(Minghui.org) A mother and daughter were arrested in April 2014 for their shared faith in Falun Gong. Both of them were later sentenced to prison and saw their appeals turned down. Despite having served the terms, they are continuing their efforts to seek justice by filing a motion to reconsider their case with the high court. Their case has been accepted.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Arrest and Sentence

Ms. Ma Ling, 64, is retired from Yunnan University Library. Her daughter Ms. Zhang Ji, 36, was a staff member of the Experimental School of Dianchi Tourist Resort.

They were having dinner at a friend’s home on April 19, 2014, when plainclothes officers broke in and arrested them. None of the officers showed their IDs. It was later confirmed that they were from the Shilin County Police Department. The mother and daughter were taken back to their residence in nearby Kunming City, Yunnan Province, overnight and held in Hongshan Police Station.

The police ransacked Ms. Zhang’s home the next day. They refused to provide a list of confiscated items or verify the items with Ms. Zhang.

After Ms. Zhang and her mother were transferred to the Kunming City Detention Center, the Wuhua District Domestic Security Office and detention center guards prevented their lawyers from visiting them.

Despite knowing that they already had lawyers, the Wuhua District Court still appointed two lawyers to represent them. The mother and daughter refused to accept the court-appointed lawyers during the hearing on October 10, 2014, because the lawyers had been instructed to enter a guilty plea for them. The hearing was then adjourned.

The pair’s own lawyers attended their second hearing on November 28, 2014, and pled not guilty on their behalf. Ms. Ma and Ms. Zhang also testified in their own defense and said they didn’t violate any law and should be acquitted.

The judge sentenced Ms. Ma to four years and Ms. Zhang to three and a half years in December 2014. The Yunnan Province Social Security Bureau has since suspended Ms. Ma’s pension and Ms. Zhang was fired by her employer.

Motion to Reconsider the Case Denied by the Intermediate Court

On May 29, 2015, while still in the Kunming City Detention Center, Ms. Ma and Ms. Zhang were notified by the Kunming City Intermediate Court that their appeals had been denied. They then prepared a motion to have their case reconsidered and submitted it to the detention center guards.

Ten days later, on June 9, they were transferred to the Yunnan Province No.2 Women’s Prison. Not knowing if the detention center guards had submitted their motion or if the court had ever responded, they prepared additional copies of their motion, which the guards at the prison refused to deliver.

Mother and daughter were placed under strict management and monitored by the inmates around the clock. They were forced to sit on a small stool for 13 hours a day, every day, without moving or talking. Their restroom use was also restricted.

Ms. Ma suffered high blood pressure and swelling in her legs from the long-term sitting. The guards forced her to take blood pressure pills but still made her sit.

Responding to Ms. Ma and Ms. Zhang’s repeated requests, the prison finally filed their motion to have their case reconsidered with the intermediate court on October 8, 2015.

Ms. Zhang received a response from the intermediate court on August 16, 2016, that her motion was denied, claiming that her case wasn’t qualified for a retrial. It’s not clear if the higher court ever responded to Ms. Ma.

Continued Efforts to Seek Justice

Following their release from prison, Ms. Ma and Ms. Zhang continued their efforts to seek justice. They filed a motion to reconsider their case with the Yunnan Province High Court in January 2020, while copying the intermediate court and the first instance court.

They demanded that the high court acquit them and order the police to return all their confiscated personal belongings. They also sought to hold all the officials involved accountable for wrongfully sentencing them.

Because none of the courts responded, they filed additional motions with the supervisory offices of the courts, the Kunming City Procuratorate and the online complaint platform under the Supreme People’s Procuratorate.

On November 7, 2020, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate website sent them a message, saying that a preliminary examination by the Kunming City Procuratorate indicated that their case met the conditions for acceptance. They were asked to provide copies of their verdicts and told they could check their case status online. They mailed all the required documents, yet the case status remained unchanged.

On February 21, 2021, the Yunnan Province Procuratorate mailed them a letter, saying it refused to accept their motion but was transferring it to the Kunming City Procuratorate.

Ms. Ma and Ms. Zhang later found out that the Kunming City Procuratorate had ruled on March 9, 2021, that the motion and verdicts they submitted were illegal. The procuratorate declined to review the motion and closed the case. However, neither Ms. Ma nor Ms. Zhang was ever notified, and they didn’t find out about the ruling until months later.

The Kunming City Intermediate Court called the pair on March 2, 2021, saying that they had received their motion, but they didn’t have the jurisdiction to change the verdicts that had been served. They urged them to contact the agency with the authority to change the ruling, without specifying which agency that was.

Never having received a response from the high court, the mother and daughter went there on May 6, 2021, to inquire about their case, over a year since they originally submitted it.

The receptionist took their documents and said he had to ask for instructions from his supervisor as to whether they could accept the case.

Five months later in October, they were called and told that their case had been accepted on May 27 and assigned to judge Nan Qing. They called Nan, who said he was reviewing their case and would likely make a decision soon.

It’s not clear if the high court has yet ruled on the issue.

Perpetrators’ contact information:
Hou Jianjun (侯建军), president of Yunnan Province High Court: +86-871-64095000
Nan Qing (南青), judge of Yunnan Province High Court: +86-871-64095763Dong Guoquan (董国权), president of Kunming City Intermediate Court: +86-871-64096501Xu Jianbin (徐建斌), presiding judge of Kunming City Intermediate CourtSong Jie (宋杰), presiding judge of Wuhua District CourtXue Bing (薛冰), prosecutor of Wuhua District Procuratorate

(More perpetrators’ contact information is available in the original Chinese article.)