(Minghui.org) A 54-year-old woman in Jilin City, Jilin Province stood trial on June 14, 2023, for her faith in Falun Gong, a mind-body practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party since July 1999. Ms. Jiang Yongqin’s family was never notified of the hearing, and her out-of-town lawyer was barred from attending the trial.

It was recently learned that Ms. Jiang’s case now rests with the Jilin City Intermediate Court. As her family and trial lawyer were never notified of any verdict against her, it remains to be investigated whether the intermediate court is processing her appeal against an already-issued guilty verdict or taking over from the trial court to determine her yet-to-be-announced verdict. [In China, intermediate courts mostly hear appeal cases but occasionally also serve as trial courts.] Her loved ones were only told to not hire out-of-town lawyers to represent her in the rest of her prosecution.

Sexually Assaulted by Police

Ms. Jiang’s ordeal stemmed from her arrest on June 12, 2022, for practicing Falun Gong. On either July 7 or 8, 2022, the police covered her head with a black hood, plugged her ears, and took her out of the Jilin City Detention Center to a secret facility. Four men, including a torture expert from the Jilin Province Public Security Bureau, his assistant Li, and two men, surnamed Tang and Lyu, of the Jilin City Police Department, interrogated her for nearly two hours. As she refused to answer their questions, they sexually assaulted her, force-fed wasabi oil through her nose, and placed lit cigarettes into her nostrils.

Trial Lawyer Barred from Representing Her

Ms. Jiang’s trial lawyer, Ms. Wang Shengsheng, who was from a different province, was repeatedly barred from reviewing her case file since her arrest. After Ms. Jiang was indicted in early 2023, Ms. Wang was told by her local judicial bureau that her law license did not meet their requirements and that she was thus not qualified to represent any client in court. Ms. Wang suspected they had altered her information in their database without her knowledge. The Changyi District Court said that Ms. Jiang’s family had until May 31, 2023, to find her a “qualified lawyer;” otherwise they’d appoint a lawyer to represent her and enter a guilty plea for her.

Ms. Jiang insisted that Ms. Wang still represent her. Ms. Wang, however, was barred from entering the courtroom during Ms. Jiang’s trial on June 14, 2023.

Ms. Wang visited the front desk of the court and complained about the denial of her legal right to defend her client in court. She did not receive a response.

The courts in Jilin Province have a history of blocking legal representation of Falun Gong practitioners, by either denying out-of-town lawyers or demanding the lawyers to represent documents to demonstrate they didn’t practice Falun Gong themselves.

Husband in Australia Calls for Wife’s Release

Ms. Jiang’s husband, Mr. Xiong Qi, and their two daughters fled China years ago to avoid persecution. They currently reside in Melbourne, Australia.

Following his wife’s arrest, Mr. Xiong has been working hard to secure her release. Most recently, he got several rights lawyers in China, who were not involved in his wife’s case, to file a joint complaint on August 19, 2023, against the four officers who tortured and sexually assaulted his wife. The perpetrators’ employers, the Jilin City Police Department and the Jilin Province Public Security Bureau were also named as defendants in the complaint.

The complaint was submitted to the Jilin Municipal Procuratorate, the Jilin City Supervisory Committee, the People’s Congress, the Political and Legal Affairs Committee, and the Women’s Federations. Most agencies, however, refused to accept the complaint or used various excuses to not process the complaint.

Award-winning Lecturer Previously Jailed for 3 Years

This is not the first time that Ms. Jiang has been targeted for her faith. She was previously sentenced to three years in prison following an arrest on September 26, 2009.

Ms. Jiang received her bachelor’s degree from Jilin University in Jilin Province, and her master’s degree from Lanzhou University in Gansu Province. She landed a teaching job at Zhejiang Sci-Tech University in Zhejiang Province after graduation. Her employer later terminated her for her faith, even though she had been a high-performing lecturer during her nine-year tenure there (she won multiple awards herself and coached her students to win second place in a national design competition).

Ms. Jiang later moved back to Jilin City, Jilin Province after she was released from prison.

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