China Human Rights Briefing – Special Edition (February 10, 2012)
Veteran dissident Zhu Yufu (朱虞夫), tried on January 31 for “inciting subversion of state power,” was sentenced today to seven years in prison by the Hangzhou City Intermediate People’s Court in Zhejiang Province. Zhu’s harsh sentence, which includes an additional three years of deprivation of political rights, follows other severe punishments imposed by Chinese courts in political cases since late December, adding to those meted out to Sichuan activist Chen Wei (陈卫), Guizhou activist Chen Xi (陈西), and Wuhan dissident Li Tie (李铁). Further darkening the human rights landscape in China, the string of sentences comes at a particularly crucial time, with Zhu being sent to prison less than a week before the visit to Washington, DC by Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (习近平) (see CHRD statement).
In the procuratorate’s indictment, authorities cited as “evidence” a poem, “It’s Time,” that Zhu wrote and shared during online calls for “Jasmine Rallies” about a year ago, as well as other writings he had published online, his calls for monetary donations for prisoners of conscience, and interviews that he had given. At Zhu’s trial, which lasted just two-and-a-half hours, his lawyers, Li Baiguang (李柏光) and Li Dunyong (李敦勇), defended their client’s innocence. When given the opportunity to speak in court, Zhu argued that his activities were exercises of protected freedoms, and that none constituted “inciting subversion.”
Zhu, who turns 59 years old on February 13, was detained on suspicion of “inciting subversion” on March 5, 2011, during the “Jasmine Crackdown,” and was formally arrested on April 11. Zhu is one of four individuals criminally detained in the crackdown known to have been sentenced to prison. (See more information compiled by CHRD about individuals detained during the crackdown.)
On October 25, 2011, the Shangcheng County People’s Court notified Zhu’s lawyer, Li Dunyong, that it had approved the local procuratorate’s application to dismiss charges against Zhu, a decision which spurred speculation that Zhu may be released. However, the Shangcheng County Public Security Bureau re-submitted the case for prosecution in December, and authorities in January indicated the trial would open after the Chinese New Year.
A veteran Democracy Wall activist in the 1970s, Zhu Yufu is being imprisoned for the third time. He was convicted of “subversion” in 1999 and served seven years in prison for founding the Opposition Party (在野党) magazine, which published articles about the China Democratic Party. After his release in 2006, he spoke out against the torture he suffered in prison and continued to promote democratization. He was detained again in 2007 after a confrontation with a police officer who was questioning his son, and sentenced to two years in prison for “beating police” and “hindering public duty.” (CHRD)[i]
Editors: Victor Clemens and Wang Songlian
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