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Beijing Court Upholds “Disrupting Public Order” Verdicts of Two Citizen Activists

June 27, 2014

Without holding hearings, the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court ruled against the appeals by citizen activists Zhao Changqing (赵常青) and Zhang Baocheng (张宝成) and upheld their first-instance verdicts. They were both found guilty of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place” (聚众扰乱公共场所秩序) by the Beijing Municipal Haidian District Court in April. Zhao was sentenced to two years and six months in prison and Zhang to two years. Zhao was accused of planning street actions in the early months of 2013 in Beijing where participants displayed banners and made public speeches. Zhang was accused of participating in those actions.

Zhao’s lawyer Fang Ligang (房立刚) argued, in his request to the court earlier this month to hold an open hearing (二审开庭审理申请书), that the first-instance court’s finding that Zhao “took part in organizing and orchestrating” activities that were deemed to have disrupted order in a public place was based on unclear facts and insufficient evidence, and that there is no factual basis for the court’s finding that he “organized and orchestrated” three banner-displaying activities in February and March of 2013 as accused.

In the request, Fang also argued that in accordance with Article 317 of the "Interpretation of the Supreme People’s Court concerning the Implementation of the Criminal Procedure Law of the People’s Republic of China," the court of second instance should adjudicate a case in open court when an appellant objects to the facts and evidence determined in the first instance trial, which may affect a conviction or sentencing.

Zhang Baocheng’s lawyers, Liu Zhengqing (刘正清) and You Feizhu (游飞翥), also requested an open appeals hearing for Zhang, but the request was turned down. Lawyer You posted online a record of his conversation with a judge at the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court during which the judge told him that the court will not conduct an open hearing because the objections raised by Zhang do not affect a conviction or sentencing.

According to an online message, Zhang Baocheng’s wife, Liu Juefan (刘珏帆), indicated that Zhang will continue to appeal.

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