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Li Heping Is Sentenced, Lee Ming-cheh and Lu Yuyu Face Trial

At the end of April, the ordeal of Li Heping, a prominent lawyer who was caught up in the ‘709 crackdown’ against the weiquan community that took place in July 2015, came to an end. After being detained for almost two years, Li, who is well known to the international community for his overt rights activism, was convicted of ‘subversion of state power’. In a secret trial, a court in Tianjin sentenced him to three years in prison with a four-year reprieve, meaning that he was to be released but could still be arrested again at any time. The court ruled that since 2008, Li Heping repeatedly used the Internet and foreign media interviews to discredit and attack China’s state power and the legal system. The court also accused Li of accepting foreign funding and employing paid defendants. For many others the ordeal continued. On 26 May, the Chinese authorities formally announced that Lee Ming-cheh, the human rights advocate from Taiwan who had disappeared on arrival to Macao Airport in March, was under arrest on a charge of ‘subverting state power’. Finally, on 23 June former migrant worker and blogger Lu Yuyu—who was detained in Yunnan province in June 2016 along with his partner Li Tingyu for his work of meticulously recording details of public protests online (see Manfred Elfstrom’s chapter in the present volume)—stood trial for ‘picking quarrels and provoking troubles’, facing three to five years in jail. Li Tingyu was tried in April and later released without a verdict. EN

(Sources: BBC; Hong Kong Free Press; The Guardian; The New York Times; The Wall Street Journal; Weibo)

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