On June 19, 2014, the Yushui District People’s Court in Xinyu, Jiangxi Province, sentenced three asset transparency advocates to prison terms ranging from six and a half years to three years. Liu Ping (刘萍) and Wei Zhongping (魏忠平) were sentenced to six and a half years in prison for “picking quarrels and provoking troubles” (寻衅滋事), “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place” (聚众扰乱公共场所秩序), and “using an evil cult to undermine law enforcement” (利用邪教组织破坏法律实施). Li Sihua (李思华) was sentenced to three years in prison for “picking quarrels and provoking troubles” (寻衅滋事). Liu Ping’s family issued the below statement following the verdict.
Statement by Liu Ping’s Family
[Translation by Human Rights in China]
In fact, I have so far not shed a single tear because of this verdict. One can even say that my reaction has been more that of contempt. Such severe reprisals—against the call for disclosure of officials’ assets and the demand for [the right to] stand as candidates in people’s congress elections, both of which have exposed the authorities’ naked hypocrisy—exceeded everyone's expectations.
For more than a year, I have frequently reflected on my own actions—why did I desperately try to stop my mother and ignore the ruthlessness and evil that exist in today’s society? Right now I feel profound remorse. The price my mother and others are paying is the result of our indifference and cowardice. We only cared about our own “home” and our own interests. We treated things like democracy, constitutionalism, and free society as jokes. We did not let them concern us, and we were apathetic. But the consequence is that the courageous paid a painful price for our cowardice.
The verdict came: Liu Ping and Wei Zhongping received six years and six months each; Li Sihua, three years. In the next six years or so, the parents of the three will grow old, and Wei Zhongping’s and Li Sihua’s daughters will face the most important exams in their lives: university and high school entrance exams. Therefore, this verdict is a tragedy not only for the three defendants but also for the three families, and for the legal system in China. During their imprisonment, their parents may die of old age, and, without their parent’s encouragement, their children may head in a wrong path. Of course, those in power could foresee this. But they went ahead, to assume the role of the executioner, and are feeling immensely self-satisfied and proud.
Before the verdict was announced, almost everyone thought the sentences would be two to three years. Some even thought they would be released soon because they had done nothing and had already been in detention for more than a year. Even lawyers thought they would be convicted of one count for sure, but thought that two would be evil. In my heart I had also hoped it would turn out this way. But then they prohibited Liu Ping’s daughter from attending the sentencing hearing, revoked Liu Ping’s mother’s qualification to attend, deliberately timed [the sentencing hearing] so that the lawyers could not come, and made my school restrain me [by withholding] my graduation certificate. In this series of actions, I sensed danger. I tossed and turned and could not sleep the night before the verdict. I told reporters that the sentence could be heavy. I didn’t expect that to be so prophetic.
Up until now, the outcome has been determined. It has also made me realize that the road ahead will certainly be rocky. The verdict in Liu Ping’s case is in fact the authorities’ warning to others, telling everyone: “Don’t do these things. I am afraid, and must teach you a lesson! Don’t talk to me about democracy and constitutionalism!” See, how foolish and laughable.
I remember a conversation I had with a friend. We were discussing why the authorities do these things when they know very well that tight control is not sustainable—they know that the harsher the crackdown, the stronger the resistance. Did they not learn from the experience of the Nazis?
Our conclusion: it is because of the interests here and now.
(See original Chinese)