A courtroom in Hebei Province recently screened DVDs showing the rising tide of lawsuits against former Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin for launching the persecution of Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa), a spiritual discipline based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
Mr. Zhang Jinsheng was tried in March 2016 by the Gucheng County Court in Hebei Province. He was charged with “using a cult to undermine law enforcement,” a standard pretext used to frame law-abiding Falun Gong practitioners. The prosecutor used items confiscated from Mr. Zhang’s home, including the DVDs, as evidence against him.
Mr. Zhang challenged the judge to play the DVDs for everyone to watch. The judge obliged and the court spectators learned from the screening that the persecution was illegal from the onset, and why practitioners around the country were seeking justice against Jiang Zemin.
Arrest and First Hearing
Mr. Zhang was arrested from his home on August 21, 2015. The first hearing was scheduled for March 4, 2016, but was adjourned before it even started, when the defense lawyer requested that the judges and prosecutor be recused from the trial because of conflict of interest.
Lawyer Protests Police Brutality Against Client
On the day of the second hearing, the judge called for two pre-trial meetings, during which he again turned down the lawyer’s rescheduling request. But the defense lawyer repeatedly pointed out that his client was restrained to a chair for three days in a row and threatened with electric shocks while unscrupulous police officers tried to extract a confession from him. Mr. Zhang’s legs developed symptoms of vein tissue lymphoma as a result.
There Is No Law that Criminalizes Falun Gong
The second hearing began at 11:30 a.m. on March 18. The defense lawyer rebutted the false accusation by stating that there is no law in China that criminalizes Falun Gong, and that there is nothing wrong with the practice.
He also rebutted, point by point, affidavits given by the interrogators.
“My Personal Belongings Are Not Criminal Evidence.”
When the hearing was resumed in the afternoon after a brief recess, the prosecutor read out a list of confiscated items identified as criminal evidence against Mr. Zhang, which included a computer, DVDs, a notebook, a printer, a hard drive, Falun Gong books and materials, as well as some blank paper.
Mr. Zhang admitted that all these items belonged to him, and told the prosecutor that there is no law stipulating that possession of such items is illegal, and therefore they cannot be used as prosecution evidence against him.
Truth-Clarification DVD Played in Court
The prosecutor later took out a DVD and asked Mr. Zhang if he was responsible for the contents. Mr. Zhang replied in the affirmative, and insisted that the DVD be played to prove his innocence.
Upon his insistence, the judge allowed the DVD to be played in court. Soon, images of “Suing Jiang Zemin,” “Bring Jiang Zemin to Justice,” and “Stop Persecuting Falun Gong” were shown on the large video screen in the courtroom.
The defense lawyer argued that none of the content constituted a crime, and on the contrary demonstrated the kindness and compassion of Falun Gong practitioners by exposing the groundless persecution of the practice.
“I Am Innocent. I Should Be Acquitted”
At the end of the hearing, the judge asked the prosecutor if he had anything else to say.
He replied, “No. I hope the accused is dealt with leniently.”
When it was Mr. Zhang’s turn to speak, he said, “I am innocent. Falun Dafa is a righteous practice. I should be acquitted.”
The judge adjourned the proceedings without giving a verdict.