Taiwanese human rights advocates and lawmakers yesterday held a news conference in Taipei to condemn Beijing for its conviction of three Chinese human rights activists and a lawyer for subversion, saying that last week’s trials — which featured the unprecedented sentencing of a defense attorney for subversion — were a gross violation of civil liberties.
Organized by the Taiwan Support China Human Rights Lawyers Network, the news conference was attended by Democratic Progressive Party legislators Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) and Wellington Koo (顧立雄); New Power Party Legislator Kawlo Iyun Pacidal; former Social Democratic Party convener Fan Yun (范雲); Taiwan Association for Human Rights lawyer Clarence Chou (周宇修) and Taiwan Association for China Human Rights chairman Yang Hsien-hung (楊憲宏).
Chinese lawyer Zhou Shifeng (周世峰) and human rights advocates Zhai Yanmin (翟岩民), Gou Hongguo (勾洪國) and Hu Shigen (胡石根) were convicted for subversion in trials held from Tuesday to Friday, and were handed down jail terms ranging from three to seven-and-a-half years.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
While Chinese authorities claim the trials were open and transparent, none of the accused were allowed to defend themselves, nor were members of their families or the general public allowed in the courtrooms, and only foreign media known to be friendly to China were permitted to observe the proceedings, Taiwan Support China Human Rights Lawyers Network convenor Kuo Chi-jen (郭吉仁) said.
“The Chinese judicial system is shot through with legal abuses and is a tool for suppressing human rights,” he said.
During the trials, Beijing attempted to shape public opinion by manipulating domestic and foreign media outlets, defamed foreign ambassadors and threatened family members of the accused while smearing their names, speakers at the news conference said, adding that the Chinese government opened an account on a popular Chinese microblogging site to “warn against color revolutions.”
The more than 10 human rights groups present at the event issued a joint statement, calling on Beijing to rescind the charges against the four, void their convictions and end its “systematic suppression of civic society.”
The statement also urged the international community to pressure Beijing at the G20 summit to honor the international human rights treaties it has signed.
The four activists were arrested as part of a roundup of more than 300 alleged dissidents and lawyers in July last year, and while some of those detained later resurfaced and were charged with subversion, many remain missing, sources said.
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