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“Turning this Page, Let Life Start Anew”—Statement by Xu Zhiyong’s Lawyer

January 26, 2014

Statement by Xu Zhiyong’s lawyer, Zhang Qingfang, upon receiving his client’s verdict: four years’ imprisonment for “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place.” Xu, a key advocate of the New Citizens Movement, was tried last Wednesday, January 22, at the Beijing Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court. Zhang says he will appeal and continue to represent Xu in the trial of second instance—despite his belief that the trial lacks legitimacy and will not change the verdict—if only to fight for space for Ding Jiaxi and others awaiting trial. 


Turning this Page, Let Life Start Anew

Zhang Qingfang, January 26, 2014

[Translation by Human Rights in China]

 For me, after receiving Xu Zhiyong’s verdict, I will turn over this page.

Even though we will appeal—for the sake of fighting for space for Ding Jiaxi (丁家喜) and others who will be tried at the Haidian court—the outcome will not change in the trial of second instance. In fact, even before the indictment [against Xu Zhiyong] was brought before the court, the case’s outcome had long been decided by the court’s team assigned to the case.

After I took on the defense of my classmate Xu, many friends inside the system kindly reminded me that I should pay attention to the sensitivity of the case, and that I should not speak or act too aggressively. My answer was always that I would conduct the defense in accordance with the law and that they should not worry. Recently, many people asked me whether I would continue to work as a rights defense lawyer, and I said I would not—I lack the courage of Yang Jingzhu (杨金柱) and Si Weijiang (斯伟江).

Even though I will continue to conduct the defense of Xu Zhiyong in the trial of second instance, I will not submit any defense argument to the court of second instance—I do not accept its legitimacy. At the same time, if there are any friends in the legal circle who have sufficient courage and wisdom to be willing to take over the defense in the trial of the second instance, I would energetically recommend them to Xu Zhiyong.

In the next several years, I will, together with Xu’s doctorate schoolmate Guo Yushan (郭玉闪), assume the responsibility of taking care of Xu’s family, so as to not let Madam Cui Zheng (崔筝) [Xu Zhiyong’s wife] and their newborn girl endure pressures financially or in their daily life. This is also Xu Zhiyong’s idea.

In 2014, I will not be working, trying my best to reduce the inconveniences I create for my friends.