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Internet Activist Du Daobin Goes to Trial

May 17, 2004

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that Internet activist Du Daobin will go to trial on May 18 in closed proceedings, and without the benefit of his chosen defense counsel.

According to sources in China, although Du Daobin’s lawyer, Mo Shaoping, had presented the court with his schedule of commitments, he was notified just three days ago to present his defense statement on Du’s behalf at the Intermediate People’s Court in Xiaogan City, Hubei Province. Mo was unable to rearrange his other commitments on such short notice, and so will not be able to appear at the trial. Mo has had no option but to file his written statement with the court, depriving Du of effective oral argument and significantly weakening his defense.

According to HRIC’s sources, the lawyer originally appointed by the authorities to represent Du Daobin, Li Zongyi, has taken the initiative to contact Du’s wife, Xia Chunyong, and offer to represent Du in court. However, Li has reportedly agreed only to assist Du in obtaining a lighter sentence, and is not willing to present an oral argument if Du maintains his innocence.

Du Daobin, 39, originally a civil servant, became one of China’s most active Internet essayists, expressing criticism of the Chinese government on a number of issues. He was first detained on October 28, 2003 on accusations of incitement to subvert state power. In early February the Xiaogan municipal procuratorate referred Du’s case back to the public security bureau on the grounds of insufficient evidence. However, the PSB produced the text of a speech Du Daobin once gave at Huazhong Normal College, after which the Xiaogan procuratorate on April 21 formally indicted Du Daobin on subversion charges. China’s most active campaigner for the release of student Internet activist Liu Di, Du Daobin himself has now become the subject of a number of petitions inside and outside of China. In early February more than 100 Chinese intellectuals signed an Internet petition calling for Du’s release, and demanding official clarification of exactly what activities constitute “incitement to subvert state power.”

“The steps the Chinese authorities have recently taken to undermine Du Daobin’s defense skew the proceedings to Du’s disadvantage,” said HRIC president Liu Qing. “If the Chinese government wants to present an image of judicial independence, it should provide Du Daobin with an open trial and representation by the defense counsel of his own choosing.”

May 17, 2004

On behalf of the June 4th Memorial Global Coalition, Human Rights in China (HRIC) announces plans for activities marking the 15th anniversary of the Chinese government’s violent suppression of protesters in Beijing on June 4th, 1989.

A press conference providing full information on these activities will be held as follows:

Date: May 19, 2004, 2:00 p.m.
Place: HRIC office at 350 Fifth Avenue (Empire State Building), Suite 3311, New York, NY 10118

More than 60 members of the Global Coalition have been planning memorial activities in some 20 localities around the world, centered around the theme of “Remember June 4th, Restore Power to the People.” It is the first globally coordinated memorial effort devoted to June 4th.

For further information, please contact the following people:
HRIC office: (212) 239-2082; Tang Baiqiao: (718) 463-7169;
Ni Yuxian: (212) 947-7660; Xue Wei: (347) 581-0788

May 17, 2004

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has obtained statements and photographs issued by the Tiananmen Mothers on May 16 during their launch of commemorative activities marking the 15th anniversary of the June 4th Massacre.

The Tiananmen Mothers, a group of family members of victims of the Chinese government’s violent crackdown on protesters in 1989, had planned to start their memorial activities during the Qing Ming Festival on April 4. However, these plans were delayed by the detention of three of the Tiananmen Mothers, Ding Zilin, Zhang Xianling and Huang Jinping, for several days on trumped-up charges regarding a shipment of T-shirts.

Ding Zilin and other members of the group are spearheading the mainland activities of the June 4th Memorial Global Coalition, an international committee of overseas Chinese activists coordinating memorial activities in 20 different localities around the world. Some of the activities planned include candlelight vigils, photographic exhibitions, discussion forums and and the soliciting of personal testimonials regarding June 4th.

About 40 family members attended the opening ceremony in Beijing on May 16, which was carried out in a low-key manner in a private location to prevent interference from the authorities. Family members read out statements vowing to keep the memories of their deceased loved ones alive until justice can be served. The statements are appended to the Chinese press release.

The Tiananmen mothers also sent HRIC photos from the Beijing ceremony. Electronic copies of the photographs are available from the New York or Hong Kong offices.

Memorial Activities for 15th Anniversary of June 4th

Tiananmen Mothers Initiate Memorial Activities