(Minghui.org) Four Muleng City, Heilongjiang Province residents were sentenced to prison for practicing Falun Gong. One of them filed an appeal, but the judge in charge of the case refused to accept the paperwork.

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

Mr. Sun Shiwei, Ms. Shi Ying, Ms. Gao Yongli, and her brother Mr. Gao Pengguang were arrested and had their homes ransacked on April 24, 2020.

Another practitioner, Ms. Cao Shufang, who was arrested with them, was denied admission due to high blood pressure and released on bail early the next morning. She wasn’t tried when the other four practitioners appeared at Hailin City Court on July 16, 2021. It’s not clear whether she is facing prosecution.

Ms. Shi was represented by a court-appointed lawyer, while the other three practitioners had their own lawyers, who all entered not guilty pleas for them during the hearing on July 16. The practitioners also pleaded not guilty themselves.

The judge allowed only two family members of each practitioner to attend the hearing. Mr. Gao’s wife and Ms. Gao’s daughter were deceived by the police into signing a document prior to the hearing and then made prosecution witnesses without their knowledge. Judge Jiang Xinkun next barred Mr. Gao’s wife and Ms. Gao’s daughter from attending the hearing on the grounds that they were prosecution witnesses. Mr. Gao’s wife submitted a request to remove her from the witness list, but judge Jiang refused to accept it.

Judge Jiang announced the verdicts against the practitioners on July 20: Ms. Gao was sentenced to six years and ten months; Mr. Gao and Mr. Sun were each given six and half years and fined 10,000 yuan, and Ms. Shi was sentenced to one year and three months, with a 3,000 yuan fine. Ms. Shi was released afterwards, as she had finished serving time. Judge Jiang only informed the practitioners of their verdicts, but didn’t inform their lawyers or families.

When the practitioners’ lawyers were notified of their sentencing on July 27, there were only three days left before the deadline to submit an appeal.

Mr. Gao’s family went to the court on July 29 to submit his appeal, only to be told that judge Jiang was out of the office [in China, trial courts accept appeals and then pass them on to appeals courts]. They called Jiang and asked if they could leave the verdict with the clerk. Jiang rejected it and claimed that he would go to the detention center to get the appeal from Mr. Gao himself. Mr. Gao’s family replied, “You won’t even accept it when we came here to submit it ourselves, how can we expect you to go and get it yourself?”

As no court staff members agreed to accept the appeal, Mr. Gao’s family decided to mail the document to Jiang through express mail. When the mail was delivered on the next day, Jiang still refused to accept it. Mr. Gao’s family is now preparing to file a complaint against Jiang.

Perpetrators’ contact information:
Jiang Xinkun (姜新昆), judge of Hailin City Court: +86-13045340737, +86-13904834266, +86-453-7117271
Yan Ming (闫明), prosecutor of Hailin City Procuratorate: +86-13904531973, +86-453-7103902Zang Dianxu (臧殿旭), head of Muleng City Domestic Security Office: +86-18946333388Zhao Xiangjun (赵祥军), deputy head of Muleng City 610 Office: +86-15245351989Wang Zhigang (王志刚), mayor of Muleng City: +86-453-3122447

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

Related reports:

Former Art Teacher Sentenced to 6.5 Years for His Faith

Five Heilongjiang Residents Face Trial for Their Faith

Teaching and Research Staff Member from Muling City Teacher's Training College Brutally Beaten in Prison

Chinese version available

Category: Accounts of Persecution