(Minghui.org) A married couple in Daqing City, Heilongjiang Province stood trial in Liaoning Province on March 5, 2021, after they were arrested there a year ago for practicing Falun Gong, a spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999. Their lawyers entered not guilty plea for them and they also testified in their own defense.


Mr. Bai Yufu, a former director of the Daqing Petroleum Administration in his 60s, and his wife Ms. Zhang Lixin, were targeted in a mass arrest in Daqing on November 9, 2018. While Mr. Bai was released on bail the next day, Ms. Zhang was kept in custody for two weeks.

The couple decided to live away from home in May 2019 after Mr. Bai was notified by the police that he was facing a hearing soon for practicing Falun Gong. 

The police found them at Ms. Zhang’s sister’s home in Zhangwu County, Liaoning Province (about 360 miles from Daqing) and arrested them on December 2, 2019. The couple’s Falun Gong books, computer, cellphone, 1,000 yuan in cash, and other personal belongings were confiscated. 

Mr. Bai was held at the Zhangwu County Detention Center and Ms. Zhang was kept at the Heituozi Detention Center in Fuxin City. The police in Zhangwu County later submitted their case to the Zhangwu County Procuratorate, which returned it to the police three times for insufficient evidence before indicting the couple. 

During the couple’s detention, the authorities only allowed their lawyers to review their case documents, but not visit them. 

Ms. Zhang’s lawyer was allowed to talk to her prior to the hearing. She told the lawyer that she was having back pain. The lawyer encouraged her and said he would try his best to seek justice for her.

Court Hearing

Both Mr. Bai and Ms. Zhang attended the hearing via video conference at the detention centers. They were handcuffed in the process and two guards stood next to each of them to watch them. They could only hear the audio from the court, but couldn’t see the video. When the guards told Ms. Zhang that both her daughter and grandson were present in the courtroom, she appeared to be encouraged.

The prosecutor listed the Falun Gong books and banners confiscated from the couple’s residence as prosecution evidence against them. Mr. Bai denied that he violated any law in having the materials, which are his personal belongings and didn’t cause harm to anyone.

The prosecutor next accused him of being a repeat offender, as he has been given two years of forced labor before for practicing Falun Gong. Mr. Bai’s lawyer argued that the labor camp system has already been abolished in China, which only shows that the persecution against his client was illegal. 

The prosecutor also showed dozens of photos as evidence. But none of the photos had the police officers’ signatures or official seal. The lawyers argued that without the proper signatures, they couldn’t confirm whether the photos have gone through proper authentication process before becoming official prosecution evidence.

The prosecutor also claimed that he had screenshots of several videos, but failed to show those in court. 

When the prosecutor was unable to present any solid evidence against the couple, one police officer suddenly showed up with an unsealed bag, which he claimed to be evidence confiscated from the couple. 

Mr. Bai’s lawyer questioned the police, “Where did you get the bag? It’s still unsealed, how can you use that as official evidence in court?” The prosecutor remained silent. 

Ms. Zhang’s lawyer also entered a not guilty plea for her. He said that Ms. Zhang was merely practicing Falun Gong to improve her health and she didn’t obstruct the enforcement of any law, nor caused any harm to anyone. Ms. Zhang also testified in her own defense. 

Despite the lack of evidence of any crime, the prosecutor recommended sentencing Mr. Bai to 4-5 years and Ms. Zhang to 1-3 years at the end of the hearing. 

Now the couple are awaiting their verdicts at the detention centers.

Related reports:

Five Falun Gong Practitioners Face Further Prosecution for Their Faith, Three Forced to Live Away from Home

119 Falun Gong Practitioners Arrested in Two Heilongjiang Province Cities in One Day

Chinese version available

Category: Accounts of Persecution