Handicapped Practitioner Sentenced to Seven Years

When Mr. Gong Ziliang, who is handicapped, went to Beijing to appeal for his right to earn a living as a pedicab driver and to have his pedicab returned, he was arrested for practising Falun Gong. He was secretly sentenced to seven years in prison.

Wang Fuzhong, mayor of Datong County, and Wang Fengrui, secretary of the Datong County Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Committee, ordered local police to detain Mr. Gong and had him taken to the Chenzhuang Detention Centre.

Mr. Gong's case was submitted to the Datong Intermediate Court on June 16th. His family hired an attorney who was supposed to plead not guilty on behalf of his client. The Datong Intermediate Court refused to listen to the attorney's defence, because they were not in court.

Mr. Gong was then tried secretly on July 3rd. Neither his family nor anyone else was notified. Mr. Gong was sentenced to seven years in prison and taken to Qi County Prison in Taiyuan City, Shanxi Province.

Mr. Gong, who is from Datong County, Shanxi Province, is a pedicab driver. He had had polio as a youth and was crippled. The Datong County government issued an order forbidding handicapped pedicab drivers to drive on public roads, and confiscated their pedicabs without providing them with another way to make a living.

Mr. Gong and other pedicab drivers went to Beijing on May 21st, 2014, to appeal to the higher authorities for a reversal of the mandate. The Appeals Office didn't offer any response on the issue of forbidding handicapped pedicab drivers to drive on public roads or the confiscation of their pedicabs. After learning that Mr. Gong practises Falun Gong, they detained him but let the other drivers go.

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