“It’s you who are committing a crime and violating the law,” said one of the defense attorneys to the judges during a trial against three Falun Gong practitioners on April 3, 2014, at the Decheng District Court of Dezhou City, Shandong Province, China.
The three practitioners were Ms. Xu Shiying, Ms. Liu Yuxiu and, Ms. Luo Baoqing.
Defense Attorneys Power-Through Despite Interference
The Decheng District Court officials had interfered with Ms. Liu’s attorneys in many ways, refusing to put authorization stamps on the attorneys’ paperwork and not allowing them to appear in court to defend Ms. Liu. They tried to prevent one of the attorneys from attending the trial by applying pressure on him through the local justice bureau. In the end, these two attorneys still appeared in court.
Despite the interference, the attorneys cooperated with each other well, and thus were able to defend Ms. Liu’s innocence. They urged presiding judge Liu Yinjiang, clerk Bai Xue, public prosecutor Li Yuntao and the police and other agents at the scene to abide by the law, recognize the truth about the persecution, and to stop participating in persecuting Falun Gong.
One of the attorneys told the judges, “It’s you who are committing a crime and violating the law! One day, you will see yourself taking the stand as a defendant! My client is innocent. Please release Ms. Liu immediately!”
During the trial, the attorneys repeatedly demanded the public prosecutor to point to the specific law that states practicing Falun Gong is a crime. The public prosecutor could not respond to this and appeared embarrassed. The presiding judge and the clerk frequently nodded in approval of the attorneys’ speeches.
Ms. Xu also pleaded not guilty based on sound arguments. In the end, Ms. Liu and Ms. Xu both called out, “Falun Gong is good! Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good!” Many in the courtroom, including court officials and police, appeared supportive and moved by the defense.
Public Prevented from Attending the Trial
Early in the morning on the day of the trial, plainclothes police were patrolling outside the Decheng District Court and a vehicle full of backup police hid inside the court’s yard. They didn’t make an appearance until 2 p.m., after the trial ended.
Plainclothes agents also were sitting in the courtroom. Originally three of Ms. Liu’s relatives had permission to witness the court proceedings, but in the end, only her husband was allowed to enter the courtroom.
Zhang Xikun, the chief of the Domestic Security Division of the Decheng District Police Department, and several officers sat behind Ms. Liu’s husband to monitor him during the trial.
Police officers Zhang Xikun, Liu Dawei and others from the Decheng District Police Department arrested six practitioners, including Ms. Xu Shiying, Ms. Liu Yuxiu, Ms. Luo Baoqing, Ms. Guo, Mr. Sun Xiuhai, and Ms. Cheng Bi on September 7, 2013. Since Ms. Xu’s husband cannot take care of himself, she was allowed to return home, although the authorities continued to harass her. However, Ms. Liu and Ms. Luo were illegally detained at the Dezhou City Detention Center for 7 months.
Ms. Xu is in her fifties and she started practicing Falun Gong in 1998. She was arrested and imprisoned multiple times for her faith, and her husband suffered greatly under the mental stress. He eventually suffered a stroke and became partially paralyzed and unable to take care of himself.
Ms. Liu is in her forties and a mother of two. She started practicing Falun Gong in 1996. She lived by the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, and was known for her kindness. Her mother-in-law often told neighbors that she was lucky to have Ms. Liu as a daughter-in-law.