Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - China finds lawyer who exposed torture allegations guilty of inciting subversion



China finds lawyer who exposed torture allegations guilty of inciting subversion

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
This handout file video frame grab taken and released by Changsha Intermediate People's Court on August 22 shows Chinese rights lawyer Jiang Tianyoung appearing in court in Changsha in Hunan province. Changsha Intermediate People's Court/AFP

China finds lawyer who exposed torture allegations guilty of inciting subversion

Chris Buckley

BEIJING — A Chinese human rights lawyer who has supported the families of other lawyers and activists detained in a sweeping crackdown since 2015 was declared guilty on Tuesday of inciting subversion by a court in southern China and sentenced to two years in prison.

The defendant, Jiang Tianyong, told the court in Changsha, capital of Hunan province, that he would not appeal. But his family, human rights groups and other supporters have condemned his trial in August as a carefully staged sham, and rights advocates called the verdict a vendetta after Jiang helped bring to light another lawyer’s allegations that he had been brutalised in custody.

The Hunan Intermediate People’s Court announced the sentencing of Jiang over Sina.com Weibo, a popular Chinese social media service, and the judge made clear that Jiang was being held up as a warning to other activist lawyers who challenge the strict control of President Xi Jinping, the Communist Party leader.

“Jiang Tianyong had for a long time come under the influence of anti-Chinese infiltration, and gradually formed the idea of overturning the country’s existing political system,” said the decision from the court, which, like others in China, answers to the Communist Party. Without offering details, the court described Jiang as an agent for foreign forces hostile to the party’s rule.

The most specific charge against Jiang was that he had engaged in subversion by helping publicise the claims of another detained lawyer, Xie Yang, who said he had been tortured in custody, according to documents his lawyers shared early this year. Xie later retracted his claims at a trial in May that his wife and other supporters said was a show hearing.

Jiang, 46, had taken up contentious legal causes for more than a decade, including on behalf of members of Falun Gong, a banned spiritual sect. His clients included Chen Guangcheng, the human rights activist who fled to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing before moving to the United States.

The government took away Jiang’s license to practice law in 2009, but he kept supporting dissidents and activists, even after July 2015, when the Chinese government initiated a wide clampdown. He was taken into custody last November, and at least part of his time in pretrial detention may be counted as part of his prison term. The court announcement did not specify a date of scheduled release.

Another activist detained and tried in the crackdown is still waiting for his verdict. Wu Gan, widely known by his internet handle “Super Vulgar Butcher,” stood trial on subversion charges in August. That hearing was not broadcast, and the court has yet to announce a decision.

MOST VIEWED

  • Companies listed on CSX receive 50% deduction on income tax

    Tax incentives are granted to companies that have listed their shares or issued debt securities on the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX), whether they are small to medium-sized enterprises or large companies. The nine stock listed companies on the CSX – with seven listed on the Main

  • Siem Reap drain canal now ‘mangrove’ promenade

    A more than half a kilometre long stretch of canal in Siem Reap has been covered and turned into a promenade to attract visitors, said Ly Rasmey, secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, on September 16. The new pedestrianised

  • Cambodia mourns over UK’s Queen Elizabeth II

    Cambodia has joined other nations around the world to mourn the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, with King Norodom Sihanomi, Prime Minister Hun Sen and National Assembly president Heng Samrin extending their condolences in separate letters. In his letter to the late Queen’s son –

  • Final verdicts for Khmer Rouge leaders ‘vital’ for next generation

    Nearly a decade after the commencement of Case 002/02 against Khieu Samphan back in 2014, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) is now set to deliver its final verdict for the former Khmer Rouge head of state. The Supreme Court Chamber of the ECCC,

  • Angkor wildlife, aquarium park still to open October

    The Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium complex about 30km southeast of Siem Reap town with initial total investment of more than $70 million is reportedly still on track for an end-October opening. The park is located on a 100ha plot along National Road 6 in Kbon village, Khchas

  • Railway project studies proceed

    The transport ministry is exploring options to expedite preliminary studies on key public railway infrastructure projects, especially the conversion of the Northern Railway Line that links to Thailand into high-speed rail. Railway freight and passenger transportation has been pinpointed as a major potential engine of