Authorities in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang on Tuesday ended the subversion trial of two members of a banned opposition party after both men pleaded not guilty, their lawyers said.
Lu Gengsong and Chen Shuqing, both members of the banned opposition China Democracy Party (CDP), stood trial on Tuesday at the Hangzhou Intermediate People’s Court for “incitement to subvert state power,”
their lawyers said.
“We had a spirited debate about the defendants’ membership of the CDP, and their activism within it, as well as articles they published overseas,” Chen’s defense attorney Fu Yonggang told RFA after the three-hour trial ended.
“They claimed that their attending a meeting in Huangshan and a condolence event was evidence of subversion,” Fu said. “I challenged them, asking what part of those actions constituted incitement to subvert state power.”
Around a dozen supporters braved the rain to gather outside the court buildings, which were cordoned off by police and plainclothes officers.
Supporters were denied permission to enter the courtroom, while three entry permits were issued to each family.
Fu said the prosecution’s case hinged on the two men’s activities with the CDP, and also on the publication of articles on overseas websites.
“Their intentions were good; they wanted their country to improve, and for its people to be happier,” he said.
“There were a lot of constructive opinions expressed in them.”
Chen’s wife Zhang Donghong said her husband had pleaded not guilty, repeating his plea in his final statement.
“I was there for the whole trial,” Zhang said. “He tried to explain the relevant views of the CDP.”
She added: “Chen Shuqing seemed in fairly good spirits, and he didn’t seem to have lost or gained weight.”
“He spoke very well, although I can’t repeat all that he said to you,” she said, adding: “I thought that everything lawyers Liu and Fu said was very reasonable.”
Lu’s defense attorney Mo Shaoping said his client was tried at the same time for the same crime.
“They talked about his articles, and the meeting in Huangshan, and a few other gatherings,” Mo said.
“We argued that he is not guilty, on the basis that the prosecution had insufficient evidence,” he said.
“It’s finished now, and there was no verdict; that will be announced soon,” Mo added.
Fellow defense attorney Ding Xikui said Lu, 58, had been prevented from finishing his final statement by court officials.
“There was too much language in it that the court officials didn’t agree with, such as comments about the [ruling Chinese] Communist Party, and about persecution, illegal actions by the authorities,” Ding said.
“He spoke for a very long time, and eventually they cut him off, wouldn’t let him finish,” he said.
“They told him that the words he was using were a threat to state security, were the language of incitement to subvert state power,” he said.
Fellow defense lawyer Liu Shuqing said the defense had also been denied permission to call witnesses during the trial.
“My client Chen Shuqing spoke in a spirited way in his own defense, and pleaded not guilty,” Liu said. “Overall, I think I and Fu Yonggang made a pretty good argument that he wasn’t guilty, too.”