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Four Key Falun Gong Cult Members Sentenced in Beijing
2004-05-30 12:54

(December 26, 1999) Four key members of the banned Falun Gong cult were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 7-18 years by the Beijing No.1 Intermediate People's Court on December 26.

Li Chang, Wang Zhiwen, Ji Liewu and Yao Jie were sentenced to 18, 16,12 and 7 years in prison respectively. They were charged with organizing and using the cult to obstruct justice, causing human deaths by organizing and using the cult, and illegally obtaining state secrets.

On December 15, the No.1 branch of the Beijing People's Procuratorate initiated its public prosecution of the four at the Beijing No.1 Intermediate People's Court.

On December 26 the court held a closed session of the trial specifically dealing with the charge of stealing state secrets, which was followed by an open session for the remaining counts.

Court investigations show that the accused had colluded with Falun Gong leader Li Hongzhi in setting up the organization, in formulating the charter of Falun Gong and related cult rules, and in establishing 39 Falun Gong subheadquarters, 1,900 teaching posts and over 28,000 practicing posts across the country.

The court found that Li Hongzhi and the four accused had organized illegal public demonstrations at government organs and institutions in Beijing, Tianjin and other parts of the country, which seriously disrupted public order. Of the demonstrations, 78 had participation of 300 people or more.

On April 25, 1999, Li Chang and others organized over 10, 000 Falun Gong practitioners from Beijing and elsewhere in the country to stage an illegal sit-in demonstration at the Chinese central leadership compound Zhongnanhai, seriously disrupting the work of government organs, public order and the stability of the Chinese capital.

Later, Li and others, following orders of Li Hongzhi, plotted to gather the practitioners in Beijing, provinces of Jilin and Sichuan and other places in an attempt to oppose the government for a long period of time.

Li Hongzhi and the accused also illegally published Falun Gong promotional materials, raking in a total of 45.13 million yuan ( 5.4 million U.S. dollars) of illegal profit.

The accused and others manipulated the members of the Falun Gong cult to spread heresy -- actions which ultimately led to the deaths of many people. By the end of August this year, over 1,400 Falun Gong practitioners had died as a result of refusing to take medicine because the Falun Gong Cult doesn't believe in medicine and of self-inflicted injuries, or by committing suicide.

To thwart the government's investigation and ban of the cult, the accused and others attempted through various means to illegally acquire state secrets.

Materials containing a total of 37 separate items of secret state information were later retrieved from their residences, the court found.

Li Chang and others also leaked the top-secret information in Falun Gong articles and open letters to the government, causing serious consequences.

The court held that the accused had willingly acted in accordance with Li Hongzhi in disregarding laws, and committed a host of serious crimes, including organizing and employing cults, obstructing justice, causing human deaths, and illegally obtaining state secrets.

Li Chang, Wang Zhiwen and Ji Liewu were the principal culprits in the crimes and Yao Jie was an accessory, and each should be punished accordingly, the court said.

However, in view of the fact that Li Chang and Yao Jie confessed to their participation in the planning and organizing of the illegal public demonstrations at government organs and media institutions, and showed some repentance by acknowledging the true nature of the Falun Gong cult, the court showed leniency in their sentences.

The court, in line with the Criminal Law and the explanations of the Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuratorate on criminal activities of cults, sentenced Li Chang to 18 years in prison on the three charges and stripped him of his political rights for 5 years.

Wang Zhiwen, Ji Liewu and Yao Jie were sentenced to 16 years, 12 years and 7 years respectively and deprived of their political rights for 4 years, 2 years and 1 year.

The four accused and their lawyers challenged the accusations in court.

Also present at the trial were individuals from all walks of life, journalists and relatives of the four accused.

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