August 16, 2013 | By a Minghui correspondent in Gansu Province, China
(Minghui.org) After the trial of Mr. Chen Deguang, 67, and his wife Ms. Sheng Chunmei on April 20, 2013, no news was heard about them for a long time. On June 13, their lawyer contacted Judge Zhang Xuelin, and was told that the verdict would be out in a month, as the sentence needed to be approved by the Political and Legal Affairs Committee (PLAC). Mr. Chen has now been detained for two years.
Mr. Chen was born in 1946 and lived on Haishiwan Datong Road in the Honggu District. He worked at the now-defunct Northwest Branch of the No. 4 Metallurgical Construction Company. He used to suffer from back pain, bone spurs and gastroptosis. He smoked heavily and drank alcohol everyday. After he started to practice Falun Gong his illnesses soon disappeared, and he also stopped smoking and drinking.
Since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) started the persecution of Falun Gong, Mr. Chen has been severely beaten, resulting in a broken rib, and was put in a forced labor camp. His family has also been harassed from time to time.
Mr. Chen and Ms. Sheng were arrested by officers from Huazhuang Police Station on July 7, 2011 when they were distributing Shen Yun Performing Arts DVDs in Huazhuang Township, Honggu District, Lanzhou City. Mr. Chen was taken to Honggu Detention Center, and was then transferred to Lanzhou No. 2 Detention Center. Ms. Sheng was released on parole for health reasons.
A year after Ms. Sheng was released on parole, police told her that she needed to go to the police station to sign some documents. However, she refused to go. The police then went looking for her, and finally found her by tracking her cell phone. They forced their way in through the window and did not show any identification. Ms. Sheng was arrested and taken to the Lanzhou City No. 1 Detention Center.
Officials from Lanzhou Middle Court planned to hold a trial for Mr. Chen in June 2012, under the pretext of article 300 of the criminal law, which is “using superstitious sects [cults] to undermine the implementation of the law,” and the crime of endangering national security. But it was postponed indefinitely due to intervention by the Lanzhou City PLAC. At the end of July 2012, the court further authorized the arrest of his wife, Ms. Sheng. Officials from Yingtan Road Police Station of Anning District, Honggu District Police Department and the Lanzhou Medium Court cooperated together to carry out the arrest. In late September 2012, officials from the court notified her lawyer that the case had been withdrawn, but the police still would not release her.
Although the law stipulates that the trial notice must be received by the lawyer three days before the trial date, Mr. Chen’s family members did not receive notice that he was to be tried on March 22 until the afternoon of March 20. The lawyer was only given verbal notice the same day as the family members, and the written notice was not received until the morning of March 21. When the court clerk called the lawyer to tell him that they were going to mail out the notice, the clerk said that he did not know when the trial would be. Because they did not receive the notice in time, the lawyer was unable to attend the trial in time.
The lawyer and Mr. Chen’s family members tried to talk to Judge Zhang on the afternoon of March 20 and for the whole day on March 21, to get the trial date delayed. However, the judge refused. The lawyer immediately took a flight to get to the trial but still could not get there on time. As a result, a decision was made to sue the judge for refusing to postpone the trial.
Mr. Chen’s family members went to the court at 9 a.m. on March 22 for the trial, which was to start at 10 a.m.. They tried to talk to judge Zhang again. Zhang said: “Since the lawyer could not come, ask them to write an application for the postponement and fax it over.” However, the lawyer could not do it because he was in the middle of some other business. The judge urged Mr. Chen’s family members to dismiss their lawyer and take a court appointed lawyer for free. The family rejected her firmly, saying, “Either you postpone the trial, or you try the case now and we will sue you.”
The judge later told Mr. Chen’s family members to write another postponement application, saying that it was needed for a discussion with her superiors. The judge and court officials had a meeting from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and could not come to a decision. They then had to announce the postponement of the trial.
Mr. Chen’s lawyer was later able to talk with Mr. Chen when Mr. He Jianzhong was tried. He was told that the judge and the head of the court were trying their best to force Mr. Chen to dismiss their lawyer and accept a court appointed lawyer for free. But Mr. Chen was firm, telling them that he only wanted his lawyer and no one else.
Parties involved in the persecution of Mr. Chen
Zhang Xueling (张雪林), trial judge of Honggu District Court: +86-13609381509, +86-931-6229874
Category: Accounts of Persecution