(Minghui.org) Ms. Wang Lilin, a Falun Gong practitioner and English teacher in Shenzhen City, Guangdong Province, was arrested on May 25, 2016, by officers from the Nanzhen Police Station, Baoan District, Shenzhen City, because of her belief in Falun Gong. She was tried, sentenced to 18 months in jail, and fined 1,000 yuan on December 27, 2016, by the Baoan District Court.

Ms. Wang appealed her case, citing that freedom of belief is guaranteed by the Chinese constitution. Her sentence was withdrawn by the Shenzhen Intermediate Court, and her case was slated for retrial in March 2017 because her trial had not met the conditions of an open trial.

The open trial procedure requires notification of the trial date, profile, and location to all related parties at least three days before the trial. This procedure was not followed.

Retrial of Ms. Wang's Case

Ms. Wang was retried by the Baoan District Court on May 5, 2017. By 9:00 a.m. many officers were stationed outside the courthouse to prevent Ms. Wang's relatives and friends from attending the hearing. However, “volunteers” were allowed to enter the courtroom, which Ms. Wang's lawyer protested in court. After the trial, these “volunteers” were reportedly paid for their attendance.

Ms. Wang stated during the trial that it was not a crime to practice Falun Gong or to believe in Truthfulness-Benevolence-Forbearance, the main tenets of Falun Gong.

Ms. Wang's lawyer stated, “Isn't the essence of Chinese culture, Truthfulness-Benevolence-Forbearance? Isn't it good to follow such principles?”

Her lawyer said she was undeniably innocent and proceeded to describe her to the court. Ms. Wang, 40, was born in Weifang City, Shandong Province. She graduated from Harbin Architecture University, and went to Shenzhen to work in architecture, marketing, and English training. She was widely respected by her colleagues.

“Ms. Wang's adherence to Falun Gong is within the domain of religion,” said her lawyer. “Falun Gong can help one attain physical health and improve ones moral standards. None of these things cause harm to society. Ms. Wang has never belonged to any organization, nor was she used by any organization. What law or regulation has she broken? Therefore, the crime of using a cult to undermine the law hasn't been proved.”

He also said that since 2016, many Falun Gong practitioners' cases have been dismissed across the country. He argued that it would be appropriate to find Ms. Wang not guilty and release her.