This year marked the 18th year of Falun Gong being persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Many practitioners and their families want to file appeals for their prison sentences. However, the Beijing prison system applies several tactics to stop their appeal efforts.
Falun Gong practitioners usually present several legal arguments.
The authorities cannot win using these arguments. Nevertheless, they bypass the issue and still sentence the practitioner. Beijing’s prison system takes the issue one step further: it prevents practitioners from filing an appeal.
Attorney Visits Obstructed
Mr. Wang Shuxiang
Practitioner Mr. Wang Shuxiang’s wife hired two attorneys to file an appeal for Mr. Wang. The prison denied the attorneys’ requests to visit Mr. Wang on February 9, 2017, claiming that an approval letter from the Beijing Prison Management Bureau Anti-Cult Section was required.
The two attorneys provided the letter on their return to the prison on March 13. The prison still refused the visitation, claiming that the attorneys could not represent or meet Mr. Wang because he did not authorise them to file an appeal.
Mr. Wang’s wife had hired the attorneys. Mr. Wang could not authorise them to file the appeal without meeting with them first.
Ms. Chen Junjie
Mr. Wang’s attorneys also tried to visit practitioner Ms. Chen Junjie. The prison refused any visitation and required an approval letter from the Beijing Prison Management Bureau Anti-Cult Section.
Mr. Zhang Hongru
The mother of practitioner Mr. Zhang Hongru hired two attorneys for his defense. When they tried to visit him, the prison also asked for an approval document from the Beijing Prison Management Bureau Qinghe Sub-Bureau.
This time, the Prison Management Bureau asked that they present the practitioner’s authorisation for representation. The attorneys pointed out that this request was illegal. The bureau staff agreed to give an answer in 24 hours. However, it took three days for the attorneys to reach the staff via phone. This time, the staff asked them to go to the bureau for the approval documentation.
Family Members Threatened
When Mr. Wang Shuxiang’s wife visited him on February 11, the prison demanded that she not address the appeal during her visit.
Mr. Wang’s wife and son were again threatened on their visit on April 11. They were told, “I know your situation. I am warning you officially not to say anything that could affect his thoughts.”
The guards further threatened to deny all visits, as Mr. Wang’s wife had expressed dissatisfaction toward the government earlier. After his wife made multiple visitation requests, the guards forced her to promise not to say anything about Falun Gong before granting her the visit.
Prison officials also pressured Mr. Wang for a statement that he would not meet with an attorney. When he met his wife on April 11, he expressed that he wanted to meet with attorneys.
Mr. Zhang Hongru told his sister on her visit on April 13 that he feared being tortured if he filed an appeal.
Refusing to Pass Legal Papers
Mr. Wang’s wife brought the power of attorney permission letter for him to sign. However, a prison official stated that, given his orders, Mr. Wang could only file a civil case about his pension being “lost,” but not anything relating to a criminal case.
Mr. Wang’s wife said that they wanted to file a criminal case since they had won the civil case already. However, the guard refused to pass the power of attorney letter to Mr. Wang.
When Mr. Zhang Hongru’s sister met with Mr. Zhang on April 13, the guard claimed that the power of attorney letter was useless and refused to pass it to Mr. Zhang.