Li Haishan was charged with “undermining the implementation of law” because he practices Falun Gong, which is banned in China.
Held in custody since early March, Li was tried on criminal charges at the Tangyuan County Court in Heilongjiang Province, China, on June 16. His trial ended without a verdict, and he awaits his fate from prison.
His ordeal began on March 5, when local Jiamusi City police seized him at the Tangyuan County Cultural Center where he worked and brought him to his home for a search.
There police found several banned books: Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party (a series of editorials published by The Epoch Times, ) Dissolution of Party Culture, and Zhuan Falun (the complete teachings of Falun Gong.) Because of his possession of these books, Li was held in criminal custody and detained at the Tangyuan County Detention Center.
Attorney Li Xiongbin, of the Beijing Gao Bo Longhua Law Firm, defended the accused on the basis of freedom of religion, the legal facts, and the general foundation of the case. The attorney described the trial in an interview:
“The judge basically granted the right to a defense; however, I was interrupted several times and discouraged from talking about freedom of religion,” the attorney said.
“It is necessary to analyze the impact of his belief in Falun Gong on his health, his work, and his family. I believe these should be within the scope of the inquiry. However, I did not get to elaborate on that fully during the trial. The prosecutor objected, and the judge sustained the objection.”
“My feeling about this trial is that I am not sure who we are really judging and who the defendant has really hurt,” he said.
According to the attorney, his client, a Falun Gong practitioner for more than 10 years, had earned his good reputation among coworkers, relatives, neighbors, and friends for his willingness to help and for his friendliness.
“Many local people heard of the case and attended the hearing, mainly because of the defendant's good reputation. Everyone agrees that Li Haishan is a good man. The court allowed around 40 people to sit in. Other than the judicial police in the front row, the public gallery was completely occupied.”
Li's attorney explained, “The difference between this and other cases is that the defendant maintained an attitude of peace and humility. There was no confrontation or hatred on his part. Li Haishan only feels that people need to learn the truth—that truth, compassion, and tolerance are the principles of Falun Gong.
“Many who witnessed the trial had the opportunity to learn the truth. He's calm about the price he has paid. He only wishes to wake up society.”
“At the end of the trial, the defendant stated that the detention center's staff has been relatively friendly to him since none believe him to be a criminal or a danger to the public. He conveyed his appreciation for this through the court.
“When the trial finished, I walked out of the courtroom with Li Haishan. No one in the public gallery left; many more were waiting outside of the court. They watched him with regret as he left in the police car.
“The court did not make the final verdict, which is subject to the Office of Collegiate and the Collegial Committee. I don't think it will result in acquittal. It's hard to say, but I just don't think the Tangyuan County Court has the guts and courage.”
Li Xiongbin concluded the interview by saying, “The Chinese Communist Party's comprehensive, intense measures—judicial and administrative—against Falun Gong practitioners over the past 10 years have proven a failure.
“Consequently, many have lost their freedom, and the national judicial resources have been wasted. This is worthy of retrospection by the Party.”