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Appeal Proceedings Commence for Liaoyang Labor Activists

June 23, 2003

For Immediate Release

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that appeal proceedings for Liaoyang labor activists Yao Fuxin and Xiao Yunliang will commence on June 27. However, lawyers and family members of the defendants were not notified in advance, and officials have warned fellow activists not to show up for the hearing.

According to sources in China, the appeal proceedings are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. on Friday, June 27, at the Liaoyang Detention Center where Yao and Xiao are being held, rather than in court. Yao Fuxin’s daughter, Yao Dan, learned of the appeal only by seeing a notice posted at the local court. She immediately telephoned Yao’s Beijing-based lawyer, Mo Shaoping, but the last-minute notification ruled out the possibility of either defendant having legal representation during the appeal. Mo Shaoping reportedly told Yao Dan, “This action is a serious breach of due process, and a violation of the defendants’ human rights.”

In addition, on the evening of June 26 police officers went to the homes of labor activists Wang Zhaoming, Pang Qingxiang and others and warned them that they would be barred from witnessing the proceedings.

On May 9 the Liaoyang Intermediary People’s court sentenced Yao Fuxin to seven years in prison and Xiao Yunliang to four years on charges of subversion for their participation in demonstrations last March by tens of thousands of workers protesting alleged corruption and other abuses at the bankrupt Liaoyang Ferro-Alloy Factory. Although Yao and Xiao were tried on January 15, their verdicts and sentences were not revealed until months later, while people in China and the rest of the world were preoccupied with the war in Iraq and the SARS crisis.

“Ever since Yao Fuxin and Xiao Yunliang were secretly detained last year, Chinese officials have continually abused their rights and committed gross breaches of due process,” said HRIC president Liu Qing. “Nothing in this case meets even the most rudimentary standards of justice. Under these circumstances it is impossible to place any hope in the so-called appeal process Yao Fuxin and Xiao Yunliang have been offered.”

HRIC calls for a new trial for Yao Fuxin and Xiao Yunliang, where both men will be allowed proper legal representation and due process, and where the verdict will be based on careful and genuine examination of the evidence rather than political expediency.

For more information, contact:
Stacy Mosher (English) 212-268-9074
Liu Qing (Chinese) 212-239-4495