Despite defence attorney Zhang Chuanli's convincing arguments, Wuzhong District Court officials in Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province handed Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Shi Jianping a four-year prison sentence on December 16th, 2009.
Details of the Trial Process
Attorney Zhang Chuanli and Ms. Shi's family and friends, nine in all, arrived at the courthouse on time, at 1:00 pm on December 16th, 2009. Exiting their cars, they noticed several police vehicles parked in front of the courthouse and a couple of plainclothes policemen walking around. About nine policemen guarded the courthouse entrance. Zhang Jinfang from the town's 610 Office (an organisation of special agents just for persecuting Falun Gong) and several agents from the district 610 Office were also there.
At the request of the police, Ms. Shi's husband Mr. Shen Jiandong produced his ID card and was admitted, so were his daughter, older sister and mother-in-law. Officials prevented three of Mr. Shen Jindong's relatives to enter, and police let them in only when the trial was about to begin. Mr. Shen's friend and his wife's friend couldn't get in because their names were not on the police's list. The family was ordered to hand over their mobile phones and other personal belongings. They noticed several plainclothes policemen entering from a side door. The police sat in the first row, while the family was seated in the second row.
The trial began at 1:40 pm. Mr. Shen Jiandong was finally able to see his wife Ms. Shi Jianping, whom he hadn't seen for more than eight months. Her hair had turned grey, and her now thin face had a yellowish complexion.
The presiding judge read aloud the following "evidence" that the public prosecutor had collected:
1. The public prosecutor listed eight eye-witnesses who claimed to have picked up Falun Gong items in various places. Attorney Zhang pointed out that someone having found Falun Gong items had nothing to do with whether or not the defendant committed a crime, and that there was no evidence that suggests that the defendant had distributed those Falun Gong items.
2. The public prosecutor claimed the police found similar items during their ransacking of Ms. Shi's home on April 12th, 2009, which proved that the defendant handed out those items. Attorney Zhang immediately pointed out that anything found in Ms. Shi's home was personal belongings. There is a law stipulating keeping firearms and drugs is a crime, but there is no law stating it constitutes a crime to keep Falun Gong items.
3. The public prosecutor said there was a video clip from the police monitor showing the defendant distributing Falun Gong items. Attorney Zhang requested the video clip be played in the courthouse, but the public prosecutor declined to do so.
4. Attorney Zhang pointed out that the public prosecutor cited the law inappropriately. The Public Safety Ministry and the Supreme Court have a list of 14 cults, but Falun Gong has never been on the list. Therefore, citing article 300 of the Criminal Law Code to deal with this case is wrong. The judge replied that the nature of Falun Gong is beyond the scope of his court. He then questioned the defendant on whether or not she handed out the above-mentioned items. Ms. Shi firmly denied the allegation.
5. The prosecutor asked the defendant if the confessions she made in the police department were her own words. Ms. Shi replied that she was forced to say those words. After her arrest at 5:00 pm on April 12th, 2009, eight policemen took turns interrogating her for five consecutive days. She was forbidden to sleep for five nights, until the 16th. They used her daughter during the interrogation to threaten her and forced her confession under duress. Attorney Zhang pointed out that the Supreme Court has long stipulated that confessions extracted under torture and duress should not be used against a defendant. These "confessions" obtained after five days of interrogation were clearly extracted under duress.
6. The public prosecutor claimed that photographs exist showing that the defendant was at various places distributing Falun Gong items. Ms. Shi pointed out that she was taken to those places after her arrest and that the police snapped those photos for the purpose of framing her. She had never been to those places prior to her arrest.
The judge then announced a 10-minute break.
When the trial resumed, the judge handed Ms. Shi Jianping a four-year sentence.
Early in November 2009, Ms. Shi's husband Mr. Shen Jiandong learned from others that she would be handed a more than three-year sentence. The court had already discussed his wife's case. The trial was only a show, and they would not listen to the attorney's defence.
Background of the Case
Not long after Ms. Shi Jianping began Falun Gong practice in 1999, she recovered from several chronic illnesses. She was on her way home on April 12th, 2009, when Mudu Police Station agents seized her at around 4:45 pm. Policeman Yin Quanyuan led six plainclothes police officers to her home and ransacked it, even before a search warrant was issued. They confiscated her computer, printer and Falun Gong books, without giving her family a list of confiscated items.
2. Husband Detained for Six Hours for Requesting Her Release
Mr. Shen Jiandong called policeman Yin Quanyuan in early November, asking for the return of his wife's electric bike and purse. Yin replied that he had to wait for the district 610 Office to make a decision.
Mr. Shen's father went to see the deputy village (Chinese Communist Party (CCP) party secretary Shen Junan on November 27th, hoping that he could report the family's difficulties to the higher-ups: Ms. Shi Jianping had school age children and two elderly parents in their 70s that needed care. He petitioned for Ms. Shi Jianping's early release, but Shen Junan turned it down. Moreover, he called in several people to drive the elderly man out of the building.
Mr. Shen Jiandong and his older sister went to plead with Shen Junan the next morning but were met with rude replies. Mr. Shen Jiandong accidentally knocked down and broke an ashtray during their discussion. Shen Junan immediately called 110 ("911" equivalent). Police arrived to take Mr. Shen to a police station, where he was kept from 10 am to 4 pm. The police forced Mr. Shen Jiandong to sign a statement promising that he was not going to come and ask for his wife's release.
3. Local Departments Threatened Family to Fire Defence Attorney Zhang
Upon learning that Mr. Shen Jiandong had hired Attorney Zhang from the Jingshun Law Firm in Beijing, Mudu Police Station chief Xu Yongliang and secretary Wang from the town in charge of political and judiciary matters ordered someone to pressure Mr. Shen to fire the attorney. The official promised to lobby for a lighter sentence and to reimburse the attorney's fees in return. Mr. Shen firmly refused.
Between September and October in 2009, policeman Yin Quanyuan called Mr. Shen Jiandong, indicating that the district 610 Office head and the town 610 Office head Zhang Jinfang wanted to talk to him. The group at the village police office once again told the family to drop the attorney, claiming that Ms. Shi Jianping may get a lighter sentence as a result. Mr. Shen Jiandong said, "As a citizen, I have the right to hire an attorney to defend my wife. If you guys feel confident, let's go to trial. Why should I fire the attorney?" Seeing the lighter sentence tactic didn't work, they then tried to intimidate Mr. Shen, "Such lack of co-operation will do your family no good! Shi Jianping will only get a heavier sentence, since the court will not listen to the attorney. The court belongs to the government and the CCP. The government will also decide the trial date."
Zhang Jinfang from the town's 610 Office found Mr. Shen Jiandong on December 2nd, 2009 for the third time, saying that the district 610 Office sent her to talk to him. She said that they knew Mr. Shen's family had financial difficulties and offered to provide financial aid if the family drops the attorney. She again promised that they would cover the attorney's fees. Mr. Shen Jiandong replied that he only wanted his wife back, not money.
4. Mudu Police Station Held Ms. Shi Jianping's Aunt Dai Sumei for 17 Hours
The day before the trial, Mudu Police Station sent agents to follow Ms. Shi Jianping's aunt Dai Sumei, who is also a practitioner. The police went to her workplace and called her home numerous times that afternoon. When Ms. Dai returned home at 10:30 pm, she found a car parked west of her apartment building with two people inside. Not long after she went inside, deputy police chief Zhu Wenyuan led eight people to her third floor apartment.
The policemen broke into her home and said to Ms. Dai, "Come with us. We need to talk to you." Ms. Dai's son asked, "How did you get in? Do you have a legal warrant?" Zhu replied, "Step aside. Your mother is on bail, and we can arrest her as we wish." He pulled Ms. Dai up, and five of his agents took her away. Ms. Dai shouted, "Falun Gong is good," and was stuffed into police vehicle. At the Mudu Police Station, Zhu Wenyuan asked her where she went on that day and also where she was on the 10th, when another practitioner was on trial. Ms. Dai replied that she had no reason to tell him that.
Zhu left without getting anything out of Ms. Dai. On the second day, policeman Zhang Julin arrived to ask the same two questions while she was at the station. Ms. Dai again refused to answer and told him that she had the right to remain silent. When Zhang demanded that Ms. Dai sign a paper, she refused. They released Ms. Dai at 4:00 pm.
5. Wuzhong District 610 Office Agents Threatened the Family for the Fourth Time to Fire the Defence Attorney
At around 2:45 pm on December 25th, 2009, Mudu Women's Affairs Office Head Tan Jindi, Mudu Comprehensive Management Office Head Zhang Jinfang, Zhang from the Wuzhong District, and Bao and He Xiaodi from Suzhou City came to harass Ms. Dai Sumei at home. They told her that Ms. Shi Jianping was given four years, and then asked if she knew whether or not Ms. Shi would appeal. When Ms. Dai replied no, they said, "If the family wants to appeal, don't use any Beijing attorney that will argue her innocence. If you use a local attorney and admit wrongdoing, she may get a lighter sentence."
Zhu Wenyuan: 86-512-66260977 (Office), 86-13776024222(Mobile)
Chinese version available at http://www.minghui.org/mh/articles/2010/1/3/215603.html
You are welcome to print and circulate all articles published on Clearharmony and their content, but please quote the source.