(Minghui.org) Four Luzhou City, Sichuan Province residents were sentenced to prison in early August 2021 by the Lu County Court for practicing Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Ms. Deng Wanying was sentenced to nine years in prison, Ms. Lei Huanying to five years, Ms. Luo Taihui to three years and a half, and Ms. Gou Zhengqiong to three years.

Ms. Gou was arrested on August 2, 2019, and the other three practitioners, all store owners, were arrested on August 21, 2019. 

The four practitioners appeared in Lu County Court on July 13 and September 15, 2020, and again on February 2, 2021.

During the four women’s first hearing at Lu County Court on July 13, 2020, the judge didn’t allow the practitioners’ families to attend the hearing or even watch the live streaming of the hearing in the lobby of the courthouse. 

The lawyers pointed out several violations by the police in handling the cases, including their ransacking of the practitioners’ homes without wearing the police uniform, failure to have at least two officers taking part in the home-raid as required by law, as well as their failure to show their IDs and search warrant, or provide lists of confiscated items afterward.

Among the over 40 witnesses listed by the police, none of them appeared in court to accept cross-examination or articulated in their written testimonies what the practitioners have done specifically. The photos and video clips used as prosecution evidence also failed to show what the practitioners were doing for the alleged “criminal activities.”

During the second hearing, the prosecutor updated the indictment and added a few more copies of the materials allegedly to have been distributed by the practitioners. He also played a new video clip of the practitioners recorded by the surveillance camera. But the lawyers still argued that the video failed to show what illegal activities their clients were doing.

The lawyers repeated their defense argument that the persecution against Falun Gong didn’t have any legal basis and none of the evidence presented in court could demonstrate what law their clients had violated or what damage they had caused to others or to society.

For the third hearing, the court for the first time allowed the practitioners’ family members, who hadn’t seen their loved ones for one and half years, to attend. Ms. Luo’s husband and son, however, were barred from attending the session, after they were deceived by the police into answering questions about other practitioners and then listed as prosecution witnesses without their knowledge. 

The judge and prosecutor repeated the procedure of the previous two hearings and didn’t present any new “evidence.” The four practitioners maintained that they didn’t do anything wrongful in practicing their faith. Two of their lawyers demanded their acquittal, but the judge responded that there was no way for him to do that.

Related reports:

Four Sichuan Residents Tried for Their Faith

Three Store Owners in Sichuan Province Arrested for Their Faith

Chinese version available

Category: Accounts of Persecution