(Minghui.org) Editor’s note: Ms. Chen Jing, a talented college graduate, was subjected to persecution in her early 20s, simply for upholding her faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999. She was placed under house arrest in college and threatened with expulsion and imprisonment. After she graduated she was fired from her good job in a hospital. She was forced to move around to avoid persecution and lived in fear for years. When she was 37, she was arrested, then sentenced to five years in prison. She was subjected to various kinds of brutal torture in detention centers and prison.
Ms. Chen recounts in detail how she was persecuted both physically and mentally.
(Continued from Part 2)
First Hearing Adjourned
The Jiao District Court in Jiamusi held its first court hearing against me on December 13, 2016, from 9 to 11 a.m., in the courtroom on the first floor of the detention center.
Before entering the courtroom, a bailiff took me to a small room next door. Li Zhongyi, and Li Caihong the presiding judge of the Criminal Court of Jiao District Court, and my two sisters walked in.
Li Zhongyi said to me, “I’ll give you one last chance. It’s not too late to plead guilty and get a lighter sentence.” He told my sister that my first lawyer was arrested. My family spent 60,000 yuan to hire another lawyer, but to no avail. Their money was wasted. Li Caihong followed his tone and told me that it was sad to see me, a college graduate, with tuition paid by the country and my living expenses paid by my parents, ending up in my situation. My oldest sister said that our mother’s poor health was all my fault.
I said, “It’s not illegal to practice Falun Gong. The Chinese Constitution stipulates that citizens have freedom of belief. If anything happens to my parents, I will file lawsuits against the police and the court. It was you who arrested me and sentenced me to prison, which hurt my parents.”
After the hearing began, prosecutor Yang Jingjuan read the indictment. She recommended the sentence term the police suggested.
I stated in court that I had been tortured during interrogation and pointed to Li Zhongyi at the back of the court as the perpetrator. My lawyer Huang asked for his name, and I said that his name was Li Zhongyi. Judge Pu Xuemei interrupted me immediately, saying that this would be addressed later during the debate. Prosecutor Yang Jingjuan also prompted the judge to interrupt me several times.
My other defense lawyer Lin then requested to adjourn the hearing. He pointed out that it was unreasonable to hold the trial in the detention center and I had not received the notice three days prior, according to the law.
The judge was surprised to hear this, but she agreed to adjourn the hearing, only to announce another session six days later in the same location. She claimed that the court was undergoing renovations, but the court records indicated that it hosted some trials around the same time. She also told my lawyers, “It’s not easy for you to travel all the way here for the hearing. Chen Jing is causing so much trouble for you.”
As Li Caihong walked from the back of the room towards me he said that I was causing trouble for everyone, especially my sister who traveled such a long way.
Pu asked the clerk to print out the transcript and have me sign it. I refused to sign it without reading it. Prosecutor Yang flared up. Li Caihong said, “Fine, take her photo as proof and write down that she refused to sign.”
After I was taken back to the cell, Li Zhongyi rushed up to me and struck me with a water bottle. He said, “How could you talk nonsense. When did I beat you?” I immediately pointed to the water bottle in his hand and said, “Look, you are hitting me in front of so many people. How could you say that you did not beat me?” Li Zhongyi was furious and immediately put the water bottle behind him.
The court held a second hearing against me on December 19, in the makeshift courtroom on the first floor of the detention center.
Before the hearing started at 9:30 a.m., the bailiff took me to a small room. Li Zhongyi, Li Caihong, my older sister, and a female bailiff were all present. Li Zhongyi argued with me again, and insisted that he did not beat me and did not know about the torture. I pointed out that both he and Yang Bo were there and he instigated the officers to torture me. “Although my arms were disabled, my eyes were still sharp. When they started to beat me, you hid in the room nearby, but later you came out. I saw you there. Yang Bo was there too.” He stopped talking.
Then Zhang Weiming, the head of the Jiao District Domestic Security Office, came and said, “Chen Jing, you still don’t acknowledge those things were your belongings?”
I said, “You broke into my home when no one was around. No one saw what you did inside my home. I didn’t do anything that violated the law.”
Li Caihong stopped me and said, “Don’t talk about these things. It’s useless.”
“Everything we (practitioners) do is for your benefit,” I said.
“Come on, who are you trying to help? You can’t even help yourself!” Li Caihong responded.
A female bailiff kept pressuring me, “You went to college in vain. Why don’t you understand their questions? Just answer them. Just go ahead and plead guilty. Don’t talk so much nonsense. How can we start the hearing if you keep on talking?”
After the hearing began, prosecutor Yang Jingjuan exhibited many Falun Gong materials as prosecution evidence, including calendars, pamphlets, CDs, cards, seals, and Falun Gong books. The female bailiff held them up one by one to show them. Yang said that there were more than 500 pieces of evidence in total.
I objected and said, “First, the police raided the house while no one was at home, so their evidence could not be confirmed to belong to me. Second, the prosecutor counted each page of one calendar or pamphlet as an individual piece of evidence, and one card with multiple patterns was also counted as multiple pieces of evidence. Third, as a Falun Gong practitioner, possession of these belongings is legal since the Constitution entitles citizens to freedom of belief.
Lawyer Huang also argued that the evidence obtained was invalid since the police raided my residence without myself or close relatives present. Judge Pu Xuemei agreed.
Prosecutor Yang claimed that she had more evidence to support the charge. She said that the law allowed the investigator to enter the suspect’s home without anyone around under emergent circumstances.
Lawyer Huang asked me why the search record had my signature, which indicated that I gave consent to the raid.
I said, “I was arrested around 2 p.m on January 21, 2016. I have not been home since then. I was detained at the Youyi Road Police Station when the raid took place. So I was not present, let alone signing my consent on the seized items on the spot. During a later interrogation, a police officer told me that they searched every corner of the house, from the drop ceiling to the items inside the fridge. I repeatedly warned them that all the seized items were my private property and must be returned to me. The police made a list of the seized items and asked me to sign in mid-May. They said if I signed it, they would return the items to me. I believed them and signed it. But they didn’t allow me to date it. Someone later dated it as January 22, 2016.”
Lawyer Huang pointed out that I was in police custody when the raid happened, so it was ruled out as an emergent circumstance. Lawyer Lin also added that the prosecutor calculated the number of pieces of evidence unfairly with the obvious intention to get a heavier sentence.
The prosecutor then took out a pile of papers and said they were my complaint letters against the perpetrators. I stated that they were not from my home, and I never printed them. Instead I remember very clearly that Yang Bo brought them to me during an interrogation and told me that he printed them from the Internet. I added that it was my legal right to file complaints against perpetrators and they should investigate them, not me.
The prosecutor continued to read the written documents of several practitioners, which described how they went to the relevant provincial departments last year to submit complaints against the persecution. She even showed the visitors’ log from the Provincial People’s Congress and Provincial Procuratorate to show that these practitioners had indeed gone there.
I said, “Their actions had nothing to do with me. The fact that the Provincial People’s Congress and Provincial Procuratorate received them indicated what they did was completely reasonable. It doesn’t make any sense for you to use that as evidence to show I was guilty.”
The prosecutor read a paragraph of my interrogation transcript, which referred to those practitioners. I explained that I was forced to answer the police officers’ questions while I was nearly unconscious after being hung up. But I never mentioned the specific names of any practitioners. At the end of this transcript, police officer Li Qiang also demanded I answer “No” on the question that I was tortured. I was too weak to argue with them. They threatened me and said they would continue to torture me if I remained silent. After I was forced to answer them against my will, they burst into laughter. I felt it was a huge insult. Afterward, I repeatedly requested to make it clear that the record was not true, but the police refused.
Lawyer Huang added that it warranted a question of forced consent why I refused to sign three copies of the confiscation list, while I agreed to sign three others, all of which were dated January 22, 2016.
Lawyer Lin asked why the case document never mentioned the location of the interrogation in the past four months and whether the officers deliberately left that out to conceal the fact that I was tortured. He demanded the judge investigate the prosecution evidence and dismiss anything that was obtained through torture.
The judge adjourned the court after 11:00 a.m. I was taken back to the cell around 11:30 a.m., which was after lunch time in the detention center. I told the bailiff that I had not eaten yet but he just pushed me into the cell and locked the door.
Around 12:30 p.m., I was brought back to the makeshift courtroom. Because I had not eaten, my blood pressure was low. I felt cold sitting in the metal chair and trembled during the remaining part of the hearing.
Judge Pu Xuemei wanted to speed up the trial in the afternoon and suggested the cross-examination and debate take place at the same time.
Lawyer Huang requested to have officer Zhang Weiming and Yu Haiyang, who were involved in raiding my home and interrogating me, to appear in court to answer questions. But Pu rejected the lawyer’s request, saying the two officers could only appear in court as investigators, according to a request from the prosecutor.
Zhang Weiming sat in the back of the court room, casually slumped in a chair with his legs crossed. The judge was just about to ask him a question when Lawyer Huang requested he sit in the front.
Zhang Weiming was unhappy sitting next to me. He stated that they received their orders from the provincial and municipal levels to search my residence, and everything they did during the process was in accordance with the law. He said that he could not remember the specific date of the raid or the time, but it might have been in the afternoon.
Lawyer Huang pointed out that the discrepancy of the raid time since the time on file was 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. “Since Zhang was the person in charge of the case, it’s hard to believe that he could not remember the time, considering it’s such an important case ordered by the provincial police department,” the lawyer said.
Prosecutor Yang Jingjuan took out the hard disk and CD-ROM compressed from my computer as evidence. I asked her to show the contents on them.
Yang plugged it into the computer and opened a few folders. “Look, there are so many. Here we have people’s names, the Minghui website and Falun Dafa on the files names.”
I said, “But having them doesn’t mean anything. No law ever ruled that words like ‘Minghui’ or ‘Falun Dafa’ are illegal.”
Prosecutor Yang called officer Yu Haiyang to testify. He said he received an order from his superiors to handle my case. It was he who extracted the contents from my computer and sent them to the Jiamusi City Police Department with Zhang Weiming.
I pointed at Yu and said, “I know this person. He is an officer from the Jiao District Domestic Security Office. He was one of the officers who tortured me by hanging me up.”
Yang also called a police officer from the Internet Division of the Jiamusi City Police Department to testify. His name was Wang Ze. He was the one who gathered all the data sent by Yu and Zhang and made a CD for them.
Lawyer Huang questioned Wang and asked how he decided which files to keep. Wang maintained that he extracted everything from the computer without following any protocol.
Lawyer Huang said, “Things on my computer may also have words such as Falun Dafa or the Minghui website. People may also receive such files through emails or on social media. But no law ever defined these words as illegal.”
Yang also played the video showing the raid in my house. But the footage shook badly and only showed the floor, so it was impossible to confirm which things they took or whether they were planted there by the police.
I also notice that the room was brightly illuminated which indicated that the raid could not have taken place between 8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. as written in the case document. There is a row of houses on the east side of my residence, which blocks the morning light. I said it looked to me that they recorded the scene after the raid was over with.
Yang played another video which she claimed was me making a confession. In the video, my head was down and I looked very weak. There was no sound.
I asked her, “Why is there no sound? Why is this the only video recording from the past four months of the interrogation? This happened after I was tortured. They forced me to record a statement they prepared. They forced me to read it but I did not want to. This is what happened.”
Lawyer Huang also pointed out that my expression in the video was totally different than mine in the courtroom. It was like two different people. This supported my account that I was forced to record the video under torture and coercion.
Judge Pu did not address my lawyer’s question, but proceeded to the final statement. Prosecutor Yang read the last paragraph of the indictment and the proposed sentence against me.
I took out my defense statement and began to read it, but Judge Pu tried to stop me after I read one paragraph. However, I continued to read. When I was almost halfway through, she shouted for me to stop, and ordered the bailiff to snatch my statement. Lawyer Lin protested and said she should not stop me.
Lawyer Huang continued, “Even according to the law you referred to, many copies of the material were distributed, and only my client possessed them, so she should not be criminally liable.”
Lawyer Lin also stated: “Freedom of belief is a legal right granted to citizens by the constitution,... Falun Gong is not listed among the fourteen cults, ... So my client is not guilty and should not be held criminally responsible. ... Article 300 of the Criminal Law is wrongly applied to Falun Gong...”
After the hearing ended, I thanked both lawyers for their strong defense.
After the two lawyers left the courtroom, the clerk, Xu Sheng, printed out the trial transcript and asked me sign it. But I insisted on reading it first to make sure it reflected the facts. Xu became impatient. After reading a few pages I found several places that needed to be adjusted, but Xu refused. Prosecutor Yang and Criminal Court President Li Caihong also refused. Li Caihong said I should be photographed if I refused to sign. In the end, I signed after only reading a few pages since I was afraid that they would change the content if I refused.
I bowed to my older sister and asked for her help to take care of our parents. “Please know that your sister is innocent and I will try to come home early,” I told her.
Li Zhongyi immediately said, “Don’t even think about going home.”
Li Zhongyi and Zhang Degang brought my older sister to the detention center on January 16, 2017. They returned my house purchase contract and heat supply documents that were confiscated during the raid. I gave them to my sister.
Li said that I had one last chance to plead guilty during the appeal so I might get probation and be allowed to serve time at home. But I told him, “No.”
My sister said, “It seems you don’t want to come home.” I told her that I did but they were persecuting me.
Right then, Judge Pu came in and delivered my verdict of five years in prison. I was also fined 10,000 yuan. I said I did not commit any crimes and would not pay a penny. Pu said that even if I refused to pay, the court could take compulsory measures and withdraw money from my bank account without my consent.
(To be continued.)
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