Join our Mailing List

"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."
<-Back to WTN Archives WEI JINGSHENG SENTENCE A MOCKERY OF JUSTICE
Tibetan Flag

World Tibet Network News

Friday, January 5, 1996



4. WEI JINGSHENG SENTENCE A MOCKERY OF JUSTICE


Sender: Amnesty_International@io.org

This News Service is posted by the International Secretariat of Amnesty
International, 1 Easton Street, London WC1X 8DJ (Tel +44-71-413-5500,
Fax +44-71-956-1157)

The trial of China's leading dissident, Wei Jingsheng, was a mockery of
justice and his sentence is an outrage, Amnesty International said today.

'Today's verdict and harsh sentence shows the authorities's
determination to silence Wei Jingsheng for a long time and to intimidate
other potential critics into silence,' the human rights organization said.

"Wei Jingsheng has been imprisoned simply for expressing his views
peacefully and should be immediately released."

Wei Jingsheng was sentenced today to 14 years' imprisonment plus three
years deprivation of political rights on a charge of "conspiring to overthrow
the government". His trial lasted about five hours.

Though the authorities declared the trial was "open", foreign
journalists and diplomats were barred from entering the courtroom by dozens
of police surrounding the court. They were also prevented from taking
photographs outside the court.

His sentence, despite sustained international appeals for his release,
shows the authorities' contempt for international opinion. At a time when
China is increasingly playing an active role in global affairs and at the
United Nations, the government still chooses to ignore international human
rights standards and reacts to its critics in the way it did 15 years ago.

"This kind of sentence for a high profile critic, who did nothing that
could be considered "criminal" under international standards, sets the clock
back to where China was when it first sentenced Wei Jingsheng to 15 years'
imprisonment in 1979," Amnesty International said.

According to a Chinese court spokesman, Wei's relatives, his lawyers,
some Chinese journalists and "citizens" attended today's hearing at Beijing
No.1 Intermediate People's Court. Those allowed to attend are believed to
have been selected in advance by the authorities, as is the case in all such
"open" political trials.

BACKGROUND

At the trial, Wei Jingsheng pleaded not guilty, stating that all his
activities had been within Chinese law. He was accused of both investing and
trying to raise money to fund articles and activities "aimed at overthrowing
the government". According to reports, this referred in particular to Wei's
attempts to raise funds for the families of victims of the 1989 massacre in
Beijing, which included plans to hold an art exhibition in China. His
contacts with other dissidents were also cited as proof of his
"reactionary" activities.

The prosecution apparently cited in evidence several letters and
articles he had written both while serving his first prison sentence and
during the six months he was free before his re-arrest in April 1994.
According to an AFP report from Beijing today, this included a letter Wei
Jingsheng addressed from prison to leader Deng Xioping on the question of
Tibet.

After nearly 20 months in detention, notification that Wei Jingsheng
was to be tried came less than two weeks before the date of the trial,
leaving his family only days to appoint a lawyer. As of 12 December, the day
before the trial, his family had not yet been given a copy of the indictment
or even been allowed to see him.

The Beijing Public Procuratorate formally indicted Wei Jingsheng on 1
December 1995. On 3 December Wei Jingsheng's sister, Wei Ling, was told by
the Court that she should find her brother a lawyer and that the trial would
take place within about two weeks. This gave the family only days to find a
lawyer to represent Wei Jingsheng and to prepare a defence against the
serious charge of "engaging in activities in an attempt to overthrow the
government". Furthermore, the family was reportedly only informed on 8
December that the trial would take place on 13 December.

Prior to his trial Wei Jingsheng was being held in Banbuqiao detention
centre, within Beijing No.1 prison.

Amnesty International considers Wei Jingsheng to be a prisoner of
conscience who is being held for the peaceful exercise of his right to
freedom of expression and association. It is calling again for his immediate
and unconditional release. The organization also calls on the international
community to protest against the denial of proper time and facilities for Wei
Jingsheng to prepare his defence adequately.


Articles in this Issue:
  1. A FATHER'S DARING TREK - A TIBETAN MAN TAKES HIS SIX-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER ON A PERILOUS JOURNEY THROUGH THE WORLD'S HIGHEST, HARSHEST MOUNTAINS TO GIVE HER A FUTURE FREE FROM CHINESE RULE
  2. LETTERS - PROTECTION FOR TIBETAN CULTURE
  3. JIANG PLAYS BULLY - AS PART OF A POWER PLAY TO SUCCEED DENG, THE COUNTRY IS IN THE THROES OF ANOTHER CRACKDOWN
  4. WEI JINGSHENG SENTENCE A MOCKERY OF JUSTICE



Other articles this month - WTN Index - Mail the WTN-Editors

CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
Developed by plank