12/13/2006, 00.00
CHINA

Human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng convicted on subversion charges

Beijing No 1 Intermediate Court convicts lawyer, known across China for his open letters against Communist mismanagement and in defence of underground Christians and Falun Gong members, on the basis of his ‘spontaneous’ guilty plea.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A People’s Court in Beijing has found Gao Zhisheng, a well-known human rights lawyer, guilty of “inciting subversion of state power,” said two lawyers hired by his family. The two were prevented from attending the trial.

The conviction by Beijing No 1 Intermediate Court was based on Mr Gao’s guilty plea, his lawyers said. However, the credibility of his ‘spontaneous’ admission of guilt remains in doubt.

“Because we didn't get a chance to meet with Gao Zhisheng to get first-hand information on his view of the subversion charges [. . .], we're not in any position to comment further,” attorneys Mo Shaoping and Ding Xikui explained.

Gao Zhisheng is well-known around China for his open letters to President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in which he denounced mismanagement by Communist Party leaders and courageously defended underground Christians and members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement.

His actions led to abuses by the authorities who shut down his law firm and forced him to submit to long periods of house arrest.

 

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