(Minghui.org) The authorities in Xichang City, Sichuan Province blocked a local resident from appealing a wrongful sentence for her faith in Falun Gong.

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

Ms. Luo Mingchun was arrested on August 12, 2019, and sentenced to four years with a 20,000-yuan fine on December 9, 2020. Five other Falun Gong practitioners and one of their spouses were sentenced to from six months to five years.

Appeal Blocked and Lawyer Obstructed 

Ms. Luo’s appeals lawyer submitted his Power of Attorney in early February 2021 to the intermediate court. He called the judge in charge of the case, Yang Hongwu, several times and requested to review Ms. Luo's case profile. Yang demanded that the lawyer be quarantined when traveling from out of town and also provide a certificate that he has been vaccinated against the coronavirus. 

The lawyer came to Xichang City on February 23. He went to the intermediate court first, only to be told that they haven’t received Ms. Luo’s appeal. 

The lawyer then visited Ms. Luo at the Xichang City Detention Center. She told him that she had submitted her appeal to the detention center guards on December 15, 2020, and asked them to mail it for her. Upon learning that the intermediate court never received her appeal, Ms. Luo went to the guards and asked about it. The guards told her that because she wrote “Falun Dafa is good; Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance is good” in her appeal, they wouldn’t submit it for her.

While the guards promised to submit the appeal for her if she removed that sentence, they returned it to Ms. Luo hours after she submitted it again in the afternoon, with the excuse that she wrote: “Falun Gong is not a cult” in her revised appeal. 

The lawyer obtained a copy of Ms. Luo’s appeal and returned it to the intermediate court the next day to submit it. However, the judge refused to accept the appeal or the lawyer’s Power of Attorney. 

The lawyer went to the intermediate court on February 25 again and tried to submit his defense script and other materials related to Ms. Luo’s appeal, only to be rejected again with the excuse that Ms. Luo didn’t file the appeal herself. 

Complaints Against the Detention Center and Courts

To seek justice for Ms. Luo, her family and lawyer have submitted complaints with Xichang City Procuratorate against the detention center, the trial court and the intermediate court for their violation of legal procedures in handling Ms. Luo’s case. 

They noted in the complaint that the bailiff of Xichang City Court beat Ms. Luo prior to the hearing, upon seeing that she was sitting with her legs crossed. The bailiff slapped her in the face, forcibly uncrossed her legs and kicked her feet, causing the toenails on her third and fourth toes of the left feet to completely break apart. 

During the hearing, the trial court judge blocked Ms. Luo’s friend, Mr. Cheng Hai, from representing her as a non-lawyer defender in court. 

While announcing Ms. Luo and another practitioner Ms. Zhao Jun’s verdicts on December 11, the court clerk refused to record that both women had requested to appeal the terms, with the excuse that they didn’t sign the verdicts. 

For the Xichang City Detention Center, the guards three times handcuffed Ms. Luo and hung her up by her wrists with her toes barely touching the ground, simply because she didn’t answer the roll call or wear the inmate’s uniform. The guards also withheld three copies of the appeal she had prepared and didn’t submit it to the intermediate court at her request. 

At the same time, the intermediate court refused to accept the appeal submitted by Ms. Luo’s appeals lawyer or exercise their due diligence in protecting Ms. Luo’s right to appeal.

Ms. Luo’s lawyer later confirmed that the intermediate court has accepted the appeal cases of four other practitioners sentenced with her and the judge has talked to them in person. But Ms. Luo’s appeal was effectively blocked.

Related reports:

Sichuan Woman Sentenced to Four Years, Suffers Hanging Torture in Detention Center

Seven Sichuan Residents Sentenced to Prison, Families in Distress

Six Falun Gong Practitioners and One Spouse Stand Trial

Four Sichuan Residents Indicted for Their Faith, File Appeals to Have Cases Dropped

Six Falun Gong Practitioners and One Husband Face Trial

Sixty-four Falun Gong Practitioners Arrested in Two Weeks in Sichuan Province

Ms. Luo Mingchun Arrested and Facing Prosecution

Chinese version available

Category: Accounts of Persecution