Cao Haibo (曹海波)Comments Off on Cao Haibo (曹海波)
Cao Haibo 曹海波
Crime: Subversion of state power
Length of Punishment: 8 years
Court: Kunming Intermediate People’s Court
Trial date: May 22, 2012
Sentencing date: October 31, 2012
Dates of Detention/Arrest: October 21, 2011 (detention), November 25, 2011 (arrest); September 20, 2018 (released)
Place of Incarceration: Xishan District Detention Center (Kunming City, Yunnan Province)
Verdict: Yunnan Province Kunming City Intermediate People’s Court Criminal Verdict (Chinese)
Appeal Sentencing Date: April 27, 2013
Appeal Sentencing Court: Yunnan Province High People’s Court
Appeal Ruling: Upheld original ruling
Cao Haibo, a worker at an Internet café in Yunnan Province and organizer of a website that promotes democracy, was sentenced to eight years in prison for expressing his political views online. Born April 23, 1985, Cao was detained in October 2011 and later arrested for “inciting subversion of state power,” though Cao was eventually convicted of “subversion,” a more serious crime. Authorities shut down the “League of Rejuvenating the Chinese Nation” (振华会), a discussion group Cao founded in late 2010 where members talked about democratic reform and constitutional rights. Cao also reportedly tried to form an opposition party online called the China Republican Party, which existed for one day before it was taken down. In addition, police cited Cao posting articles on foreign websites and text messages sent to friends as evidence of his crimes.
The handling of Cao’s case, including his trial and sentencing, was rife with procedural flaws and myriad violations of Chinese law. Police blocked his family members from attending the closed trial, claiming the case “involved state secrets.” His sentencing hearing was also held without authorities’ notifying his family or lawyers, who only learned of the court’s verdict when they were called about the punishment. Authorities released Cao one month before his sentence was set to expire on October 20, 2018.