(Minghui.org) A Changchun City, Jilin Province resident was sentenced to three years on December 31, 2021 for practicing Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999. The authorities have repeatedly blocked her lawyer from representing or even visiting her.

Ms. Jing Fengwei, a 50-year-old native of Liuhe County, Tonghua City who lives in Changchun, took up Falun Gong in 2005. She credits the practice for curing her severe hyperthyroidism. She was arrested on July 15, 2021 and had her arrest approved on July 26. The police submitted Ms. Jing’s case to the Liuhe County Procuratorate on September 22. The prosecutor indicted her on October 18 and forwarded her case to the Liuhe County Court. 

Ms. Jing’s family and lawyer have submitted several requests to review her case documents. Lu Xu, the presiding judge, denied their requests and also refused to accept the lawyer’s Power of Attorney. Judge Lu claimed that he didn’t have the say in determining whether the lawyer can represent Ms. Jing in court. Ms. Jing’s family was also threatened when they tried to represent her themselves. 

Without the presence of Ms. Jing’s lawyer and family defenders, the Liuhe County Court held a secret hearing concerning her case on November 17, 2021. 

The Changliu Detention Center where Ms. Jing is detained blocked her lawyer from visiting her in person. Citing the pandemic, the detention center moved all visitations to video calls. They worked with the Tonghua City Justice Bureau to have director Chen of the justice bureau responsible for reviewing and approving all visitation requests. 

Since Ms. Jing’s hearing on November 17, her lawyer has requested several times to visit her, but Chen has denied the requests each and every time. 

When the lawyer called again on December 6, Chen claimed that since the lawyer came from Beijing, he needed to undergo a 14-day quarantine first. The lawyer then called the residential committee responsible for handling pandemic response and was told that as long as he provided a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, he didn’t have to be quarantined. The lawyer called Chen again. This time, Chen said that all the slots from Wednesday to Friday were already booked. 

Moments later, Ms. Jing’s family called Chen and asked about the opening slots for visitation without identifying themselves. Chen claimed that she had plenty of openings on Thursday. But when the lawyer called her again, Chen defended herself by saying that one appointment happened to be canceled after the lawyer last called, but it had already been taken before the lawyer called again. She said that if the lawyer wanted to book a time, he had to call back the week after. The lawyer called her many times in the following week, but Chen never picked up his call. 

On December 22, another lawyer representing Ms. Jing was granted a visitation appointment on Friday (December 24). But Chen told the lawyer the next day that she must seek approval for the visitation from the Political and Legal Affairs Committee first. The lawyer still went to the detention center on Friday as scheduled, but the guards wouldn’t let him in, claiming that Chen wasn’t in the office. 

The lawyer texted Chen. This time, she said that the visitation had to be approved by the Tonghua City Intermediate Court. The lawyer argued that the court didn’t have the right to block a lawyer from visiting their client. Chen replied that she didn’t have the right to grant it either. Unable to argue with her, the lawyer called judge Wang Junhong and clerk Guo of the Tonghua City Intermediate Court and both of them said that they weren’t in charge of the lawyer’s visitation of Ms. Jing. 

The lawyer called Chen one more time. She said that if the lawyer got permission from the detention center to visit Ms. Jing, she wouldn’t block him. The lawyer made four calls to the detention center and a guard agreed to let him talk to his client for twenty minutes and told him that he should hurry up to finish the required paperwork at the justice bureau. 

When the lawyer told Chen that the detention center had approved his visit request, Chen responded that she had to verify it herself with the detention center, as she suspected that the guard approved it without knowing whom the lawyer was visiting. Several minutes later, the lawyer called the detention center again to confirm whether he could still visit Ms. Jing. The guard now claimed that the monitor they used for the video call was broken and they were unable to connect Ms. Jing to the call. They later told the lawyer when he called again that as long as the justice bureau approved the visitation, they would bring Ms. Jing to the visitation room. 

The lawyer called Chen and said that it was illegal for her to block him from seeing his client. Both Chen and the detention center maintained that as long as the other party approved the visitation, they would allow the lawyer to visit Ms. Jing. After another day of being given the runaround, the lawyer was never granted visitation.

The lawyer called Chen again the day after and continued his effort to seek justice for Ms. Jing. This time, Chen demanded that the lawyer sign a statement promising that he didn’t practice Falun Gong himself. She also asked whether he joined any bar association without connection to overseas countries or whether he has permanent residency in other countries. 

The lawyer and Ms. Jing’s family filed complaints with the justice bureau against Chen for blocking their visitation requests, but to no avail. 

Ms. Jing was sentenced to three years on December 31, 2021. She has appealed with the Tonghua City Intermediate Court. Judge Wang Junhong has been assigned to handle her case.

Perpetrators’ contact information:
Hei Junxian (黑俊鲜), prosecutor, Liuhe County Procuratorate: +86-18744047650
Lu Xu (鲁旭), judge, Liuhe County Court: +86-435-7213686, +86-13844551195, +86-18626595717Chen (陈), director, Tonghua City Justice Bureau: +86-15844581999Zhao Shujun (赵树军), deputy director, Tonghua City 610 Office: +86-18543575198Zhang Chengxiang (张成祥), secretary, Liuhe County Political and Legal Affairs Committee: +86-13944556777

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