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Statement of CHRLCG to Urge Changsha Intermediate People’s Court to Release Xie Yang

Statement of CHRLCG to Urge Changsha Intermediate People’s Court to Release Xie Yang

(8th May 2017) After 667 days of detention, Hunan Changsha Intermediate People’s Court has finally commenced its trial on Xie Yang today. CHRLCG believes that the Court severely violated multiple basic principles of fair trial while it was hearing the case of Xie Yang, rendering Xie unable to receive effective defense during the trial and his basic rights be undermined. Therefore, there lacks credibility in the case.

  1. The authority exhausted all possible means to bar the public from attending the hearing. Despite it is clearly stipulated in laws that Courts ought to announce information about trial cases three days in advance, this time Changsha Intermediate Court intentionally made public of the news about Xie’s case through weibo olny 20 minutes before the trial. Also, on the day of the trial hearing, a number of public security officers and national security officers attempted to obstruct people from attending the hearing via means of setting rock blockage, summoning, and imposing warnings on related parties. Father-in-law of Xie Yang was one of the victims whose personal freedom was restricted and thus failed to attend the hearing. The above-mentioned practices of both the Court and security officers unveil their intention to eliminate all other uncontrollable factors in order to conduct the trial in a scripted and orchestrated way. Nonetheless, this reflects nothing but only the satire of the Court’s false and ridiculous adherence to the slogan of “Far Trial” in the eyes of the public.
  2. Xie Yang could not freely choose his defense lawyer, and his litigation rights were not protected. Not appointed by Xie’s family (with Lawyer Chen Jiangang and Liu Zhengqing being the ones entrusted by the family), the duo who appeared in the Court today (i.e. Lawyer He Xiaodian and Liu Zhijiang) were state-appointed lawyers as Xie’s hands were tied under the complete control of security officers. From trial record published by the Court, these two lawyer advanced no arguments and applications on eliminating unlawfully-obtained evidence, calling for witness to testify in court and submission of new evidence, thus, contributed no concrete and effective defense for Xie, albeit Xie once claimed he had received torture and ill-treatment in detention. The two even took the roles as a prosecutor, interrogating Xie during examination.
  3. Xie’s confession was made under threats and tortures. Despite Xie “pleaded guilty” and expressed that “the investigatory organ did not apply force and use torturous means” and that “he himself experienced no torture”, we have to note that Xie was placed under control of public security officers starting from the very beginning of the detention to the commencement of trial. Throughout his detention for more than 600 days, his right to defense and to meet lawyers were never guaranteed. Therefore, we can reasonably question if the aforesaid expressions were made under threats and tortures. What’s more, according to the his hand-written statement released on 13th Jan 2017, it reads, “If one day in the future I plead guilty, whether in writing or in recorded video, that won’t be my genuine expression. It could be due to persistent tortures and made in exchange for a bail grant to return home and reunion with family. I’m not under grave pressure, too my family. I was requested to remain silent as to whatever ill-treatment I received.” The Court on the one hand did not question the validity of all procedures carried out by the police security officers and the procuratorate, neither did they question if Xie’s testimony given in court was made out of free will. This casts doubts as to whether the Court was handling the case fairly.
  4. Such scripted trial hearing is solely for deterring and stigmatizing human rights lawyers. Similar to the trial in August 2016, the present unjust case is orchestrated by the government authority directing and targeting at rights lawyers of the 709 Crackdown. All charges, confessions and remorse were manipulated by the authority to discredit rights lawyers and to spread fear, posing a deterrent effect on other legal professionals and the Chinese civil society.

CHRLCG opines that the Court, during trial procedures, unreasonably tolerated behaviors that went against the Constitution of China, local laws as well as International laws, rendering it a non-open, unjust trial for the defendant.  We urge the Court to acquit and release Xie immediately, and in the meantime, we ask the Court to investigate problematic means of staff on all ill treatment and unlawful means to get testimony.