(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.
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
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
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
To thwart the government's
investigation and ban of the cult, the accused and others
attempted through various means to illegally acquire state
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.
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.
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
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
The four accused and their lawyers
challenged the accusations in court.
present at the trial were individuals from all walks of
life, journalists and relatives of the four accused.