January 21, 2014 | By a Minghui correspondent from Liaoning Province, China
(Minghui.org) The Ganjingzi District Court of Dalian tried Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Zhang Xiaoli on December 31, 2013. The judge refused requests to remove her handcuffs in court. The judge removed her robe and fled the courtroom after the two defense attorneys questioned her competency and qualifications, then filed for her removal from the case.
Court Marshals Ignore Legal Procedures
Ms. Zhang Xiaoli was taken to the courthouse at approximately 9:30 a.m. on the day of the trial. Court marshals stopped her two defense attorneys at the door and attempted to search them. The lawyers protested, “According to provisions of the Supreme Court, attorneys and prosecutors are not subject to a security check.” The marshals replied, “We don’t follow regulations. We only obey court orders. If you don’t submit to a security check, you cannot come in. We don’t care whether or not you’re lawyers.”
At 10:20 a.m., a criminal judge checked the attorneys’ IDs, then went into the courtroom and discussed the case with the judge. At 10:45 a.m. the court clerk allowed the attorneys to enter without a security check. The trial then began, with judge Li Zenglan presiding and jurors Yang Guilan and Chen Feng in attendance.
A Judge Disgraced
At the onset of the trial, the judge and the prosecutors ignored proper court procedures. They prevented the defense attorneys from presenting their case, and ignored their protests until they finished reading the indictment.
The defense attorneys asked the court to remove Ms. Zhang’s handcuffs, but judge Li Zenglan replied, “According to the provisions, handcuffs do not need to be removed.” One defense attorney asked him to identify the provision. Judge Li Zenglan replied, “I don’t have to tell you, it’s an internal regulation.” The defense attorneys then filed to remove the judge. Judge Li asked, “Do attorneys have the right to apply for a judge’s removal?”
The attorneys were surprised at the judge’s ignorance of legal procedures. They read Criminal Procedure Law, Article 31, to the court. The attorneys addressed the judge, “From the beginning of the proceedings, your behavior clearly indicates that you are neither competent nor qualified to handle this case. We ask the court that you be removed as head judge.” Judge Li Zenglan’s face turned bright red. She quickly announced a recess, took off her judge’s robe, and fled the courtroom. The attendees waited for a long time, but she never returned.
A Surprising Announcement
At approximately 11:20 a.m., the court clerk announced that the trial was adjourned, and told everyone to leave. A relative sitting in the courtroom said, “You are just a clerk, only a judge has the authority to make that announcement.”
The clerk replied, “The judge has been disqualified. The attorneys filed to have her removed. She is not coming back.” Those in attendance were astonished.
The Case of Ms. Zhang Xiaoli
Ms. Zhang Xiaoli, 37, is a practitioner from Shenyang, Sujiatun. She was still attending school when the persecution of Falun Gong began in 1999, and was constantly harassed by school authorities and 610 Office agents.
Ms. Zhang was persecuted twice while in school. The first time, she was detained for 15 days. After she returned, the school administrator ordered her to write a guarantee statement, promising to give up her Falun Gong practice. Ms. Zhang refused, and was then given a one-year sentence in a forced labor camp.
After her release, she returned to Liaoning Teacher’s College. So that she could graduate, the school ordered Ms. Zhang’s mother to accompany her to school. Three months before her graduation, Ms. Zhang was arrested again and sentenced to three years in Masanjia Women’s Forced Labor Camp.
Ms. Zhang endured all kinds of torture in the labor camp. She was bound into a tight ball and other inmates sat on her, and she was confined to a small iron cage, unable to stand or squat. She was also not allowed to wash or clean herself for six months, and experienced significant hair loss. Three years later following her release, she found out that she’d been expelled from school. She applied for a new ID, but was never given one due to her Falun Gong background. She currently has no ID and is unable to find a job.
Ms. Zhang had to go to live with her mother. Shortly after, the police attempted to arrest her again. She escaped in the middle of the night wearing only light clothing, and crossed a mountain range to a remote village. She almost froze to death during the journey. A local farmer helped hide her in a horse buggy and took her into the city. She then became homeless and destitute.
Since Ms. Zhang went to college in Dalian, she decided to return there with the help of a friend, and was able to find a job and settle down. A fellow practitioner who had been monitored by the police for a long time came to visit Ms. Zhang and stayed with her for a few days. That practitioner was then arrested, along with Ms. Zhang.
The arresting officers were from Xinzhaizi Police Station, and led by Jiao Jian from the Dalian Domestic Security Division. The officers confiscated her personal items and 20,000 yuan in cash. They dragged her by her hair to the vehicle outside. Her mother, who hadn’t completely recover from a stroke, hurried to Dalian to rescue her daughter. She pleaded that her daughter had been taken away and held for so many years already, and that she desperately needed her help.
Category: Accounts of Persecution