(Minghui.org) A married couple in Beijing and their 12-year-old daughter were arrested in January this year because of the couple’s faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999. Their young child with epilepsy was released hours later to her grandma, who has been struggling to take care of her.
The Haidian District Procuratorate indicted Ms. Zhen Miao, 40, and her husband, Mr. Zhang Shida, and submitted their cases in April to the Haidian District Court, which obstructed their defense lawyer from proceeding with their cases.
The couple has been in detention since the day of their arrest. Their family’s request for bail was denied.
Ms. Zhen and her family live in Haidian District. At around 11:00 p.m. on January 14, 2021, she heard pounding on her door with shouts of “Open the door! We will call a locksmith if not.” Fearing a possible relapse of her daughter’s epilepsy, she opened the door.
Six people barged in. One of them flashed his ID card quickly in front of Ms. Zhen before she could read it. Three others claimed to be staff members from the local residential committee. They ransacked Ms. Zhen’s home and confiscated Falun Gong books and other personal items without leaving a list of confiscated items.
One woman snatched Ms. Zhen’s car key from her, and two men took it and went to search her vehicle and took away some decorative items with the words “Falun Dafa is good.”
Meanwhile, police officers waiting at the entrance of Ms. Zhen’s apartment building seized her husband, Mr. Zhang Shida, who had just returned from work. They snatched his house keys and car keys, and searched his car for almost an hour.
Then the family of three were taken to the Qinghe Police Station. On the way to the police station, Ms. Zhen told the police about her daughter’s medical condition and requested to have the girl dropped off at her brother’s home. Not only did the police reject her request, but they also interrogated Ms. Zhen in front of her daughter throughout the night.
That same night, at around 1:00 a.m., another group of people raided the house of Ms. Zhen’s mother, Ms.Wang Chunping, 70, who also lives in Haidian District, and arrested her afterwards.
On the early morning of January 15, the police called Mr. Zhang’s mother, asking her to pick up her granddaughter, as otherwise the child would be sent to an orphanage. She came quickly even though she was busy taking care of her grandson at the time.
Mr. Zhang’s mother submitted a hospital diagnosis report of her granddaughter’s epilepsy to the Qinghe Police Station a few days later, as part of her application to get her son released on bail. The elderly woman soon learned that her son had been transferred to the Xiangshan Police Station. So she went there on January 25 and submitted an application but was denied.
Mr. Zhang’s lawyer also went to the Xiangshan Police Station on January 29 and handed in a legal opinion requesting that Mr. Zhang be released on bail. But the police rejected it on the spot on the grounds that his case was “serious.”
Mr. Zhang’s mother-in-law, Ms. Wang, was released on bail pending trial in early February due to her suffering swollen joints in the detention center. She had difficulty walking when her family picked her up.
The arrests of Ms. Zhen and Mr. Zhang were approved on February 8, and their cases were submitted to the Haidian District Procuratorate, which in turn forwarded the case to the Haidian District Court on April 21.
The Haidian District Court blocked the couple’s lawyer from proceeding with their cases. Judge Wang Chong, who presided over Mr. Zhang’s case, told him during the pre-trial meeting on June 17 that his lawyer was not allowed to defend him after deliberation of the collegial court, without giving a reason. Judge Wang appointed a lawyer for Mr. Zhang, but he refused the lawyer.
Mr. Zhang’s lawyer called Judge Wang and his office several times afterwards to inquire about why he was deprived of his right to defend Mr. Zhang, but did not get an answer.
Mr. Zhang and his wife have been detained in the Haidian District Detention Center for six months since April 21, when they were charged. Their lawyer has sued the Haidian District Court for detaining his clients beyond the legally permissible detention.
Mr. Zhang's mother and his mother-in-law's family also filed lawsuits against several police officers for the illegal arrests of Mr. Zhang, Ms. Zhen, and Ms. Wang. The family was subsequently retaliated against.
The police and staff from the local residential committee repeatedly harassed Ms. Wang. At the same time, they imposed surveillance of her family, with people constantly watching her outside her home.
In addition, the police coerced Mr. Zhang’s landlord to terminate his lease agreement. Mr. Zhang’s mother and daughter were forced to move out with three days’ notice.
Without the care of her parents, Mr. Zhang and Ms. Zhen’s daughter’s epilepsy often relapses. Her paternal grandmother had a hard time coping with the situation. Her maternal grandmother, Ms. Wang, wanted to lend a hand but the constant surveillance and harassment has made it impossible.