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.
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

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More