05/09/2017, 17.07
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The ‘phoney confessions' show now features Xie Yang as well

by Wang Zhicheng

The human rights lawyer claims that he was brainwashed by a group of Christian lawyers in Hong Kong and South Korea, and that he was never tortured. His lawyer, Chen Jiangang, who had released Xie’s affidavit on torture, is now under police control.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – A court in Changsha (Hunan) released a transcript and a video of Xie Yang's "confession". The human rights lawyer had been arrested in the ‘709 crackdown’ in 2015 along with hundreds of other activists and colleagues.

In his “confession”, Xie says that he was brainwashed by Christian advocacy groups in Hong Kong and South Korea, that he was not tortured, and that he was guilty of "inciting subversion of state power".

His trial had been scheduled for 25 April, but the presence of its supporters, journalists and representatives of the European Union led the court to postpone it until yesterday.

Xie is well know for defending petitioners, activists, and dissidents. His case has drawn the attention of the international community after his lawyer, Chen Jiangang, released transcripts of his meetings with Xie, in which the latter says he was subjected to torture where he was first detained.

Last January, Xie gave an affidavit to Chen, in which he says that he would soon appear on television or in the trial, making a confession, but that it would be the result of torture or of a compromise in exchange for being reunited with his family.

In the affidavit, Xie states that he was “completely innocent,” and that police had repeatedly tortured him to extract a confession. If he ever “admit[ed] guilt, either in writing or in an audio or video recording,” it would “not indicate my true thoughts, but instead was coerced by torture and ill-treatment.

In March, police claimed that Xie had fired Chen, and placed him under its control.

In his “confession”, Xie says that he was brainwashed in Hong Kong and South Korea, where he had travelled invited by the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group (CHRLCG). He claims that the latter sought to push him towards “overthrowing the existing ­system and achieving Western constitutionalism in China”.

In Hong Kong, CHRLCG President Albert Ho Chun-yan dismissed such allegations and accusations, noting that his group often invited human rights lawyers from the mainland to take part in exchanges in Hong Kong.

“[Xie] was tortured into conceding,” Chen told the South China Morning Post. “Nobody would believe he willingly said what he said, and nobody would believe this was a fair trial.”

Torture and taped “confessions” are a hallmark of China’s justice system, especially when it comes to activists and dissidents. With respect to the ‘709 Crackdown’, AsiaNews has covered the cases of Wang Quanzhang (王全璋) and Li Chunfu (李春富), both of whom were tortured.

One of the best known taped confessions is that of Zhang Kai, a Christian lawyer who together with a group of colleagues, tried to stop a campaign to remove crosses in the southern province of Zhejiang. He too made a "confession" in which he acknowledged all his mistakes.

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