In the appeal defense statement filed on behalf of Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波), Liu’s lawyers charged that the trial court abused its public power (公权力) in finding Liu guilty of “inciting subversion of state power” and sentencing him to 11 years’ imprisonment. Human Rights in China has translated the statement into English.
In the statement filed on January 28, 2010, with the court of second instance, the Beijing Municipal High People’s Court, Liu’s lawyers, Shang Baojun (尚宝军) and Ding Xikui (丁锡奎) of the Beijing Mo Shaoping Law Firm, argued that Liu’s essays – cited as “criminal evidence” in the verdict – criticized the government and the ruling party, and not state power. Liu’s lawyers charged that the Beijing Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court, the court of first instance, in finding Liu guilty, lacked the “common sense” (常识) to tell them apart, and conflated the concepts of government, ruling party, and state power. (Liu’s lawyers invoked the same distinction made in the defense of Chen Duxiu (陈独秀), a founder of the Communist Party of China [CPC], who was tried in 1932 for endangering the Republic of China, the regime that the CPC replaced on the mainland in 1949.)
In their legal arguments, the lawyers also point to “gross irregularities” in the investigation, Liu’s pre-trial detention, and the trial of first instance. The irregularities include, the lawyers said, Liu’s “residential surveillance,” during which he was kept not in his own home, as required by law, but in solitary confinement in a small, windowless room; and that, during the “surveillance” period, Liu was denied permission to meet with his lawyers, as permitted by law.
The lawyers further argue that the lower court’s verdict was based on a blurring of the line between criminal activities and Liu’s constitutional right to free speech. The lawyers contend that the “criminal evidence” cited in the verdict – Charter 08, which Liu co-authored, and six essays he wrote – was in fact criticism of the government and the ruling party that Liu made in his capacity as a citizen. The lawyers argue that the lower court, a government organ, abused public power in sentencing Liu to 11 years of imprisonment for voicing his views.
The court has indicated that it would not hold a hearing – officially called “trial of second instance” (二审). By law, the court of second instance is required to rule on an appeal within one month, or at the most, one month and a half, after receiving the notice of appeal (filed by Liu on December 29) and the case files and evidentiary material from the lower court. Below is HRIC’s English translation of the appeal defense statement.
For more information about Liu Xiaobo and Charter 08, see:
- “Vaclav Havel, in HRIC Interview, Sends Message of Solidarity to Liu Xiaobo and Family,” January 27, 2010
- Liu Xiaobo's Verdict: Beijing Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court Criminal Verdict, (2009) No. 3901, translation by Human Rights in China, December 30, 2009
- “International Community Speaks Out on Liu Xiaobo Verdict,” December 30, 2009
- “Liu Xiaobo’s Guilty Verdict and 11-Year Sentence Send Message of Zero Tolerance for Universal Human Rights,” December 25, 2009
- “What Constitutes Liu Xiaobo’s ‘Incitement to Subvert State Power’?,” December 23, 2009
- Ding Zilin, “The Dirtiest of Political Trials,” December 23, 2009
- “Ding Zilin Urges Charter 08 Signers to ‘Join’ Liu Xiaobo’s Trial,” December 18, 2009
- “HRIC Strongly Condemns the Formal Arrest of Liu Xiaobo by Chinese Authorities,” June 24, 2009
- “Chinese Authorities Continue to Suppress Charter 08; Number of Signers Exceeds 7,200,” January 9, 2009
- “Independent Scholars Detained: Start of 2009 Crackdown?” December 9, 2008
- Charter 08, translation by Human Rights in China, December 9, 2008
- “Rights Crackdown Intensifies a Month before the Games,” July 8, 2008
- “Chinese Scholars and Activists Demand Equality for Migrant Workers in China,” February 14, 2008