(Minghui.org) A district court in Qingdao, Shandong Province, is continuing to prosecute local practitioners arrested last year for refusing to renounce their faith. Three are known to have been sentenced to prison, while three more had their second hearing in July and are waiting for the verdict.
Police in Qingdao arrested more than 25 Falun Gong practitioners over the course of a few days in mid-October as a part of their effort to “maintain stability” prior to the Chinese government's 19th National Congress in 2017.
The head of Hexi Police Station told Ms. Jiang Xiaoli's daughter while arresting her and her mother that the arrests were being carried out jointly by the Domestic Security Division, Shibei District Police Department, and Hexi Police Station. The police had been monitoring Ms. Jiang for nearly a year and waited for the day when she was hosting a gathering of local practitioners to act.
In addition to the mother and daughter, Ms. Lin Xueqing, Ms. Pang Yanchun, and Ms. Peng Zuoyu were also arrested at Ms. Jiang's home.
All of the other practitioners were arrested at different gatherings.
Most of those arrested were in their 60s or 70s. Some experienced health problems after the arrests. Even though they did not meet the physical requirements for detention, the police still refused to release them.
In one case, Ms. Su Guihua's blood pressure reached a dangerously high level after her arrest but the police still forced the detention center to accept her.
Although the arrested practitioners were from several districts in Qingdao, the police transferred all of their cases to the Shibei District, and it is up to the procuratorate and the court in Shibei District to prosecute.
It has been confirmed that Ms. Li Jintang, Ms. Hou Baoqin, Ms. Sun Guiqin, Mr. Liu Wenhao, Ms. Pang Yanchun, Mr. Zhu Meng, Ms. Zang Yongmei, Ms. Sun Dongxia, Ms. Peng Zuoyu, and Mr. Zhuang have now been released.
The remaining practitioners are at different stages in being prosecuted.
One of the arrested practitioners, a 63-year-old retired colonel, Mr. Gong Piqi, was sentenced to seven and a half years and fined 20,000 yuan on July 20, 2018. He is suffering from high blood pressure and a heart problem while in detention. He has appealed his sentence.
Another couple, Mr. Wang Mingde and Ms. Yin Delan, were both sentenced to three years. They have also appealed their sentences to the Qingdao Intermediate Court. The details of their trials and sentencing remain to be investigated.
Ms. Su Guihua, Ms. Yu Xianrong, and Ms. Lu Yonghua had their second trial in a makeshift courtroom in Qingdao No.2 Detention Center on July 18, 2018.
Ms. Su kept shaking due to high blood pressure. She informed the judge that she wasn't physically able to stand trial, but the judge still signaled for the proceedings to continue.
Worried about his mother, Ms. Su's son asked the judge to get a doctor to check on her. The judge then accused him of interfering with the hearing and told the bailiff to remove him from the room.
By noon, Ms. Su was no longer able to stand and had to lie down. The judge finally called for a one-hour recess.
After the proceedings resumed that afternoon, Ms. Su was still very shaky and so unwell that she couldn't hear the judge's questions.
When Ms. Su's lawyer questioned the judge and prosecutor about the police violating procedures in arresting his client and the lack of legal basis for the charges, the judge kept interrupting him in an attempt to get the hearing over with quickly.
While the defense lawyer was talking, the prosecutor was busy packing his bag and didn't respond to the lawyer's questions.
The judge wrapped up the hearing before 4 p.m. without announcing the verdict.
In addition to the above-mentioned practitioners, the status of three other practitioners remains unclear. They are Ms. Song Guixiang, Ms. Lin Xueqing, and Mr. Xu Haitao.