Zhang Chaomei, Ms. Wang Huilan and Ms. Yue Jinlan, were arrested on August 14, 2015 and officially detained the next day.
Two days later, on August 17, 2015, another practitioner, Ms. Pan Hanyu, was arrested and detained. Their arrests were approved on September 9, 2015 and the practitioners were put on trial on September 17, 2016.
From the arrest to trial, four of the practitioners—Ms. Ji Jianxia, Ms. Xiong Guizhen, Ms. Zhang Chaomei, and Ms. Pan Hanyu—were detained at Nanjing Detention Center, while the other two practitioners were released on bail due to health issues.
The first four practitioners' trial was scheduled on September 17, 2015. The practitioners had hired lawyers to defend them. However, their lawyers received phone calls from the police department, threatening them not to defend the practitioners. The lawyers still pleaded not guilty for the practitioners at the court.
On the day of the trial, the court was filled with staff from the 610 Office and police department.
The verdict was handed down on October 9, 2016. Ms. Xie Lihua was sentenced to three years and fined 30,000 yuan; Ms. Tang Jingmei was sentenced to two years and fined 20,000 yuan; Ms. Pan Xiaoqin was sentenced to two years and fined 20,000 yuan; and Ms. Pan Qingning was sentenced to one year and fined 10,000 yuan.
The trial for the other six practitioners took place on May 31, 2016. Two days before the trial, local practitioners were harassed and monitored. Some practitioners had their freedom of movements restricted.
The police also took some local practitioners to the police station for fingerprinting and had their blood drawn.
The sisters of one of the practitioners, Ms. Xiong Guizhen, were forcibly taken to police station for fingerprinting and had their blood drawn. They will be arrested if they refuse to comply.
The verdict for the six practitioners was passed on December 7, 2016. Ms. Ji Jianxia was sentenced to four years and fined 40,000 yuan; Ms. Pan Hanyu was sentenced to three years and fined 30,000 yuan; Ms. Xiong Guizhen was sentenced to three years and fined 30,000 yuan; Ms. Zhang Chaomei was sentenced to three years and fined 30,000 yuan; Ms. Wang Huilan was sentenced to one and a half years and fined 10,000 yuan; and Ms. Yue Jinlan was sentenced to 1 year 3 months and fined 10,000 yuan.
The practitioners appealed, but the court upheld the original verdicts and sent them to prison without informing their lawyers.
Before their latest arrests, all of the practitioners had been arrested numerous times. Their homes were also ransacked.
Ms. Xie Lihua, 54, was sent to labor camp four times and her house was ransacked numerous times. Her husband left home as he could not endure the stress; her young daughter was left in Ms. Xie's mother's care. While detained in the labor camp, Ms. Xie was shocked with electric batons and deprived of sleep and use of the toilet. She was also force-fed with highly concentrated salt water.
Ms. Tang Jingmei, 65, previously suffered from liver ascites and was cured after practicing Falun Gong. She was sentenced to four years of imprisonment in 2002 and twice to labor camp for one year in both 2008 and 2010. Her liver ascites recurred due to the persecution, but she recovered after doing the exercises upon returning home.
Retiree Ms. Pan Xiaoqin, 70, was arrested eight times and sent to brainwashing sessions five times. Police shocked her sensitive areas with high voltage electric batons while in prison. She lost her retirement pension due to the persecution.
Ms. Pan Qingning, 72, was sent to labor camp for one year in 2002 and detained twice. She was again arrested and had her home ransacked on March 23, 2015 and was detailed for nearly 40 days.
Ms. Ji Jianxia, in her 50s, was sent to labor camp three times. At the labor camp, she was deprived of sleep and toilet use, and had her head smashed with a small stool. A rag dipped in urine was stuffed into her mouth, and her private areas were shocked with electric batons when she refused to write the guarantee statements.
Ms. Xiong Guizhen, in her 50s, was arrested and her home ransacked in February 2011. She was released one month later after her family demanded her release. She was arrested again on May 19, 2011 and sentenced to one year in a labor camp in July.
Ms. Yue Jinlan, in her 50s, was sentenced to five years of imprisonment in 2001. She was arrested again at the end of April 2010, and sent to forced labor camp for one year. She was later released on medical parole. She was forced to write guarantee statements after being deceived by the police, told that she would get money back from the labor camp that her family had deposited for her living expenses. Her fifth arrest happened in August 2015, but she was released on bail due to health problems.
Retiree Ms. Wang Huilan, 54, was sent numerous times to the brainwashing center and labor camp, and was often harassed and stalked by the police. In the summer of 2015, she was arrested and brutally beaten. Police took her to the Nanjing Detention Center, but the detention center authorities refused to admit her for health reasons.
Ms. Pan Hanyu was arrested five times and sent for brainwashing sessions numerous times. At the labor camp in 2011, she was stripped of all her clothes and shocked with five electric batons. She was also forced to remove her socks and shoes, and made to stand on the electric batons.
Ms. Zhang Chaomei, 54, was sent to forced labor camp twice and was once released on medical parole.