Police in China’s Guangdong Move Ahead With Activist’s Subversion Trial

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Originally published by Radio Free Asia on April 30, 2015

Authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong are moving ahead with the subversion trial of women’s rights activist Su Changlan, who publicly supported Hong Kong’s Occupy Central
pro-democracy movement, her husband said on Thursday.

Su was detained last October by police in Guandong’s Foshan city on suspicion of “incitement to subvert state power” after she took part in activities supporting Hong Kong’s Occupy Central pro-democracy movement.

Her case was recently submitted to the local state prosecutor’s office, her lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan told RFA.

“My understanding is that it was submitted today, but I haven’t been able to get a meeting with [Su] yet,” Liu said. “We will have to wait until after the May 1 public holiday for that.”

A volunteer for the New York-based Women’s Rights in China group, Su was initially detained last October, but her lawyers have been refused permission to meet with her twice.

Liu said the transfer of Su’s case files to the procuratorate means that he should no longer need to seek official approval before visiting his client in detention.

“This applies, even in cases involving matters of state security,” Liu said. “So the detention center won’t have any excuse; they’ll have to arrange it within 48 hours of the request.”

Trial looks likely

He said a trial now looks likely.

“The fact that they have sent the case to the prosecutor means that the police think they have enough evidence to convict Su Changlan,” Liu said.

Meanwhile, Su’s husband Chen Dequan said his freedom-of-information lawsuit protesting a lack of information on his wife’s health was rejected by the Nanhai District People’s Court this week.

“They said that the information I requested didn’t lie in the public domain, so they wouldn’t make it public,” Chen said.

“They have taken my wife, and I don’t know whether she has been forced to make a confession.”

Chen said he is extremely concerned for Su’s health and safety after seeing the treatment meted out to fellow Guangdong political activist Li Biyun, who fell foul of the authorities after she tried to stand as
an independent candidate in elections to her district People’s Congress.

“There was already an incident here, when [Li Biyun] was in the detention center,” Chen said. “She was beaten up to the point where she couldn’t even walk.”

He added: “I will be appealing.”

Chen said Su is innocent of the charges against her.

“My wife would never try to incite people to overthrow the state,” he said. “I know her … She is very clear-headed about everything she does, and everything she does is to benefit the country and to promote its development.”

Heart problems

He said Su’s support for universal suffrage and direct elections doesn’t constitute a threat to the state.

“I don’t think that writing an article about direct elections amounts to harming national security, nor is it incitement to subvert state power,” he said.

He said Su suffers from heart problems, including intermittent cardiac standstill, which have likely worsened since her incarceration.

“I am getting more and more worried,” Chen said.

Apart from her support for the 79-day Occupy Central pro-democracy movement across the internal border with Hong Kong, Su has also taken part in a number of politically sensitive campaigns since 2013, including campaigning in the Anhui capital Hefei for schooling for Anni, daughter of veteran dissident Zhang Lin.

Anni, who was dubbed China’s youngest prisoner of conscience after being held under house arrest alongside her father, has since moved to the United States to pursue her education, but many of those who spoke out on her behalf and who helped her to escape have since been targeted by the authorities.

The overseas-based Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) group, which collates and translates reports from rights groups inside China, said it had documented more than 100 cases of detention of people showing public support for the Occupy Central movement in mainland China. An unknown number remain behind bars.

Chinese officials have said Hong Kong’s “Umbrella Movement,” so named after protesters used umbrellas to ward off police attacks with tear gas and pepper spray, is illegal, and that voters in the 2017 poll for chief executive may only choose between candidates approved by a Beijing-backed committee.

Reported by Yang Fan for RFA’s Mandarin Service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.

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