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4 Aug 2016


US criticises China's 'political' trials as fourth activist punished for subversion

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…Christian activist Gou Hongguo [who had protested against forced evictions]…was given three years in prison, suspended for three years, the official Xinhua news agency said…Gou’s trial was the fourth at the Tianjin court this week, and followed that of high-profile rights lawyer Zhou Shifeng

Campaign groups have condemned the trials, and US state department spokesman Mark Turner said the charges were “vague and apparently politically motivated”. “It’s troubling that Chinese authorities denied these defendants access to their chosen counsel and family members as well,” he said. “We urge China to release all the lawyers and activists who were detained on 9 July 2015, and remove restrictions on their freedom of movement and professional activities.”

Authorities insist the Tianjin trials are open, with the court stating that about 40 people including politicians, legal scholars, and “civilian representatives from all walks of life”, as well as mainland and foreign media outlets, were present at Gou’s proceedings.

But family members of those detained, particularly their wives, complain of being constantly surveilled and forcibly being kept away from the court or barred from seeking further information…