On March 27, 2007, Chi Jianwei, a member of the Zhejiang Democratic Party was found guilty of “using a cult to undermine the enforcement of law,” in the Court of Shangcheng District, Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province.
He was then sentenced to three years in prison. Chi's 85-year-old mother was shattered by the news and attempted to commit suicide by jumping off a building. Fortunately, Chi's friends managed to stop her in time.
She told The Epoch Times: “I can't live anymore … I can hardly breathe after hearing the news. He is my only son, and I have brought him up to be the good person that he is, and now he gets framed like this! I might as well go to jail with him!”
Chi's friends and defense attorney were outraged by the verdict, condemning it as an absurdly blatant abuse of the justice system by the Chinese authorities.
More than one hundred democracy activists, including Wang Donghai, Zhu Yufu, Lu Gengsong, Ren Weiren, Xu Guang and Yang Zaixin, started a petition on March 28 to protest the verdict and collect donations in support for Chi's family.
In October of 2006, Chi was arrested by plain-cloth police officers during an activity for human rights protection with Zhu Yufu. Afterward, police searched his home and found a video disc of the Nine Commentaries of the Communist Party. In order to gather evidence against Chi, police summoned many democracy activists such as Jin Biao, Yang Jianming, Xu Guang, and Wu Yuanming. On November 21, Chi was charged with suspicion of “using a cult to undermine the enforcement of law.”
Zhu Yufu expressed to The Epoch Times his belief that Chi is innocent and has done nothing to break the law. According to Zhu, Chi is a victim of political persecution.
He went on to say that the whole legal proceeding did not follow the law of the land, and that the outcome had all been predetermined before the trial even began. Furthermore, during the process of investigation, the prosecution verbally misled Chi's friends in order to gather statements as evidence against Chi.
Zhu went on record saying, “I saw the whole thing very clearly and it makes me furious. The justice system is corrupt, and has degenerated into a tool for the Chinese communist regime to enforce its dictatorship. The legal system is not going to help Chi, so we will have to help him with our conscience and share a part of the suffering. We will all help in looking after his mother and provide financial support. We also hope that good people overseas can lend a helping hand.”
Fan Ziliang said, “I have met Falun Gong practitioners in jail, and they were all very good people, but the communist regime insists on persecuting them in very inhuman ways. Now we have someone like Chi Jianwei, who doesn't even practice Falun Gong but was still sentenced and thrown in jail just for having information about Falun Gong in his hands. That is just too evil.”
Lu Gengsong said Chi was sentenced to prison because the authorities believe that he was distributing video discs containing information about Falun Gong. Such a trial lacks any basis from either factual or legal perspectives. There was no physical evidence, no proper legal document, and no verifiable testimony by any witnesses.
Lu went on to say that, “Jianwei is single and living solely with his 80-year-old mother. He is a good son. After he was arrested, his mother cried everyday, hoping for her son's return. The bad news has deprived her of her will to live. We are calling for support from overseas.”