Four New Citizens’ Movement Activists Sentenced in Beijing

The Haidian District People’s Court announced guilty verdicts on April 18 for lawyer Ding Jiaxi (丁家喜) as well as activists Li Wei (李蔚), Zhao Changqing (赵常青), and Zhang Baocheng (张宝成) who were all tried last week in Beijing (see report). Ding was sentenced to three and a half years while Zhao was punished with two-and-a-half years in prison. Both Li Wei and Zhang Baocheng received a two-year sentence. Tried on charges of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order of a public place,” the four were seized about a year ago in the crackdown on peaceful assembly, association and expression. CHRD has confirmed that 7 individuals have been given prison sentences after being swept up in the crackdown.

All court proceedings were held under strict police control, and one day before sentence hearing, Beijing judicial authorities expelled the qualification of Ding Jiaxi’s lawyer, Sui Muqing (隋牧青), to represent his client. Sui had been given two warnings and a fine during the trial, and authorities have since rejected Sui’s defense statement for walking out of the court in protest of procedural violations, and blocked him from attending the sentencing. Zhao’s trial opened on April 10 and lasted only one day. The four convicted activists have been held in Beijing No. 3 Detention Center. They are affiliated with the “New Citizens’ Movement,” a loose grouping of human rights defenders advocating political and legal reforms spearheaded by legal advocate Xu Zhiyong (许志永), himself serving a four-year sentence handed down in January.[1]

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