27 Falun Gong Practitioners Tried in One Day for Their Faith
(Minghui.org) More than 160 residents in Nanyang City, Henan Province were arrested in August 2019 for upholding their faith in Falun Gong. Twenty-seven were tried by the Wancheng District Court on August 11, 2020. It is unclear whether they were tried jointly or separately.
The court didn’t allow the practitioners to hire lawyers, but appointed lawyers to represent and enter guilty pleas for them. At least four practitioners testified in their own defense and pleaded not guilty to wrongdoing for practicing Falun Gong, a mind-body spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
It’s reported that prosecutor Wang Feng recommended 5-14 years' prison sentences against the practitioners.
The mass arrests last year were preceded by intensive monitoring of local Falun Gong practitioners that started in April 2019. In July 2019, police officers and residential committee staffers visited the practitioners at home, collecting information about their ID and household registration. Most practitioners also had their photos taken.
Around 4 p.m. on August 29, 2019, all officers participating in the arrests gathered in one place and were ordered to turn off their cellphones. Around 10 p.m. that night, they took coordinated action to arrest the practitioners and ransack their homes. The arrests continued into midnight and expanded into the suburban areas of Nanyang. Over 160 practitioners were later confirmed to have been arrested.
For the 27 practitioners who appeared in court on August 11, 2020, eight of them had been released on bail in October 2019 and the remaining 19 have been detained at the Nanyang City Detention Center. Each of these practitioner was indicted on April 15, 2020 and had their cases submitted to the Wancheng District Court.
The eight practitioners on bail are:
Chen Tao, Ge Fengzhi, Fang Baojun, Liu Yuanzhen, Qin Zhiwei, Song Henglin, Liu Huixia, and Diao Gaichun.
The remaining nineteen practitioners are:
Zhao Peiyuan, Wang Wei, Liu Tianyu, Sun Tongren, Lai Guimin, Yang Fengdong, Pan Dongxing, Wang Xiaobi, Liang Zhaofang, Wen Jianhua, Tan Bo, Li Jierong, Li Xiaoling, Wang Zhiqing, Dong Ju’an, Wang Yinglin, Wang Qin, Wang Lianfeng, and Wang Jingduan.
At least 30 other practitioners have been confirmed by Minghui.org to be detained at the Nanyang City Detention Center, but their cases were handled by different courts. These practitioners are the following:
Han Lanying, Sun Haihong, Dang Changping, Kui Yingxiang, Tie Linfeng, He Ximei, Guan Minghui, Jia Jing’an, Su Longzhi, Wan Daling, Wei Jie, Liu Furong, Liu Yuanzhen, Cao Ailan, Yuan Xifeng, Zhang Qinge, Zhang Quanshu, Zhang Yulian, Su Meiyu, Gong Xingfeng, Zhou Xueyan, Wang Tiezhuang, Zhang Xibin, Gao Xiaomei, Chen Changrong, Hu Guoyun, Sui Xinsheng, Dang Xiuzhi, Song Hongqin, and Zhu Jixiang.
It was reported that some practitioners were tried by the Wolong District Court in May 2020, but further details remain to be investigated.