Man in His 70s Faces Trial for Sending Text Messages about His Faith
(Minghui.org) A Maoming City, Guangdong Province resident in his 70s is facing trial for raising awareness about his faith in Falun Gong, an ancient spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Mr. Zhou Huajian was arrested on March 26, 2020, after being caught by the police for sending text messages to people about Falun Gong. Nearly 30 officers ransacked his home and confiscated his Falun Gong books, informational materials, computer, printer, as well 9,000 yuan in cash. His electric bicycle was also impounded.
The police put Mr. Zhou on criminal detention the next day and his arrest was approved by the Maonan District Procuratorate a month later, on April 26.
Mr. Zhou’s lawyer visited him at the Maoming City No.1 Detention Center on May 8, 2020 and was told that he'd lost a significant amount of weight after one month of detention. In the afternoon, the lawyer applied for bail for Mr. Zhou, but his request was rejected by the police.
When Mr. Zhou’s lawyer went to the Maonan Procuratorate on July 23, 2020, he was told that Mr. Zhou has been indicted and his case forwarded to the Maonan District Court. He was charged with “sending text messages about Falun Gong” and “undermining law enforcement.”
Mr. Zhou’s lawyer went to the detention center to visit him on August 7, 2020, but was stopped at the gate by security and ordered to provide a hard copy of his recent travel history to show that he hadn't been to any coronavirus hotspots. The lawyer argued that the app “Health Code” on his cellphone already showed his clean health record and he demanded that security provide more details about the legal basis of the hard-copy document request. Unable to cite any valid policy, the guard at security finally allowed the lawyer to enter the detention center. By then, forty minutes had already passed.
Inside the detention center, another staff member asked the lawyer to provide documentation of two negative nucleic acid tests in the past seven days, before allowing his visit. The lawyer said, “When I went to the detention center in Beijing (a coronavirus hotspot), they only demanded to see the ‘Health Code’ app. Your region isn’t a hotspot and I’m not aware of any recent policy about the documentation of the nucleic acid tests.”
The detention center staff couldn’t provide any documentation for their nucleic acid test mandate, yet they still refused to allow the lawyer to meet with Mr. Zhou.
The lawyer then filed a complaint with the prosecutor based at the detention center. The prosecutor said he would look into the matter.
Given Mr. Zhou’s age, his family is very worried about his health the longer he is held in detention.