(Minghui.org) A Qingyang City, Gansu Province resident stood trial at the Zhenyuan County Court on February 27, 2023 for his faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999. 

As the prosecutor couldn’t refute the defense statement by Mr. Wang Liqun and his lawyer during the court hearing, he blurted out, “Falun Gong [practitioners] persuade people to quit the Communist Party. Isn’t that a cult?”

Seven Years on the Run Prior to Latest Arrest

Prior to Mr. Wang’s latest arrest in October 2022, the former owner of a glass shop had spent seven years on the run since July 2015 to avoid being persecuted for filing a criminal complaint against Jiang Zemin, the former communist regime leader who ordered the persecution of Falun Gong.

Because he was on the wanted list and couldn’t use his ID, it was very difficult for Mr. Wang to find a full-time job. He later began to do odd jobs at construction sites. He worked hard, paid attention to details and never complained about anything. He soon won the trust and praise of his coworkers and managers, who also referred him to other jobs. He gradually built up his reputation and many people specifically came to him for various projects. He also took the opportunity to tell them about Falun Gong.

The police never gave up looking for Mr. Wang. They put his photo on the cloud database, which is connected to the network of surveillance cameras across the country. 

While working in a mall in Xi’an City, Shaanxi Province in late September 2022, Mr. Wang was recorded by a surveillance camera after he took off his mask while changing clothes. The police soon travelled from Qingyang to Xi’an. After failing to find him in the mall, they found his manager and forced him to take them to Mr. Wang’s residence to arrest him. 

As the police approached, Mr. Wang climbed from his apartment on the fifth floor to the third floor with a rope, and then jumped downstairs from the third floor. Although he suffered a comminuted fracture in the ankle, he managed to escape.

Just as he was trying to look for ways to get to his daughter’s home without using public transportation or taxis (which required people to scan the health code app on their cellphones), Mr. Wang ran into a local Falun Gong practitioner. Upon hearing about his story, the practitioner took him to his own home and provided care to him.

Through searching the videos taken by surveillance cameras, the police found Mr. Wang and arrested him on October 19, 2022. He was taken back to Qingyang the next day and held at the Qingcheng County Detention Center.

The Same Indictment as Another Practitioner’s from Seven Years Ago

Before going back to Qingyang, the police searched Mr. Wang’s residence in Xi’an, but didn’t find any Falun Gong-related materials. With the Falun Gong items confiscated from him seven years ago and his criminal complaint against Jiang, the police submitted his case to the Zhenyuan County Procuratorate. The prosecutor indicted Mr. Wang in January 2023 and moved his case to the Zhenyuan County Court.

While reviewing Mr. Wang’s case document, his lawyer found that the 700-page indictment submitted by the prosecutor was exactly the same as the indictment against another Falun Gong practitioner, Ms. Duan Xiaoyan, seven years ago. Ms. Duan was sentenced to ten years back then. 

Court Hearing

The Zhenyuan County Court held a hearing of Mr. Wang’s case on February 27, 2023. Only four of his nine family members who went to the court were allowed into the courtroom.

Upon hearing that his lawyer, who is from Beijing, was entering a not guilty plea for him, the judge called the Beijing Bar Association about whether the lawyer had reported his representation of a Falun Gong practitioner to the local justice bureau. The judge also told the lawyer that officials from the local Political and Legal Affairs Committee would attend the hearing.

The lawyer pointed out that the court failed to inform Mr. Wang of the hearing at least three days prior as required by law. Mr. Wang didn’t find out about his court date until his lawyer visited him the morning of the trial and told him about it. 

When asked by the lawyer whether the police violated the law in arresting him, Mr. Wang said that when the plainclothes officers broke into the practitioner’s home where he was seeking shelter on October 19, 2022, he was sitting in bed. Without showing their IDs, the officers kicked him off the bed, pressed him against the floor, handcuffed him, and pushed him into the police car, without allowing him to put on his socks and shoes. In the basement of the Taiyilu Police Station in Xi’an, the police stomped on his injured feet and verbally abused him.

The prosecutor attempted to shirk the police’s responsibility by blaming Mr. Wang for not seeking treatment. Mr. Wang said that a policeman used his own money to buy a pair of crutches for him. When his lawyer visited him four months later, Mr. Wang could walk on his own, without using the crutches. He said his quick recovery without medical treatment was the best example of Falun Gong’s health benefits.

Shaky Evidence

While presenting the evidence, the prosecutor first accused Mr. Wang of being a “repeat offender,” as he was given three years of forced labor in 2000 for practicing Falun Gong. The prosecutor also listed Falun Gong-related items confiscated from Mr. Wang in July 2015, as well as witness accounts from 17 people.

Mr. Wang denied the charge against him, which was, “undermining law enforcement with a cult organization,” the standard pretext used by the Chinese courts to sentence Falun Gong practitioners. His lawyer also added that no law has ever criminalized Falun Gong or labeled it as a cult. 

The prosecutor questioned Mr. Wang as to whether he was given three years of forced labor in 2000. Mr. Wang responded that the forced labor camp system was abolished in China in 2013, which only showed that the system itself was illegal.

Among the 17 witnesses listed by the prosecutor, Mr. Wang said he only recognized the names of his brother and father and he had never met or heard of the other 15 people. The lawyer pointed out that the witness accounts were very similar to each other. As none of the witnesses appeared in court to accept cross-examination, he doubted their credibility. 

The prosecutor claimed that all 17 witnesses said that Mr. Wang had helped them prepare criminal complaints against Jiang Zemin. The prosecutor thus concluded that it was Mr. Wang who organized them to file the complaints to “defame the country’s leader.” 

Mr. Wang’s lawyer refuted the charge of illegal activity, saying that every citizen is entitled to freedom of speech and the right to criticize or sue the country’s leaders. Exercising such a constitutional right was by no means “undermining law enforcement with a cult organization.” The lawyer added that all of the witnesses mentioned filed complaints against Jiang on their own initiative, without being ordered by anyone, which also debunked the prosecutor’s claim.

The judge then asked Mr. Wang about the Falun Gong books, office supplies, as well as some hand and power tools confiscated from him in July 2015. Mr. Wang replied that many of the tools were used to do home renovation for his customers. He said that it was absurd for the prosecutor to include those as prosecution evidence against him as well.

Mr. Wang said that while raiding his home in 2015, the police also impounded his private car and 66,000 yuan in cash. The cash was included on the police’s list of confiscated items, but after his case was transferred to the procuratorate, the cash was no longer on the record and he didn’t know where it went. 

The lawyer asked his family whether the police returned the cash to them. They said no. 

In terms of Falun Gong books confiscated from Mr. Wang, his lawyer argued that the Chinese Publication Bureau has already lifted the ban on Falun Gong literature in 2011. As such, the books couldn’t be used as evidence against Mr. Wang.

Unable to refute the lawyer, the prosecutor said, “Falun Gong [practitioners] persuade people to quit the Communist Party. Isn’t that a cult?” He still recommended at least 10 years of prison for Mr. Wang, as his crime was “particularly serious.” 

In his self-defense statement, Mr. Wang recounted how he has enjoyed good health by practicing Falun Gong for the past 20 years, citing the recent recovery of his injured ankle. He also clarified how the communist regime fabricated the Tiananmen self-immolation hoax and other propaganda to demonize Falun Gong. 

The judge asked Mr. Wang what was his take on the several prison sentences against the aforementioned Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Duan Xiaoyan (she was given one year of forced labor in 2000 and sentenced to seven years in 2002, before being given ten years in 2015). Mr. Wang said she is innocent of any crime and should never have been sentenced. He demanded that the judge uphold justice and acquit him. The judge didn’t respond.

Perpetrators’ contact information:

Gai Dongmei (盖冬梅), president, Zhenyuan County Court: +86-934-7121243Zhang Zhongfeng (张中锋), presiding judge, Zhenyuan County Court: +86-13993423966Hao Hongmei (郝红梅), judge, Zhenyuan County Court: +86-15293419588Zuo Wenli (左文立), president, Zhenyuan County Procuratorate: +86-934-7121244Xu Qiling (徐七玲), prosecutor, Zhenyuan County Procuratorate: +86-18298886128Li Xinnian (李新年), director, Qingcheng County Police Department: +86-934-3226028

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

Related report:

Former Glass Shop Owner Faces Trial for His Faith