Puppets of the 610 Office: How the Chinese Court System Persecutes Falun Gong
17 September 2014
For the last 15 years, the Chinese Communist Party has been leading an oppressive persecution of the peaceful spiritual practice Falun Gong, resulting in the unjust incarceration of countless Falun Gong practitioners in prisons and forced labour camps.
The 610 Office (an organisation of special agents just for persecuting Falun Gong) was established on June 10th, 1999, for the specific task of implementing the persecution nationwide.
But the office alone is not enough to jail this many innocent people; the courts, manipulated by the Party, do much of the Party’s bidding. Here are a few examples to illustrate how these puppet courts execute their version of justice.
A Judge Warns Lawyers Not to Defend Falun Gong
May 13th, 2010. Xichang City Court, Sichuan Province. Four Falun Gong practitioners were being put on trial for passing out Falun Gong-related materials. Before the trial proceedings started, Judge Yang Bo gave instructions to their three defence attorneys.
“You’re not allowed to argue in favour of Falun Gong, nor question the government’s stance on it,” he said. He then referenced a document supposedly issued by the Supreme People’s Court that stated so; however, when one of the attorneys asked to see the document in question, Yang Bo suddenly insisted that the document was “internal” and “not for public viewing”.
Unfazed by what seems to be an empty claim, the defence team eventually argued for a “not guilty” verdict on the premise that since practising Falun Gong is perfectly lawful and does not promote any illegal activity, the act of promoting such a practice should be legal as well.
Fearing Consequences from the 610 Office, the Court Detains an Innocent Person
July 25th, 2011. Shuangqiao District Procuratorate. Chengde City, Hebei Province. Like the three practitioners above, Ms. Zhao Baoli was also up for trial for the production and distribution of Falun Gong materials.
Her attorneys had prepared a solid defence with a sound legal basis, which when coupled with her own earnest testament to her innocence, had left Judge Tan Zhen, Deputy Head Wei Wenkui, Head of Court Song Yimin – and even prosecutor Cai Jijun – at a loss.
Ms. Zhao’s case ended up being tried a total of three times. Even though the court never did succeed in convicting her, she was not released due to pressure placed on the court by the local 610 Office.
Judge Tells Lawyer: “We are not in charge”
June 1st, 2009. Bao Yongsheng and two other practitioners were brought to trial with a prosecutor who made a spectacle of himself with his bizarre behaviour.
Shen Xiangfu seemingly forgot all notion of courtroom etiquette, screaming and shouting wildly during his argument as well as the defence’s.
After the defence requested that he allow them their allotted time to speak, he began the childish endeavour of noise-making with a water bottle. When this failed to work, he resorted to taking frequent bathroom breaks to filibuster proceedings.
Shen Xiangfu evidently believed that he needed to resort to such juvenile tactics because he had no answer to the defence. After all, how was one to argue that practising Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance was a crime? That being a good person was detrimental to society? That having good health and good moral standards were somehow bad for China?
The judges knew this, but they were reluctant to do the right thing.
“Well, what do you want us to do?” they asked.
The defence replied, “We want the immediate release of Zhang Peixun, Bao Yongsheng, and Li Congfu.”
The judges then immediately adjourned the trial. When the practitioners’ family members tried to meet with the accused, they were stopped and told that “further discussion was needed” to determine the practitioners’ fate.
Meanwhile, the judges had one last thing to say to the defence team behind closed doors: “We are not in charge. This case will need to go to a higher authority.”
Authority meaning, of course, the 610 Office. Bao and company were sentenced to 11-year terms just two weeks later.
610 Office Pressures Shenyang Court to Sentence Late-stage Cancer Patient to Prison
August 2011. Xinqu Court, Shenbei District. Shenyang City, Liaoning Province. Despite winning her trial, practitioner Wang Min – a late-stage cancer patient – was given a prison term of four and a half years due to the influence of the 610 Office.
What’s worse, this makes for her second imprisonment, her first having been for five years. To the presiding judge, Ms. Wang had stated firmly, “My practice of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is not a crime. However, if you convict me, your actions will amount to a crime.”
In response to that, Judge Chen Kexue had only the following words: “If the Communist Party wants it done, I have no choice.”
Court Official: “If they don’t go to prison, we will.”
October 19th, 2012. Suibin County Court. Hegang City, Heilongjiang Province. Five Falun Gong practitioners were sentenced despite no evidence of a crime having been committed.
Hoping for justice, they appealed to the Hegang Intermediate Court, which, as expected, upheld the original sentence without any trial or statement justifying their decision.
One of the court officials admitted, “We know that these Falun Gong practitioners are all good people. However, if they don’t go to prison, we will.”
These few examples are just a microcosm of what happens every day; many other Falun Gong-related cases are handled similarly every year. And if this Party-sponsored system of kangaroo courts continue to run rampant in China, unfair rulings like the ones above will only continue.