Lawyer Representing Falun Gong Practitioners Sentenced to Two Years
A Guangzhou attorney who defended Falun Gong practitioners was charged with “sabotaging law enforcement” and sentenced to two years in prison on July 13. Zhu Yubiao is the first attorney in Guangdong Province to openly defend Falun Gong practitioners and has represented three adherents so far.
The verdict against Zhu was primarily based on Falun Gong materials being found in his home – ones which were, according to the indictment, “not yet distributed,” including books and CD-ROMs. According to the indictment Zhu had “prearranged the materials to create the conditions and prepare for committing crimes.”
Zhu refused to sign the legal instruments and declared he will appeal the verdict. His defense lawyer Liu Zhengqing said Zhu is innocent and the verdict is unjust.
Zhu’s mother argued that “preparation for committing crimes” means that he did not commit any crime at all; therefore, the charge against him is unfounded and that’s why the Procuratorate returned his case twice for lack of evidence.
She said the 610 Office, an extralegal taskforce set up to persecute Falun Gong in 1999, later fabricated evidence to frame him. In a contradictory statement, the authorities said that “there were no external influences except that Falun Gong books and CDs were found at his home.”
Falun Gong involves doing five sets of meditative exercises and studying spiritual teachings based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. It spread rapidly across China after being introduced to the public in 1992.
The Chinese Communist Party began a nationwide campaign to “eradicate” the practice in July 1999, after the then paramount leader, Jiang Zemin, became enraged that Falun Gong had more adherents than there were members of the CCP, and that many Party members were believers.
Zhu’s mother said her son is innocent and the sentence against him is illegal: “Everything he has done is legal. Defending Falun Gong practitioners is legal. Freedom of belief is legal.”
On Aug. 18 last year more than 10 plainclothes police abducted him after ransacking his home and confiscating his books and computer. Before officially indicting him, the Guangzhou Haizhu District Procuratorate twice returned the case due to lack of evidence
Zhu was secretly tried on May 5, 2011. However, the authorities refused to let his mother appear in court as Zhu’s legal representative, or even be in court at all.
Prior to the trial, the neighborhood committee and 610 Office personnel told Zhu’s mother that they would go with her and sit in the courtroom. In the car they pretended they were phoning the court, but afterwards told her that they did not have a court permit to sit in. Instead, they drove her to a distant location to “drink tea.” After Zhu’s mother’s strongly insisted, they drove her to Haizhu District Court, only to find that the trial had already ended.
One of the two defense lawyers Zhu’s family hired was pressured into cancelling his contract to defend him, and the other lawyer, Liu Zhengqing, was detained for a month in March for “inciting subversion of state power.”
Zhu’s mother said the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of Falun Gong has ruined her family. “It has been 11 months now [since my son was taken from home]. We are not allowed to visit or call him. His son was less than one year old when he was imprisoned the first time. When they took him away last year, his son was only a little over four. His wife has no job.”
She said: “My husband and I are both 75 years old and we need someone to take care of us, especially my husband who has cardiovascular disease. It’s expensive to live in Guangzhou. His wife and son could not afford it and had to return to her parent’s home. Her parents and we are providing her with some financial support.”
Prior to this case, as a result of his work defending Falun Gong practitioners, Zhu was abducted on Feb. 11, 2007 by Domestic Security police and subjected to more than 20 kinds of torture, he said. Afterwards, he was sentenced to 18 months forced labor under the charge of “counterrevolution.”
After he was released, he refused the Justice Bureau’s demand to write a statement to guarantee that he will no longer defend Falun Gong practitioners. Consequently he did not pass the annual performance review and his license to practice the law was revoked. On Aug.18, 2010, he was once again taken from home for defending a Falun Gong practitioner.
Liu Wei, another attorney whose license was revoked by Beijing judicial authorities for representing a Falun Gong practitioner in 2009, said, “When a lawyer takes a case, they only think about defending the client from the legal point of view. They never thought they would be harassed themselves.”
Read the original Chinese article.