(Minghui.org) Thirteen Nong’an County, Jilin Province residents were sentenced for their faith in Falun Gong. Their appeals have all been rejected in late November 2021. One of them suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and remains in a coma at the time of writing.
Below is the sentencing detail:
Ms. Zhang Xiuzhi, 64, was sentenced to 10 years.Ms. Gao Xiaoqi, 56, was sentenced to 9 years.Ms. Cai Yuying, 66, was sentenced to 9 years.Mr. Feng Liqi was sentenced to 9 years.Ms. Wu Dongmei, 50, was sentenced to 7 years.Ms. Yu Jiaoru (Ms. Cai’s daughter), 34, was sentenced to 6 years.Mr. Shan Weihe was sentenced to 6 years.Mr. Lu Xiangfu was sentenced to 6 years.Ms. Zhao Xiulan, 67, was sentenced to 5 years.Ms. Sun Xiuying, 68, was sentenced to 4 years.Mr. Zhang Jingyuan was sentenced to 2 years.Ms. Sun Fengxian, 65, was sentenced to 2 years.Ms. Dong Xiuhui was sentenced to 1.5 years.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
One Woman in Critical Condition
Ms. Sun Fengxian, 65, was arrested on July 15, 2020. She was sentenced to two years on July 26, 2021, and her appeal was turned down on November 29. She suffered a cerebral hemorrhage at Nong’an County Detention Center at 4:30 p.m. on December 3 and was taken to the hospital. The doctor operated on her with her family’s consent. The surgery lasted nearly 5 hours and the doctor said it was successful. Ms. Sun remains in a coma afterward and is being held in the intensive care unit.
Ms. Sun’s family suspects that it was the abuse in custody that had induced her condition. They also blamed the detention center for blocking her visitation in the few months before her medical emergency. They said that if the authorities had allowed them to visit her earlier, they’d have had a better idea of her physical and mental health and maybe the tragedy wouldn’t have happened.
Her family said the last time her lawyer visited her was on August 26, 2021. While the detention center demanded the lawyer be vaccinated against COVID-19, they later relented after the family complained to the Nong’an County government.
But when the lawyer requested to visit her again on October 9, after she appealed against the wrongful verdict, the detention center demanded an approval letter from his local justice bureau, as well as permission from the judge of the Changchun City Intermediate Court. The lawyer and her family filed several complaints against judge Zang Wancheng of the intermediate court for blocking the visitation but to no avail.
Arrests of 12 Other Practitioners
The 12 other practitioners were also arrested on the same day, July 15, 2020, as Ms. Sun, days before the 21st anniversary of the persecution of Falun Gong on July 20 and Party leader Xi Jinping’s scheduled visit to the region on July 23. Two other practitioners were also arrested on the same day, including Mr. Jiang Quande (Ms. Sun Xiuying’s husband), who passed away one month after being released in early August 2020, and Ms. Ren Yongping (Mr. Zhang Jingyuan ’s wife), who was released on March 4, 2021, after being cleared of prosecution.
At around 6 a.m., Ms. Gao Xiaoqi went to visit Ms. Zhao Xiulan, only to be arrested by the officers who were still ransacking Ms. Zhao’s home. The police then went to Ms. Gao’s home and ransacked her place. A large number of posters with information about Falun Gong, Falun Gong books, a photo of Falun Gong’s founder, and over 100,000 yuan in cash were confiscated. Ms. Gao’s mother, in her late 80s, was terrified by the raid.
The police appeared to be delighted to take the valuables from Ms. Gao. One of them said with a smile, “These are all good things!”
Ms. Gao was then taken to the local police station for interrogation. She was slapped in the face for not answering any questions.
Mr. Zhang was about to take his daughter to work at around 7 a.m. when they found that their front door’s keyhole was clogged with paper. As they were removing the paper, a group of officers broke in, held Mr. Zhang to the ground, and handcuffed him.
Ms. Wu Dongmei, 49, was arrested by plainclothes officers. Her arrest came only ten days after her husband, Mr. Zhao Dazhi, passed away. Her oldest daughter just graduated from college and is now left to take care of her two younger siblings.
The other practitioners arrested included Ms. Zhang Xiuzhi, Ms. Cai Yuying, her daughter Ms. Yu Jiaoru, Mr. Shan Weihe, Ms. Xiuying, Mr. Feng Liqi, Mr. Lu Xiangfu, and Ms. Dong Xiuhui.
Blatant Violation of the Law By the Judges of Both First and Second Instance Court
Prior to the practitioners’ first hearing by the Dehui City Court on April 9, 2021, judge Wang Rongfu blocked their lawyers and non-lawyer family defenders from reviewing the case documents or attending the hearing on the grounds that they failed to provide documents proving that they didn’t practice Falun Gong themselves.
He blurted out insulting and humiliating language while talking to the practitioners’ families, saying things like, “We have asked higher-level courts about it and this [not allowing lawyers to defend practitioners in court] is what I was told.” “Don’t talk with me about whether it is legal or not – this is how we do things. Let me tell you something: Falun Gong cases are special.” “No defense is no defense. Yes, we have violated the law, so what?! You can sue wherever you want.”
Judge Wang also failed to inform the practitioners themselves of the hearing three days ahead of time as required by law. The bailiffs went to the practitioners’ cells in the Nong’an County Detention Center on the morning of the hearing day, dragged them into the car, and took them to the court. Ms. Gao’s hair was pulled by the guards and she was beaten on her back, which still hurt weeks later. Ms. Yu’s arm became bruised after she was dragged by the guards. All practitioners were forced to wear protective gear, before being taken to court.
Judge Wang handed down the prison sentences against the practitioners on July 26, 2021. The practitioners’ families filed complaints against judge Wang with various agencies. They received a response from the Dehui Court on October 25, which cited a secret document to justify judge Wang’s deprivation of the defense lawyers’ representation of the practitioners in court, and his wrongful conviction of the practitioners. The response concluded that judge Wang had followed the law in meting out the guilty verdicts. The practitioners’ families strongly requested the publication of the secret document but to no avail.
In the meantime, all practitioners appealed the verdicts with the Changchun City Intermediate Court. Ms. Gao, Ms. Zhao and Ms. Sun Fengxian’s appeals were accepted on September 1 and judge Zang Wancheng was assigned to handle their cases.
Ms. Cai, Ms. Yu, Mr. Shan and Ms. Sun Xiuying’s appeals were accepted on September 9 and judge Fan Wenhao was assigned to handle their cases. The same judge was also in charge of Mr. Zhang’s appeal case, after it was accepted on September 13.
Another judge He Fu was assigned to handle Ms. Zhang, Mr. Lu and Mr. Feng’s appeal cases.
Details of Ms. Wu and Ms. Dong’s appeal cases aren’t clear.
When the practitioners’ family members and lawyers went to the Changchun City Procuratorate to review their case documents, the receptionist first said that they hadn’t been loaded into their system and later said that they hadn’t burned discs of the documents. The documents were later moved directly to the intermediate court, without ever being reviewed by the lawyers.
Similar to the first instance court, Zang Wancheng of the higher court also demanded the lawyers and family defenders submit documents showing they don’t practice Falun Gong. Zang also pressured the local post offices and forbade them from mailing any legal documents for the families, when he refused to accept the materials in person. He also instructed the detention center to block the lawyers from visiting the practitioners.
The higher court later upheld the practitioners’ original verdicts without ever informing their lawyers or families.
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