08/20/2014, 00.00
CHINA
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Human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang could get ten years in prison

by Wang Zhicheng
The police are suspicious over his meetings with former USA ambassador Gary Locke and his travels to Japan. However, their main issue is his criticism of the party apparatus and the career of its princelings.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - Human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang (pictured) could be charged with "collusion" with foreign powers, and get ten years in prison.

Chinese police questioned the dissident about meetings with a former US ambassador to China, his frequent trips to Japan, and his online "insults" against senior officials, including Mao's grandson.

Pu's lawyer Zhang Sishi said that in February Pu met Ambassador Locke who had asked him to share his views on human rights.

Beijing police questioned Pu about his frequent trips to Japan, asking him "why he travelled to Japan four times every year", Zhang said. The reason is that Pu's son studies in Japan.

On the issue of "insults," he said that Pu apologised if he offended anyone, but that was not his intention.

On Weibo, Pu criticised officials like Mao Xinyu, a grandson of Mao Zedong, who thanks to family connections holds the rank of major general in the People's Liberation Army, as well as a Chinese legislator who said publicly that she has never voted no in a parliament session.

Both Zhang and Pu fear that police questioning could mean that the authorities plan to charge Pu with collusion.

As one of the most open critics of the Chinese regime, Pu Zhiqiang is well known for providing legal aid to workers, peasants, artists like Ai Weiwei as well as members of the New Citizens' Movement, a group that has urged Chinese leaders to disclose their assets.

As a veteran of the 1989 student protest movement, he was jailed last May for participating in a seminar to commemorate the Tiananmen massacre.

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