China's Procuratorates Abuse Right to “Protest Primary Verdicts” to Extend Prison Sentences Against Falun Gong Practitioners
(Minghui.org) According to China's Criminal Procedure Law, after a judgment of first instance of a local people's court, the people's procuratorate at the same level may present a protest to the people's court at the next higher level if they believe that the judgment was erroneous.
The prosecutor's right to “protest” a judgment, however, has been abused in the Chinese Communist Party's suppression of Falun Gong, a mind-body practice based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
While no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong, many Falun Gong practitioners have been sentenced to prison for upholding their faith. Some of the sentenced face extended prison terms after the prosecutor's protest of the initial verdicts. Below are a few such examples.
Mr. Jiang Tao, Ms. Su Qingling, and Ms. Cao Guilan are Falun Gong practitioners in Yongning County, Ningxia Province. In April 2017, Yongning Court sentenced all of them to prison, with Mr. Jiang and Ms. Su each given 2 years and Ms. Cao 18 months. Mr. Jiang was also fined 3,000 yuan.
After Mr. Jiang and Ms. Su appealed to Yinchuan Intermediate Court, Yongning Procuratorate responded by presenting its own protest, claiming that the primary verdicts were too light. The higher court ruled in June 2017 to extend the terms of all three practitioners—two-year increase for Ms. Su, and one year increase for both Mr. Jiang and Ms. Cao.
Guizhou Woman Given Heavier Prison Term After the Procuratorate Backtracks on Its Own Sentencing Recommendation
Ms. He Hua, a resident in Guiyang City, Guizhou Province, was distributing New Year calendars containing Falun Gong information on December 1, 2017 when she was arrested and sent to Yunyan District Detention Center.
On April 16, 2018, the local Nanming Court sentenced Ms. He to six-month imprisonment with a fine of 2,000 yuan, based on the sentencing recommendation from Nanming Procuratorate.
Weeks later, on May 24, Nanming Procuratorate backtracked on its own recommendation and presented a protest against the six-month sentencing. Guiyang City Intermediate Court ruled on December 23, 2018 to sentence Ms. He to three years in prison.
Engineer's Prison Sentence Extended by 14 Months
Mr. Xie Yiqiang is an engineer in Helan County, Ningxia Province. He was arrested on September 4, 2016 after being reported for talking to people about Falun Gong. Later on he was kept at Yinchuan Detention Center and an arrest warrant was issued.
Following a hearing at Helan Court in February 2017, Mr. Xie was sentenced in April 2017 to two years and four months with a fine of 5,000 yuan. As Mr. Xie appealed for his innocence, Helan Procuratorate presented a protest. In August 2017, Mr. Xie’s family received an updated verdict. His term was extended to three years and six months, and the fine was increased to 6,000 yuan.
Designer Gets Six More Months After Prosecutor's Protest
Mr. Qiao Jianjun was a designer at Sinopec, the China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation in Qingdao City, Shandong Province. Because of distributing Falun Gong related materials, he was arrested by police in Wenshui County of Luliang City on July 15, 2012.
Luliang Court sentenced him to three years and six months in November 2012.
Under instructions from Luliang Political and Legal Affairs Committee (PLAC) and Luliang 610 Office, Wenshui Procuratorate presented a protest and demanded a heavier term for Mr. Qiao.
Luliang Intermediate Court held a hearing in May 2013 and overturned the primary verdict. It ordered Wenshui Court to have a retrial, which resulted in Mr. Qiao being given four-year imprisonment in January 2014.