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Abuse of Process Alleged in Fujian Sedition Trial

October 29, 2003

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that Li Jianfeng and seven others will go on trial in the Intermediate People’s Court in Sanming City, Fujian Province, on October 30 on charges of incitement to subvert state power.

At the same time, Li Jianfeng has with his co-defendants accused the Public Security Bureau with framing them on trumped-up charges, and of torturing them during their detention.

According to the indictment papers obtained by HRIC, Li Jianfeng was formerly a member of the Commercial Tribunal of the Ningde City Intermediate People’s Court. The other codefendants include Lin Shun’an, proprietor of the Huang Heng Internet Café in Ningde City; Huang Xiangwei, instructor at the Ningde branch of the Shaolin Monastery Martial Arts Academy; Lin Shunhan, an interior decorator; Zhan Gongzhen, a retired factory worker; Zheng Xiaohua, proprietor of a jewelry factory, Lin Chan, an employee of Lin Shun’an; and Lin Shuncheng, an unemployed person.

The particulars of the charges state that Li Jianfeng and the other defendants established an organization at the end of 2000, and that Lin Chan applied to the Ministry of Civil Affairs for registration as a “labor and employment research association,” but was not granted permission. At the beginning of 2001, the particulars state, Li Jianfeng and the others downloaded materials from the Internet and compiled them into a book entitled, “Labor Unions.” The particulars go on to state that in July 2001 Li Jianfeng and the others established an illegal “labor union,” in which Li Jianfeng took on the general oversight, with Lin Shun’an assisting with financial management, Huang Xiangwei appointed as organizational head, and Lin Shunhan serving as communications director.

According to the particulars of the charges, following formation the labor union engaged in the following activities: 1) Preparation of the organization and related materials, including a training manual to be used by Huang Xiangwei for instructing his martial arts students in labor union principles; plans to send members to receive formal training in law and computer skills; and distribution of the group’s written materials; 2) Stockpiling of firearms; 3) Training members by sending Lin Shun’an and others to shoot out the windows of the office of the chief judge of the Intermediary Court.

However, court documents show that the defendants have countered with their own charges of illegal actions by the police. According to the defendants, on January 15, 2002, at 6:00 p.m., the Jiaonan Dispatch Unit of the Ningde Public Security Bureau sent five police officers to the Huang Heng Internet Café, where they used computers to download pornographic material from the Internet. When Zheng Xiaohua tried to intervene, they ignored her, and proceeded to take pictures of the pornographic materials on the computer screens, after which they proceeded to remove two computers from the premises. When they encountered resistance from other persons present at the Internet café, the police officers called for reinforcements, after which they arrested a person named Huang Wei, along with Lin Shun’an, Lin Shunhan and Lin Shuncheng and took them to the Chaonan Dispatch Unit. While in custody Huang Wei was beaten into a comatose state, and because of the alarm raised by members of the community and municipal and public security officials, he was finally removed to the hospital. The police offered to release Lin Shun’an and the others on the condition that they say no more about the matter, but they refused, and eventually a formal investigation of the incident was carried out by the Jiaocheng District Procuratorate. But before this incident could be brought to trial, Lin Shun’an and the others were arrested again in April, along with Li Jianfeng, and observers believe these arrests for so-called “counter-revolutionary” crimes were an effort to thwart further action on the January 15 incident.

Court proceedings were held on May 28, June 12, and August 22, 2003 at the Intermediate People’s Court in Sanming City, but no verdict was reached due to lack of evidence. During the trial proceedings, Li Jianfeng said that he had been confined for extended periods of time in a metal cage measuring 1 cubic meter, that he had been denied sleep and water for 24 hours at a time, and that the injuries resulting from this abusive treatment were documented by the Fuding Municipal Detention Center. Lin Shun’an, Huang Xiangwei, Zhan Gongzhen, Zheng Xiaohua, Lin Shunhan and Lin Shuncheng also accused the authorities of abusive treatment.

The defendants also testified in court that the vast majority of the claims made against them in the indictment papers were blatant fabrications in revenge for the January 15 incident. Li Jianfeng testified in court that he never established a labor union, never produced the aforementioned book, and never directed anyone to carry out any of the activities described. He further claimed that even the fingerprints produced in evidence as his were false, as he had never been fingerprinted. Several defendants testified that they had told Procuratorate officials that the accusations against them were false, but this was not reflected in any of their statements.

HRIC is shocked by the accusations of gross fabrication in a major case alleging incitement to subvert state power. “It appears that enough doubts have been raised to justify a new investigation into this case,” said HRIC president Liu Qing. “The authorities should also thoroughly investigate allegations that the defendants have been physically abused in custody. Regardless of the ultimate guilt or innocence of a defendant, the integrity of the legal process must be maintained, and the physical well-being of each and every defendant must be protected.”