China: Two-year prison sentence for prominent human rights lawyer after 'sham' trial

The conviction and sentencing of prominent Chinese human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong to two years in jail is utterly unjust and he should be immediately and unconditionally released, said Amnesty International.

Earlier today, Changsha Intermediate People’s Court in central China found Jiang Tianyong guilty of “inciting subversion of state power”. Earlier, at a sham trial in August Mr Jiang “confessed” and apologised for fabricating rumours of torture by Chinese police, and for attending an overseas workshop to discuss changing China’s political system.  

William Nee, China researcher at Amnesty International, said:

“Jiang Tianyong has committed no crime. His unjust conviction is a textbook example of the Chinese authorities’ systematic persecution of those who are brave enough to defend human rights in China today.

“Jiang Tianyong’s trial was a total sham. Even with the most rudimentary examination of the facts the case against him crumbles. His so-called confession and apology, most likely extracted under duress, were nothing more than an act of political theatre directed by the authorities.

“The Chinese state media claim that Jiang Tianyong’s trial is evidence of the rule of law in action but this is a dangerous fabrication. If there was any justice, Jiang Tianyong would be immediately and unconditionally released.”

Torture allegations and lawyers detained

At his trial in August, Jiang Tianyong was accused of fabricating and promoting allegations of torture committed by the police against fellow detained lawyer Xie Yang, who was released on bail in May. However, the torture allegations first came to light after Xie Yang had finally been able to meet his lawyers in January, two months after Mr Jiang was originally bundled away by police and put in incommunicado detention.

Jiang’s arrest occurred after he visited Xie Yang’s wife. From the moment he was detained, he was denied access to his lawyers and family, and very likely subjected to torture and other ill-treatment. For months, the authorities refused to provide Jiang’s family with any information about his whereabouts.

Jiang had previously been detained in May 2012 and March 2014, each time beaten so badly that he sustained severe injuries.

Nearly 250 lawyers and activists have been targeted since an unprecedented crackdown against human rights activists began in China in July 2015. The lawyer Wang Quanzhang has been held in incommunicado detention for more than two years and is the last of those targeted still awaiting trial.

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