Influential civil rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang is finally set to face trial this coming Monday in Beijing for his politically controversial online comments.
Pu was first arrested in May 2014 and formally charged earlier this year for rousing ethnic hatred in addition to the alleged crime of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles,” according to prosecutors. On Thursday, Pu’s co-defence lawyer Mo Shaoping confirmed the upcoming trial to take place at Beijing’s Second Intermediate People’s Court.
The offending quotes from Pu included criticism of the government’s policies in the restive and largely Muslim region of Xinjiang in the wake of last year’s deadly knife attack at the Kunming Railway Station.
“If you say Xinjiang belongs to China, then don’t treat it as a colony,” wrote Pu in May 2014 on his personal Weibo account. “You tell me that you bear no responsibility for the savagery of the Xinjiang independents, then I’m not satisfied.”
Pu is also guilty of unabashedly dragging the Chinese government’s general existence. “Frankly, when patriot-scoundrels treat me as a traitor, that’s no slur,” he wrote online in 2013, “I didn’t choose Communist Party rule, it never sought my approval.”
China Change has a complete list of Pu’s incriminating Weibo posts.
A guilty verdict is highly probable due to the Party’s influence over the courts. The country always scores excellent conviction rates.
Under President Xi Jinping’s rule, crackdowns against anti-government troublemakers have escalated considerably and it’s become common practice to indict citizens for the aforementioned vague offence of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.”
Pu, known for speaking out against and defending those subject to such legal peculiarities, is now bearing the brunt of the Chinese legal system he has historically opposed.
By Pinky Latt