(Minghui.org) A Yinchuan City, Ningxia Province resident stood trial on March 15, 2022 for his faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999. His lawyer entered a not guilty plea for him and demanded his acquittal.

Mr. Zhao Hengde, 66, was charged with “undermining law enforcement with a cult organization,” the standard pretext used to criminalize Falun Gong practitioners. His lawyer emphasized that the Constitution protects one’s freedom of belief and that Mr. Zhao didn’t violate any law or harm anyone or anything. 

Mr. Zhao, who was wearing a urinary catheter after developing a medical condition at the detention center, testified in his own defense. He maintained that he didn’t do anything wrong in practicing Falun Gong. 

Mr. Zhao, a former healthcare bureau official, was arrested on November 26, 2021, for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong. He was officially detained on criminal charges on November 28. His arrest was approved on December 10. The police submitted his case to the Xixia District Procuratorate on December 17. The prosecutor indicted him and moved his case to the Xixia District Court on January 13, 2022. He is currently held at the Yinchuan City Detention Center. 

Since the onset of the persecution, Mr. Zhao has been repeatedly targeted for upholding his faith.

He was first arrested in October 2000 at Tiananmen Square for appealing for Falun Gong. After he was taken back to Ningxia and held at the Pengyang County Detention Center, two guards and two inmates tied his arms behind his back and pulled them upwards, until they couldn’t move further. After a period of time, they kept pushing his arms up. They did this torture three times. The pain was so intense that Mr. Zhao passed out. 

Torture reenactment: tying up

After he came to, the guards forced him to wear shackles weighing 50 kg. Only a few steps would cause his ankles to be severely worn, yet the guards still forced him to walk. The guards refused to remove the shackles at night and ordered him to stand overnight. 

Mr. Zhao was later sentenced to three years and fired from his job. The prison guards continued to beat him and tie him up. 

When his term ended in October 2003, the authorities refused to release him, but held him at a brainwashing center for 60 days.

Mr. Zhao was arrested again in December 2015 for filing a criminal complaint against Jiang Zemin, the former head of the communist regime who ordered the persecution. 

Perpetrators’ contact information:
Hu Guilan (虎柜兰), presiding judge of Xixia District Court: +86-951-4014281
Wang Xiaojia (王小佳), judge, Xixia District Court: +86-18169093873Ren Shuang (任爽), judge, Xixia District Court: +86-18995095907, +86-951-4014281Liu Li (刘丽), prosecutor

Related report:

Ningxia Man Experiences Medical Condition Three Months Following Latest Arrest for His Faith