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Criminal Verdict on Zhang Qi’s Case

July 7, 2009

On May 15, 2012, Chongqing dissident and Chinese Pan-Blue Alliance leader Zhang Qi (张起) was released from Yuzhou Prison after having served a four-year sentence. Zhang was detained on May 16, 2008, formally arrested on June 20, 2009, and convicted of “inciting subversion of state power” on July 7, 2009. His appeal was dismissed. He is subjected to two years of post-release deprivation of political rights.


The following is an unofficial English translation by Human Rights in China of the verdict issued against Zhang Qi by the Chongqing Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court on July 7, 2009.

Chongqing Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court

Criminal Verdict

No. 57 (2009)

Public Prosecution Organ: Branch No. 1 of the Chongqing Municipal People’s Procuratorate.

 

Defendant Zhang Qi: male, born in Shapingba District, Chongqing, on March 30, 1983, Han ethnicity, university graduate, unemployed, resides at 4-1 No. 35 Hanyu Road, Shapingba District, Chongqing. Criminally detained on May 16, 2008 on suspicion of inciting subversion of state power; arrested on June 20, 2008. He is now being held at the Qijiang County Detention Center in Chongqing.

The defense attorneys are Zheng Jianwei, of the Lianyi Law Firm of Sichuan, and Ma Xiaopeng, of the Yuanhai Law Firm of Sichuan.

In Chongqing No. 1 Proc. Crim. Indictment No. 12 (2009), Branch No. 1 of the Chongqing Municipal People’s Procuratorate charged the defendant Zhang Qi with the crime of inciting subversion of state power; on May 14, 2009, the indictment was tendered to this court for prosecution. This court assembled a collegiate bench of judges in accordance with the law and heard the case in an open trial. Branch No. 1 of the Chongqing Municipal People’s Procuratorate assigned deputy procurator Ma Hongwei to appear in court to support the public prosecution. The defendant Zhang Qi and his counsels, Zheng Jianwei and Ma Xiaopeng, appeared in court to participate in the proceedings. The trial has concluded.

Branch No. 1 of the Chongqing Municipal People’s Procuratorate charges that from June 2006 to March 2007, the defendant Zhang Qi wrote articles that attacked the state power of the people’s democratic dictatorship using rumors, slander, and libel; these articles included “Kuomintang Flag Flying to the Sky in Hongyan, Chongqing, in Memory of June Fourth,” “Fragmented Notes Following the Major Car Crash in Chongqing on October First,” and “Yongzhou Incident: Profound Meaning of the Fight between the Union of Chinese Nationalists and Rednet.” Zhang Qi published these articles on the Union of Chinese Nationalists website (www.miumu.com) under the online name “Ordinary Guy” and also reposted the article “Proposal to My Union of Chinese Nationalists Brethren: The Collapse of Totalitarianism Begins with Stopping Falsehoods” on the site. The aforementioned articles posted by Zhang Qi were then reposted on various overseas websites, including Free China Forum and Human Rights in China Forum; as of February 6, 2009, over 2,500 people had read and followed these posts. Through appraisal, it was found that all the aforementioned articles have harmful information in them that attacks the people’s democratic dictatorship and socialist system. On May 16, 2008, the defendant Zhang Qi was apprehended by the public security authorities.

In support of these allegations, the procuratorial organs submitted to the court evidence including records of the online remote investigation, records of identification, the appraisal report and the testimonies of witnesses Wen Yan and Zhang Jing, and Zhang Qi’s confession and self-defense, and, on these grounds, they believe that the defendant Zhang Qi wrote, posted, and reposted articles online that used rumors and slander to incite subversion of state power and to overthrow the socialist system; they believe that his actions are in violation of the stipulations of Article 105, Section 2 of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China and that he should be held accountable for his responsibility in the crime of inciting subversion of state power.

The defendant Zhang Qi had no objection to the facts of the charges in the indictment, but argued that he had no subjective intent to incite the subversion of state power. His actions, he argued, were the exercise of a citizen’s right to free speech, and should not constitute a crime. Zhang Qi’s defense counsel put forward a similar defense opinion.

It was ascertained by this court that: in the latter half of 2005, the defendant Zhang Qi was introduced to the Union of Chinese Nationalists website and registered an account on that site. Thereafter he became one of the site’s forum administrators, responsible for managing articles published on the forum. From June 2006 to March 2007, the defendant Zhang Qi, under his screen name “Ordinary Guy,” posted the articles “Kuomintang Flag Flying to the Sky in Hongyan, Chongqing, in Memory of June Fourth,” ”Fragmented Notes Following the Major Car Crash in Chongqing on October First,” and “Yongzhou Incident: Profound Meaning of the Fight between the Union of Chinese Nationalists and Rednet,” and also reposted the article “Proposal to My Union of Chinese Nationalists Brethren: The Collapse of Totalitarianism Begins with Stopping Falsehoods.” These articles attacked the state power of the people’s democratic dictatorship using rumors, slander, and libel. The aforementioned articles were later reposted on other overseas sites, including Free China Forum and Human Rights in China Forum, and by February 6, 2009, over 2,500 people had read and followed these posts. Through appraisal, it was found that the aforementioned articles have harmful information in them that attacks the people’s democratic dictatorship and socialist system. On May 16, 2008, the defendant Zhang Qi was apprehended by the public security authorities.

This court acknowledges that the aforementioned facts have been substantiated by the following evidence presented to the court by the procuratorial organ in the hearing:

1.      The public security organ’s report form for accepting and filing the case, the report of detention procedure, the search records, and the list of items taken into custody testifies that: On May 11, 2007 [sic], the public security organ filed a case for investigation against Zhang Qi on charges of suspicion of inciting subversion of state power, and on May 16, they took him into custody. A Bada brand computer and some CD-ROMS were seized by the public security organ in accordance with the law.

2.      The records of the online remote investigation and records of identification prove that: after verifying, Zhang Qi acknowledged that the articles posted on the Union of Chinese Nationalists website by a user with the screen name “Ordinary Guy” – “Kuomintang Flag Flying to the Sky in Hongyan, Chongqing, [in Memory of June Fourth],” “Yongzhou Incident: The Profound Meaning of the Fight between the Union of Chinese Nationalists and Rednet,” “Fragmented Notes Following the Major Car Crash in Chongqing on October First,” and “Proposal to My Union of Chinese Nationalists Brethren: The Collapse of Totalitarianism Begins with Stopping Falsehoods” – the first three were written and posted by him, and the last was from another site and reposted on the Union of Chinese Nationalists site.

3.      The electronic evidence appraisal report proves that: Through appraisal of the articles posted by the defendant Zhang Qi on the Union of Chinese Nationalists website, it confirmed that all four articles had harmful information that attacked the people’s democratic dictatorship and the socialist system.

4.      The remote investigation records and situation explanation prove that: After Zhang Qi posted his articles to the Union of Chinese Nationalists website, they were reposted on many overseas reactionary websites, including Boxun, Free China Forum, Future China Forum, and the Human Rights in China Forum. They garnered over 2,500 readers and followers as of February 6, 2009.

5.      Witness Wan Yan’s deposition testifies: In the latter half of 2005, someone with the screen name “Ordinary Guy” joined my QQ group. While we were chatting, I promoted the Three People’s Principles to this person and also discussed how the present socialist system needs to change. He supported my opposition to the Communist Party and to socialism and agreed with me about the Three People’s Principles. We spoke of the Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) possibly returning to the mainland to govern in place of the Communist Party of China, and he was enthusiastic in his support and hoped to bring about this goal. I showed him the Union of Chinese Nationalists website that I had created and invited him to join. At the end of that year, “Ordinary Guy” registered an account on the Union of Chinese Nationalists forum and I learned that his real name was Zhang Qi. The forum’s headline reads “Opposing the Communist System, Identifying with the Three People’s Principles, Committing to the Cause of Uniting the Country under the Nationalist Party,” which clearly reflects our stance. When he signed up for an account, he had to acknowledge that he agreed with the policy. Zhang Qi is one of our more lively posters and one of our core members. Around April 2006, he became an area moderator for the forum, administering the mediation center and free talk sections. He also posted under the name “Ordinary Guy” some articles that he had written, including “Kuomintang Flag Flying in [Hongyan,] Chongqing, [in Memory of June Fourth],” and “The Profound Meaning of the Fight between the Union of Chinese Nationalists and Rednet.”

6.      Witness Zhang Jing’s deposition and record of identification testifies: “Ordinary Guy” is a leader and administrator for the Union of Chinese Nationalists in Chongqing and also a moderator. He has been authorized to edit and delete the items that we post online. I have posted five articles online; for each, once I had written them, I would send them to “Ordinary Guy,” and once “Ordinary Guy” had edited them, he would post them online. Zhang Jing identified Zhang Qi as the person registered as “Ordinary Guy” on the Union of Chinese Nationalists site.

7.      Defendant Zhang Qi confesses: Between July and September 2005, I registered an account with the Union of Chinese Nationalists website and was made moderator of some sections of the website, which is administered by Wen Yan. At that time, I posted the articles, “Yongzhou Incident: The Profound Meaning of the Fight between the Union of Chinese Nationalists and Rednet,” “Fragmented Notes Following the Major Car Crash in Chongqing on October First,” “Kuomintang Flag Flying to the Sky in Hongyan, Chongqing, in Memory of June Fourth,” and “[Proposal to My Union of Chinese Nationalists Brethren:] The Collapse of Totalitarianism Begins with Stopping Falsehoods,” of which “[Proposal to My Union of Chinese Nationalists Brethren:] The Collapse of Totalitarianism Begins with Stopping Falsehoods” was reposted by me, and the other three were written by me. I wrote and reposted the articles because I believe that China should undergo political change – we should become a democratic, constitutionally governed country with many political parties. After the old Union [of Chinese Nationalists] site was shut down, around July 2007, Zhang Liang, who lives in the United States, began hosting a new version of the site on his server. I got into contact with Zhang Liang on the site, and, because he knew that I was “Ordinary Guy” from before, he authorized me to be one of the main administrators and the moderator of the people’s livelihood and rights defense section of the site. A moderator’s job is to inspect the articles published on the site; if an article is inappropriate, the moderator deletes it; there is also regular site administration. I know Zhang Jing, his online name is “Qi Jing.” He posted some articles on the Union [of Chinese Nationalists] site, for example, “Second Lieutenant Officer of the People’s Liberation Army Announces his Joining the Union of Chinese Nationalists.” I asked him to let me see his articles once he had finished writing them, and once they had been polished for language, we would post them again. This is because I thought that I was a bit better educated than him – his articles were not that well written.

This court believes that the defendant Zhang Qi published many articles on the Internet that used rumors and slander to attack the socialist system and the state power of the people’s democratic dictatorship. His actions constitute the crime of inciting subversion of state power, and he should be penalized in accordance with the law. The facts and crime charged by the procuratorial organ are well-established. The defendant Zhang Qi and his defense counsel put forward a defense opinion that Zhang Qi had no subjective intent to incite subversion of state power, that his actions were the use of a citizen’s right to free speech, and that the charges were unfounded. Through examination, it has been found that Zhang Qi’s aforementioned actions constitute the conditions of inciting subversion of state power. Neither the defendant’s argument nor his counsel’s defense opinion can be established, and this court does not accept them. In accordance with the stipulations of Article 105, Section 2; Article 56, Section 1; Article 55, Section 1; and Article 64 of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, this court hereby sentences him as follows:

I.           The defendant Zhang Qi has committed the crime of inciting subversion of state power. He is sentenced to a fixed term of four years and two years of deprivation of political rights. (The prison term is calculated from the date that the judgment is executed. Any detention period preceding the execution of the judgment shall be subtracted from the prison term, one day off per date of the detention. The sentence is thus from May 16, 2008 to May 15, 2012.)

II.        The Bada brand computer used by the defendant Zhang Qi to commit the crime shall be confiscated.

If [the defendant] does not accept this verdict, [he] can submit an appeal through this court or directly to the Chongqing Municipal Higher People’s Court within ten days starting from the second day after receiving the verdict. In the case of a written appeal, one original and two duplicate copies should be submitted.

 

Presiding Judge: Xiao Ming

Judge: Tan Shuyun

Deputy Judge: Lü Jiantao

July 7, 2009

Court Clerk: Hu Hai

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