News / Asia

Verdict for Chinese Dissident Expected Sunday

FILE - This July 17, 2009 file photo shows legal scholar Xu Zhiyong at a meeting in Beijing, China.
FILE - This July 17, 2009 file photo shows legal scholar Xu Zhiyong at a meeting in Beijing, China.
VOA News
The lawyer for Chinese dissident Xu Zhiyong, who went on trial on Wednesday, said the verdict will be announced Sunday morning, just days after the one-day trial.

Xu's lawyer, Zhang Qingfang, said he'd been notified in writing by authorities as early as Wednesday, when Xu's trial kicked off, that he would be sentenced on Sunday.
 
“This means that even before the trial, the court had already communicated this and that they had already discussed what the verdict would be and the timing of the sentencing,” Zhang told Reuters by telephone.
 
Zhang said he believed the swift sentencing suggested authorities wanted politically sensitive cases like Xu's to be closed ahead of the March meeting of China's rubber stamp parliament, the National People's Congress.
 
Xu was charged with "gathering crowds to disrupt public order." He stayed silent and did not defend himself at his trial and, if found guilty, could face five years in prison.

Xu, a 40-year-old legal scholar, founded the grassroots New Citizens Movement, which supports democracy and the rule of law and supports a crackdown on corrupt officials.
 
A total of seven New Citizens Movement members are standing trial this week and next. Three others were tried in December, though verdicts have not yet been delivered.

The campaign against the movement exposes the ambivalence in Beijing's bid to root out corruption, even as the authorities claim greater transparency.
 
Xu's trial is China's highest-profile dissident proceeding since 2009, when Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo was put on trial for subversion after he helped organize the “Charter 08” petition, which urged the overthrow of one-party rule. Liu was jailed for 11 years.
 
The Chinese government has intensified a clampdown against the human rights community nationwide over the past year.
 
In Guangzhou on Friday, supporters of activist Liu Yuandong were barred from attending his trial as dozens of uniformed police guarded and blocked access to the area.
 
Rights lawyers including Liu Shihui and Chen Jinxue were manhandled by police according to Twitter posts by supporters, including Cao Yaxue who said Chen had “been wrestled to the ground by several state security officers and beaten.”
 
Liu is accused of gathering a crowd to disrupt public order during a series of street protests last January outside the gates of the Southern Weekly. That protest was against excessive censorship at the influential Chinese newspaper.
 
Several other prominent activists are due to go on trial soon, including Guo Feixiong, who was also detained last year in Guangzhou in connection to the Southern Weekly protests.
 
On Thursday, Zhao Changqing, a veteran dissident, and Hou Xin, a campaigner, also went on trial in Beijing.
 
The U.S. State Department has criticized the crackdown, prompting an angry reaction from Beijing. On Tuesday, China's Foreign Ministry said foreign countries should not interfere with its internal issues.
 
Some information in this report was contributed by Reuters.

You May Like

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Activists for Peace Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified boarder, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs