(Minghui.org) A Yinchuan City, Ningxia Province resident is appealing a 4.5-year prison sentence for her faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Ms. Yao Xiaoyan, 42, was arrested on December 2, 2021, while leaving her apartment. She was put in criminal detention the next day. The Xixia District Procuratorate approved her arrest on December 30. She was indicted on March 31, 2022, with the charge of “undermining law enforcement with a cult organization,” the standard pretext used to criminalize Falun Gong.
Ms. Yao appeared in the Xixia District Court on June 21. Her lawyer entered a not guilty plea for her. He said that the prosecutor failed to demonstrate what cult organization his client had allegedly belonged to and used to commit the said “crimes.” What’s more, no evidence showed how Ms. Yao undermined any law enforcement or caused any damage to society as alleged in the indictment.
The lawyer added that while the prosecutor accused Ms. Yao of producing and disseminating Falun Gong informational materials, he didn’t have direct evidence to support the charge. The lawyer demanded the judge acquit his client.
Despite the lack of evidence, the judge announced sentencing Ms. Yao to 4.5 years with a 20,000-yuan fine on August 4.
Ms. Yao appealed with the Yinchuan City Intermediate Court shortly after receiving the verdict.
She said that she merely wanted to be a good person by living by Falun Gong’s principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Since Falun Gong was introduced to the public in 1992, it has received thousands of proclamations and support letters. Even before the persecution took place in 1999, Qiao Shi, a then retired member of the National People’s Congress, concluded after an in-depth investigation in 1998 that, “Falun Gong does the country and the people all benefits and no harm.”
Ms. Yao reiterated that no evidence could show how she was involved in any cult organization or how she undermined the law.
She continued to refute the evidence presented by the prosecutor, with three main arguments.
1) Among the 35 witnesses who found Falun Gong materials somewhere, no one saw Ms. Yao distributing any materials.
2) Among the 22 video clips, none had the footage of Ms. Yao distributing the materials either. They only showed when she left or returned home, through which entrance in her neighborhood, and which transportation mode she used.
3) The verdict claimed that the police found Falun Gong materials in Ms. Yao’s flash drive, Lenovo laptop, and memory cards and that such information posed serious danger to society. But the police never mentioned the contents or the names of the “dangerous” files or whether the materials allegedly distributed by Ms. Yao were printed off those files.
Ms. Yao said that the few hard copies of Falun Gong materials collected from several subdivisions failed to support the criminal charge against her. She asked the appeals court judge to acquit her based on the facts.
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