(Minghui.org) A former middle school teacher in Dongying City, Shandong Province, was sentenced to prison in June 2022 for practicing Falun Gong, despite her husband’s diligent effort to rescue her.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Ms. Meng Yu, a teacher of Shengli No. 1 Middle School, was arrested at work on April 23, 2021. At least 20 other practitioners were arrested on the same day and had their homes ransacked. The police monitored and tracked the practitioners’ daily activities for months before making the group arrest.
Mr. Zhou Gong, Ms. Meng’s husband and a senior design engineer, recalled that he was working at home that morning, when a group of plainclothes officers took Ms. Meng. The IDs on their clothing were all covered up with black clips. After a brief moment, several people took Ms. Meng outside and the remaining officers started to ransack their residence.
The couple’s son, who had just returned from college abroad, was still asleep when the police arrived. He was terrified when the police tore off his comforter. He suffered digestion problems afterwards and vomited after meals.
The raid lasted five hours. Many of the couple’s personal items, including Mr. Zhou’s work computer, cellphone, and two portable drives with important data from his work, were confiscated. The police didn’t return his computer until months later. The police also took away the 160,000 yuan in cash the couple kept at home and later returned only after repeated demands.
Terrified, Mr. Zhou was taken to the police station and interrogated in a separate room from 2:20 to 8:30 p.m. No officer presented any legal document to him for the raid or interrogation. No confiscation list was given to him either.
Under tremendous pressure, Mr. Zhou said he couldn’t remember how he answered their questions. He was forced to sign his name on their deposition.
After he was released, he returned to the police station several times to inquire about his wife and ask for a copy of her detention certificate, but to no avail. Most of the time, the police either refused to answer his call or blocked him at the entrance of the police station. The same situation also happened when he reached out to the procuratorate.
Mr. Zhou contacted more than ten lawyers to seek help to rescue his wife, Ms. Meng. Most of the lawyers shied away from taking Falun Gong cases and said the Political and Legal Affairs Committee strictly monitored their activities.
One lawyer asked for 200,000 yuan to help Mr. Zhou bribe a certain director in order to stop Ms. Meng’s case from being moved forward. Another lawyer said if Mr. Zhou filed complaints against the police, they may retaliate by ramping up the charges against Ms. Meng. A third lawyer said the police always arrested some more practitioners around May (the anniversary of Falun Gong’s public introduction) as their political achievement to gain promotion and that no one followed the law when it came prosecuting to Falun Gong cases.
After several rounds of asking, a rights lawyer from another province agreed to take up Ms. Meng’s case. The lawyer helped Mr. Zhou draft a letter, demanding the police release Ms. Meng on bail. He submitted the letter on May 19. As he never received a response from the police, he filed a complaint against Ma Jian, the head of Binhai Police station, by calling 12389, the national police reporting line.
Months later, Ma called Mr. Zhou and questioned him about the complaint call. Mr. Zhou wasn’t deterred and continued his effort to rescue his wife. He later learned that the police attempted to find his workplace to pressure him, but failed since he is a freelance worker.
After the police submitted Ms. Meng’s case to the procuratorate, Mr. Zhou continued contacting local authorities to seek justice, but to no avail.
Without any evidence to show how Ms. Meng violated the law in practicing Falun Gong, prosecutor Ren Yaohai approved her arrest and indicted her, with the charge of “undermining law enforcement with a cult organization,” the standard pretext used to frame Falun Gong practitioners. The deposition that Mr. Zhou was forced to sign after six hours of interrogation was also included in the prosecution evidence against Ms. Meng.
Court Trial and Sentencing
The Dongying District Court held two hearings of Ms. Meng’s case, first on March 10 and then in May 2022. Her lawyer entered a not guilty plea for her, but the presiding judge, Yan Xiaohui, stopped Ms. Meng when she was about to read a defense statement herself.
Mr. Zhou was barred from attending the sessions, as the judge claimed that he was a witness to her case, because his deposition was used by the prosecutor.
Other evidence included by prosecutor Ren were Falun Gong informational materials and memory cards confiscated from their home. None of the materials were exhibited in court. The judge merely determined Ms. Meng’s prison term based on the number of copies of materials.
The judge sentenced Ms. Meng to 3.5 years with a 30,000-yuan fine on June 23. She has appealed to the Dongying City Intermediate Court. Mr. Zhou also hired a lawyer to represent her in the appeal case.
Mr. Zhou is very worried about his wife's situation, having heard she was beaten twice by inmates at Binhai Detention Center. Two pairs of her glasses were broken. She was also forced to wear handcuffs and shackles every day for a month.
Perpetrators’ contact information:
Cheng Qiulin (成秋林), secretary of Dongying City Political and Legal Affairs CommitteeDing Xichao (丁西超), president of Dongying District Procuratorate: +86-546-3011066Yan Xiaohui (闫晓辉), president of Dongying District Court: +86-546-7035198
(More perpetrators’ contact information is available in the original Chinese article.)
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