610 Office in Xichang City, Sichuan Province Blocks the Public from Attending Trial of Falun Gong Practitioners
(Clearwisdom.net) The 610 Office in Xichang City, Sichuan Province ordered the Xichang City Court to try four Falun Gong practitioners on May 13, 2010. They prevented people from coming to court to hear the proceedings.
On April 28, 2010, the court tried two other practitioners per orders from the 610 Office Deputy Director Chen Qi. Their defense attorneys argued that the practitioners' activities were legal based on freedom of belief, as guaranteed by the Chinese Constitution.
The 610 Office Ordered Local Officials to Prevent Citizens from Going to the Proceedings
A few days before the May 13 trial, the 610 Office notified top officials at work sites and communities where practitioners are known to live and work to prevent people from going to the proceedings. The entrances into the court were monitored. Officials from various workplaces and communities were posted at the door, responsible for preventing people that they knew from their areas from entering.
On May 12, Daxing Town officials informed the village heads to persuade family members of practitioners to monitor their activities and prevent them from going to Xichang City. They paid some such family members to carry out this activity.
On May 13, Daxing Town officials were sent to monitor practitioners and their homes. Some of them were sent to bus stations and street intersections to stop practitioners from going to Xichang City.
The Xichang City 610 Office also ordered work units to monitor practitioners on the 610 Office's list and prevent them from going to court. Some employees were posted at the entrances of the workplaces to stop practitioners from leaving.
National Security Police Monitor Court Entrance and Prevent People from Entering
The parking area by the court on May 13 was filled with police vehicles and officers in and out of uniform. The police allowed the pedestrians on the street to only walk in one direction and did not allow them to stop in front of the court. Police officers Wang Yongrong and Luo Yi from the Xichang City National Security Team walked around and monitored the passersby.
When a female practitioner tried to go inside the courtroom to witness the trial, she was stopped by the court police and asked to provide ID. Luo Yi, who has worked at the National Security Team since 1999 and could recognize many practitioners' names, indicated that she was a practitioner, and she was not allowed to go inside.
Outside the court, a nearly 80-year-old woman was dragged away by the National Security Team leader Wu Hongtie, while a female practitioner over 70 years old was illegally arrested and sent to the Beicheng Police Station (she was later released). A male practitioner who tried to enter the courtroom was forcibly dragged outside and sent back to his workplace.
A daughter of one practitioner on trial wanted to enter the courtroom, but was stopped by the police and not allowed to enter.
Attorney Defends Innocent Practitioners
Before the trial started, Judge Yang Bo warned the three defense attorneys, "You are not allowed to argue in defense of Falun Gong or question the government's decision on Falun Gong." He also told the attorneys that the Supreme People's Court had issued a document to prevent attorneys from defending Falun Gong. When an attorney asked the judge to show him the document, he stated that it was an internal document and not for public viewing.
In court, practitioner He Zhengqiong reported that National Security Bureau police officers, Wang Yongrong and Tai Ganyi, beat her and tortured her to extract confessions.
In order to charge Gao Deyu, who is over 70 years old, He Xianzhen, He Zhengqiong and another practitioner, the police counted each page of the confiscated Falun Gong books and booklets as a separate piece of evidence in the indictment statement. In that way, they had over 10,000 pieces of "evidence."
The defense attorneys asked the police officers to demonstrate proof of any actual crime having been committed and also requested the judge to allow the practitioners to appear in court and testify in their own defense, but Judge Yang denied all of these requests.
The three defense attorneys argued that practicing Falun Gong is lawful and passing out truth-clarifying materials is also legal under the Chinese constitution. The attorneys requested that their clients be set free with a verdict of not guilty.
One of the attorneys also brought the Chinese Communist Party's charter and read the relevant items aloud for all to hear in the courtroom. As he noted that, according to the charter, the public can provide their opinion to Party leaders and organizations, and the Party cannot retaliate or seek revenge, the Xichang City 610 Office Deputy Director Chen Qi suddenly shouted at him to "get out."
This session of the trial ran from 9 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. The four Falun Gong practitioners were then escorted out of the courtroom from the side door.