Trial of Three Fujian Rights Activists Marred by IrregularitiesNovember 11, 2009 Comments Off on Trial of Three Fujian Rights Activists Marred by Irregularities
Trial of Three Fujian Rights Activists Marred by Irregularities
Case Hinges on Internet Reporting; Free Speech on Trial
(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, November 11, 2009) – A Fuzhou court tried three human rights activists—Fan Yanqiong (范燕琼), Wu Huaying (吴华英), and You Jingyou (游精佑)—for “making false accusations” this afternoon in Fujian Province. Officials allowed only two family members of each defendant to attend the trial, and supporters barred from entering the courthouse scuffled with police outside. Journalists were reportedly taken away by officials to prevent them from reporting on the trial.
Being denied an open trial is the latest in a long list of rights abuses suffered by the three during their detention. Both Fan and Wu were mistreated when they were first taken into custody. Wu, a woman in her 40s, was handcuffed to a chair in an uncomfortable position during an interrogation which lasted 30 hours. Fan, a 48 year-old woman, has been seriously ill in detention and denied a hearing regarding her application for release on bail for medical treatment. Lawyers for Fan, Wu, and You have encountered obstacles in trying to visit their clients at the detention center, and at least one lawyer has been threatened by judicial authorities that his license to practice law may be suspended if he did not withdraw from the case.
While uniformed officers blocked the entrance to the Mawei District Courthouse and patrolled the surrounding area, the courtroom was filled with plainclothes police or government officials; among those barred from attending the trial were individuals who were intimately involved in the case and provided testimony to police during their investigation. Other than the six family members, the only other presence in the courthouse not aligned with the government were the six lawyers defending the activists. Liu Xiaoyuan (刘晓原), Li Fangping (李方平) and Jin Guanghong (金光鸿), from Beijing, and Lin Hongnan (林洪楠), Jiang Yunfu (姜运福), and one other lawyer whose name is not currently available, from Fujian Province, entered pleas of not guilty on behalf of their clients and presented a defense which included statements made by the defendants themselves.
Fan Yanqiong, a 48-year old woman, is a local human rights activist based in Nanping County, Fujian Province. For over a decade, Fan has petitioned for redress of her own grievances and dedicated herself to helping other petitioners, exposing official corruption, and documenting rights abuses. Fan has also worked with the imprisoned Fujian activist Ji Sizun (纪斯尊). For her efforts, Fan has been repeatedly threatened by the authorities as well as the local triads. Fan is ill with serious kidney and heart diseases but authorities refuse to acknowledge her application for release on bail for medical treatment.
Wu Huaying, a resident of Fuqing City, Fujian Province, is also a petitioner-turned-activist. For the last four years, she has been active in providing legal aid and other forms of assistance to those who have suffered injustices at the hands of officials in Fuqing City.
You Jingyou (known online as He Suoge [赫索格]), a man in his 50s, was an accomplished engineer with the Xiangpu Railway Engineering and Construction Company. Recently, You has been involved in a number of rights-defense activities, and has provided material and financial support to an array of local rights activists.
The three activists were taken into custody between June 26, 2009, and July 5, 2009, after they posted articles online in which they accused local officials of misconduct in handling the suspicious death of Yan Xiaoling (严晓玲), a young woman from Minqing County, Fujian. The case, which touched on corruption, ties between local officials and organized crime, and the abuse and death of a young woman, was widely discussed by Chinese netizens. Fan, Wu, and You were then formally arrested on July 31 and charged with “making false accusations.”
For more information, please see:
“Three Fujian Activists Formally Arrested for Alleging Official Misconduct,” August 4, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class9/Class10/200908/20090804234817_16634.html
“Fujian Activist Detained for Alleging Official Misconduct,” June 30, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class9/Class10/200907/20090701091726_16119.html
Fan Yanqionq’s case was one of ten presented as an appendix to a letter written by CHRD urging President Obama to raise human rights concerns with Chinese leaders during his upcoming trip to China. For the full text of that letter, including the appendix, please click here.
Renee Xia, International Director (English and Mandarin): +852 8191 6937 (HK) +1 301 547 9286 (US)
Jiang Yingying, Researcher (English and Mandarin): +852 8170 0237 (HK)