Chinese human rights activists Xu Zhiyong and Ding Jiaxi were convicted of subversion of state power and sentenced to heavy prison on Monday, April 10. Xu was sentenced to 14 years in prison and deprived of his political rights for eight years, while Ding was sentenced to 12 years in prison and deprived of his political rights for three years, also on charges of subversion of state power. Ding’s wife, Luo Shengchun, confirmed the sentencing to the BBC.
She told the BBC that the lawyers only informed the family of the sentence, and they were not allowed to share the verdict with their family members.
As of 5 pm on the same day (Beijing time), the Chinese authorities had not released or announced any relevant information about the case.
The case began in mid-December 2019 when several Chinese lawyers and activists were arrested in Xiamen, Fujian, after attending a gathering. Subsequently, Chinese police arrested participants in the gathering in Fujian, Shandong, Beijing, Hebei, Sichuan, Zhejiang and other places.
On April 5th this year, Ding Jiaxi, together with family members of two other human rights lawyers, Chang Weiping and Li Yuhang, sent an open letter to Zhang Jun, president of China’s Supreme People’s Court, alleging that their relatives had been subjected to torture, secret trials, prolonged detention and deprivation of the right to meet with relatives, and demanded that Zhang investigate.
Ding’s wife, Luo Shengchun, tweeted that less than six hours after the open letter was sent out, they received notice that Xu Zhiyong and Ding Jiaxi would be sentenced. She publicly released the court statements of the two. Xu Zhiyong’s statement to the court was about his dream of a beautiful, free, just and happy China.
CHDRA said that the Chinese authorities should immediately overturn the heavy prison sentences imposed on two of China’s most prominent human rights lawyers and activists based on unfounded charges.