China to try another dissident for ‘submersive’ essays
  • This Section
  • Latest
  • Web Wrap
Last Updated: Sunday, December 25, 2011, 20:14
  
Beijing: China will try a veteran dissident, Chen Xi, on charges of "inciting rebellion" for pro-democracy essays he published online, his wife said on Sunday, days after another dissident was jailed for nine years on similar charges.

Chen, a human rights campaigner in Guiyang city in Guizhou, southwest China, was arrested last month and will be tried for "inciting subversion of state power," a charge often used against critics of the ruling Communist Party, said his wife Zhang Qunxuan.



"They accused him because of 36 essays he published at home and overseas," Zhang said in a telephone interview.

"I don't know exactly what the charges are, because the court and prosecutors wouldn't show me the indictment. They said there are rules against showing that to family members," she said, adding that one of Chen's lawyers told her about the subversion accusations.

Chen, 57, is sure to maintain that he is innocent, but is certain to be found guilty and jailed by China's party-controlled judiciary, Zhang said.

"He's definitely going to fight the charges," she said, citing her discussions with his defense lawyers. She was told of the trial date on Friday, she added.

"But it looks certain that he'll be convicted. That's what courts always decide."

Chen was arrested last month after being released from a week-long detention triggered by his campaigning for independent candidates seeking to win places on China's party-controlled People's Congress assemblies, said Zhang.

Police confiscated his computer, she added.

"Then on November 29, the police called him and said he could come and get his computer," she said. "Instead, they lured him to the public security bureau and arrested him."

Calls to the Guiyang People's Intermediate Court were not answered on Sunday, a rest day in China,. Another human rights activist, Lu Yongxiang, said he also knew of the trial on Monday through Chen Xi's friends and supporters.

The trial will come after a court in Sichuan province, also in southwest China, convicted rights advocate Chen Wei and sentenced him to nine years in jail after a brief trial on Friday -- the stiffest punishment in a crackdown on dissent this year.

Chen in a common family name in China, and the two men are not related.

Chen Wei's wife, Wang Xiaoyan, and lawyers said he was jailed as punishment for essays that he had published on overseas Chinese websites.

China uses a "firewall" of Internet filters and blocks to prevent citizens from reading websites abroad that are deemed to be politically unacceptable or socially unsound.

Chen Wei's sentence was the third-longest term ever handed down for inciting subversion after Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo, who has been serving an 11-year sentence since 2009, and Liu Xianbin, who was jailed for 10 years in March this year.

Earlier this year, Chinese police held hundreds of dissidents, rights activists and protest organizers in a crackdown on dissent this year, when the ruling Communist Party sought to prevent potential protests inspired by anti-authoritarian uprisings across the Arab world.

Many of those detained have been released but remain under police watch. But officials appeared determined to "make an example" of Chen, said Huang Qi, a human rights advocate in Chen's home Sichuan province and a long-time friend of his.

Chen Xi, who faces trial on Monday, is a former soldier and factory worker who was jailed for three years for his support for the 1989 pro-democracy protests across China that ended after troops crushed demonstrations, said his wife.

He was again jailed in 1996, but since his release in 2005 has been an organizer of a citizens' human rights forum in Guiyang.

Bureau Report


First Published: Sunday, December 25, 2011, 19:40


comments powered by Disqus