News / Asia

China Puts More Anti-Corruption Activists on Trial

Zhang Xuezhong (C), a lawyer for Chinese dissident Zhao Changqing, argues with plain-clothed policemen as he refuses to show them his identification card in Beijing, Jan. 23, 2014.
Zhang Xuezhong (C), a lawyer for Chinese dissident Zhao Changqing, argues with plain-clothed policemen as he refuses to show them his identification card in Beijing, Jan. 23, 2014.
TEXT SIZE - +
William Ide
— China is continuing to hold high profile trials of anti-corruption activists this week. On Thursday, court proceedings began for another member of what is called the "New Citizens Movement", a grassroots group that is calling on high-ranking officials to disclose their assets and advocating rule of law.

The trial of Chinese dissident Zhao Changqing ended quickly on Thursday as he dismissed both of his lawyers. Members of the New Citizens Movement say the trials against them are a mockery of the legal process.
 
Zhao's lawyer Zhang Xuezhong said his client's decision to dismiss him is a strategy aimed at delaying the proceedings until after the New Year holiday to try to draw more attention to the case.
 
Zhang said that since there were so many serious irregularities in the way the courts are handling the cases, Zhao dismissed his lawyer to keep the court from quickly wrapping up the case. He said that now the court will have to give him 15 days to find a new lawyer.
 
Members of the group argue that by gathering to raise awareness of, and boost support for, their causes they were only exercising their legal right to freedom of expression and assembly.
 
In addition to Zhao, another member of the group Hou Xin was also tried separately on Thursday. She also maintained her innocence during the hearing.
 
Most of the accused have so far pleaded not guilty in court. One member of the group, a well-known businessman Wang Gongquan was released Wednesday after the court said he confessed to planning and inciting a mob to disturb public order.
 
Members of the New Citizens Movement, including its founder Xu Zhiyong have been accused of orchestrating five rallies in Beijing last year.  Dozens have been taken into custody across the country and at least 10 are on trial in the capital.
 
Xu Zhiyong remained silent during his hearing on Wednesday and only spoke at the end of the proceedings when he tried to deliver a final statement.

Xu's lawyer, Zhang Qingfang, said that although his client’s statement was expected to last 50 minutes, court officials cut him off 10 minutes after he began.

Zhang said that while his concluding remarks were originally divided into nine parts, Xu was cut off when he got to the second part about assets disclosure. The court said it did not want to hear what he was saying and that it had no relevance to the case.
 
In his concluding remarks, Xu asked why China could not set up regulations for assets disclosure when so many other countries have done so? He asked. "What are you afraid of?"
 
He also argued that his case was not about free speech or public order but whether Chinese authorities recognize a citizen's constitutional rights.
 
Zhang said the court was more humane in some ways, urging Xu, a 40 year-old legal scholar, to speak in his defense during the trial rather than remain silent.
 
Zhang said that he and his client are still not satisfied, especially because of the big scale irregularities in the trial, including handling the defendants in the same case separately and not permitting all of the witnesses to appear in court.
 
Despite their alleged crimes of participating in and organizing the same events, members of the New Citizens Movement are being tried separately. Their lawyers say that is a violation of Chinese legal procedure.
 
Five other activists are scheduled to stand trial Beijing and the southern city of Guangzhou on Friday and Monday.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid