The one-day court procedure for the Vancouver resident and businesswoman was a sham, said Sun’s sister by phone from Beijing.
“It was a show trial,” said Sun Zan. “In addition, though it was claimed to be a public trial, it was virtually a secret trial.”
Only four of Sun’s immediate family members and three representatives from the Canadian embassy in Beijing were allowed to attend the trial, Sun Zan said. Everyone else, including Sun’s aunt, her former legal counsels, her friends, a Western journalist, and diplomats from the U.K. and Netherlands were refused entry, she said.
Sun spoke up in court asserting her innocence and her right to practise Falun Gong, her sister said.
Sun was the vice president of the multi-billion-dollar company Beijing Leadman Biochemistry Co. Ltd. and often travelled to China on business. On Feb. 19, 2017, over two dozen police broke into her home in Beijing and took her away because she is an adherent of Falun Gong, also called Falun Dafa, a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline that has been subjected to persecution by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Sun, 52, has since been held in the No. 1 Detention Centre in Beijing where she has faced abuse, torture, and intense brainwashing sessions with the aim of having her renounce her faith.
Xie Yanyi, one of Sun’s former lawyers, describes her case as “political persecution.”
“This case was a frame-up right from the beginning. It was wrongful arrest and detention. It is completely against the principle of burden of proof in criminal law,” Xie said.
“It is all illegal, from arresting her, ransacking her home, torture, and depriving her of her right to counsel.”
Xie and another former legal counsel of Sun were blocked from attending the court proceedings.
Former justice minister Irwin Cotler, who acts as Sun’s counsel in Canada, said her imprisonment “is a dramatic case study in the criminalization of innocence—the persecution and prosecution of an innocent woman, not for anything she has done, but for whom she is: the bearer of truth, compassion, and tolerance.”
“The persecution and prosecution of the Falun Gong for affirming ancient Chinese values of truth, compassion, and tolerance constitute a cruel and relentless state-sanctioned assault on human rights and the rule of law in China, ” he said in a statement.
Cotler listed 10 ways in which Sun’s rights have been violated, including arbitrary and illegal arrest, prolonged and illegal detention, torture in detention threatening both her physical and mental well-being, and a pattern of harassment and intimidation of over 11 lawyers who have sought to take up her case.
“As counsel to Sun Qian, I join her lawyers in China in calling on Chinese authorities to honour their own values and rule of law, to seize and desist from their persecution and prosecution of Sun Qian, to respect international treaties and covenants to which China is a state party, and to release Sun Qian unconditionally and permit her to return and to rejoin her family in Canada,” he wrote.
Xie said Sun’s case, like the case of any typical Falun Gong practitioner, violates Chinese laws against prosecuting people for their beliefs.