(Minghui.org) A Linyi City, Shandong Province resident was tried through a video conference on December 1, 2020 for her faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Ms. Mao Dejun’s lawyer entered a not-guilty plea for her. The lawyer testified against the police for breaking into his client’s home and ransacking it without any search warrant, and for failing to provide a list of confiscated items afterwards as required by law. He also argued that Ms. Mao has the freedom of belief to practice Falun Gong, and that she shouldn’t have been prosecuted for upholding her faith, which caused no harm to anyone, or to society at large.

Ms. Mao shared why she had to practice Falun Gong. She said she suffered a disease for nearly twenty years and had to receive a hysterectomy in the end. But the surgery didn’t help her much, as she remained very weak, and even fainted at work once. She later learned of Falun Gong’s health benefits and took up the practice. Her ailments soon healed, and she has been persistently practicing Falun Gong for the past 21 years, despite the persecution. She also strives to live by Falun Gong’s principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and become a good person.

Judge Wu Shufang stopped Ms. Mao and asked if she would continue practicing Falun Gong. Judge Wu also expressed her discontent for the lawyer entering a not-guilty plea for Ms. Mao. According to insiders, the judge was pressured by the local authorities over Ms. Mao’s case. The phone calls from overseas Falun Gong practitioners, urging her not to participate in the persecution also weighed on her mind.

Ms. Mao, a 66-year-old retired middle school physics teacher, was arrested on August 11, 2020 in a police sweep. Many of her personal belongings, worth of tens of thousands of yuan, were confiscated.

She was held in a metal cage at the Chengxi Police Station for four days, and transferred to the Linyi City Detention Center on August 14. The Linshu County Procuratorate indicted her on November 19 and she was tried by the Linshu County Court on December 1.