Wed, Jun 07, 2017 - Page 5 News List

Chinese man charged with subversion

TIME’S UP?Rights advocate Jiang Tianyong was detained in November, but was only charged on Monday. Six months is the longest a suspect can be held with no charge

Reuters, BEIJING

Chinese authorities have formally charged a prominent rights advocate with subversion of state power after holding him incommunicado for six months, his wife said yesterday.

Jiang Tianyong (江天勇) defended high-profile dissidents and practitioners of Falun Gong, a banned spiritual movement, before being disbarred in 2009. He continued to speak out against government crackdowns on rights lawyers.

Jiang disappeared in November last year after traveling to Hunan Province’s Changsha to provide advice and support to a fellow rights lawyer, Xie Yang (謝陽).

In December, authorities confirmed that they were holding Jiang on suspicion of inciting subversion.

On Monday, six months later, the longest a suspect can be held without charge according to Chinese law, his father received an official charge notice in the post, said Jiang’s wife, Jin Bianling (金變玲), who now lives in the US.

The notice, dated May 31, said Jiang was being held on suspicion of subverting state power, a more serious crime, and was being held in Changsha City No. 1 Detention Center, according to photographs of the document seen by reporters.

The notice is the first official confirmation of Jiang’s whereabouts that she or his parents have had in six months, Jin said by telephone.

Jin said she was worried about Jiang’s treatment in custody and believes authorities might be attempting to force him to confess.

No one answered the publicly listed phone number for the Changsha detention center.

In May, Jin said that Jiang might have been tortured until he was unable to stand.

The authorities released a video of Jiang walking in shorts to refute the claim, which she said was unconvincing.

China has vowed to deal with problems of torture, beatings and forced confessions in its criminal justice system.

“The crimes he [Jiang] is suspected of keep changing,” Jin said. “It seems Jiang Tianyong has not admitted to any crimes, so they are going to keep torturing him until he confesses.”

State media released a number of interviews with Jiang in March, where he appeared to confess to having helped fabricate accounts of Xie Yang being tortured.

Xie later denied he was harmed during a public trial in early May, where he admitted to charges of subverting state power.

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