Jiang Weiping, a 47-year old veteran journalist who exposed corruption and whose cause has been championed by the Committee to Protect Journalists and American Ambassador to China Clark Randt, has had his prison sentence reduced on appeal, according to information received by The Dui Hua Foundation from the Chinese Government.
Jiang was detained January 4, 2001 and subsequently convicted of illegally supplying state secrets and inciting the subversion of state power by the Dalian Intermediate People’s Court on January 21, 2002. He was given a combined sentence of eight years, with subsequent deprivation of political rights for five years. Jiang immediately filed an appeal. On December 26, 2002, the Liaoning Province Higher People’s Court heard the appeal and ruled in favor of the intermediate court’s determination of Jiang’s guilt. However, taking into account Jiang’s “good attitude,” it reduced the combined sentence to six years with subsequent deprivation of political rights for three years.
It is rare for a person convicted of a political crime to receive a reduction of sentence or parole. The changing of Jiang Weiping’s sentence, which occurred two days after the granting of medical parole to China Democracy Party activist Xu Wenli, is the first known example of someone convicted of endangering state security being given a sentence reduction.
Jiang’s case has been a matter of great concern to the international human rights and press freedom communities. He was given the 2001 International Press Freedom Award by the Committee to Protect Journalists, which has spearheaded the campaign for his release. He has been on many lists of prisoners of concern handed to the Chinese government by the United Nations and foreign countries. Since early last year, Ambassador Clark Randt Jr. has been speaking out publicly on behalf of Jiang Weiping.
In a recent exchange of letters between The Dui Hua Foundation and China’s Supreme Court, the Court made clear that parole and sentence reduction for individuals serving prison sentences for counterrevolution and endangering state security will continue to be “strictly handled” – in practice meaning that they are granted far less frequently than for other prisoners. Nevertheless, courts can grant relief, and as the cases of Xu Wenli and Jiang Weiping show, it is possible for those convicted of endangering state security to be given paroles and sentence reductions. Under Chinese regulations, Jiang will become eligible for “good behavior” parole in less than a year. The Dui Hua Foundation hopes that the relevant authorities will exercise clemency and free Jiang Weiping.
Li Jiaqing, a worker’s leader in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, has been exempted from prosecution for disturbing the social order by the Zhengzhou Municipality Zhong Yuan District People’s Court.
Li was the chief engineer of Zhengzhou Paper Works. Because of complaints by the workers, Li organized demonstrations, and occupied the factory’s office building on June 7, 2000. Demonstrations lasted for more than two months, during which time the factory’s operations essentially ceased. Li was detained in August 2000 and subsequently charged with “gathering a crowd to disturb social order.”
On February 13, 2001, Li was tried in the Zhengzhou Municipality Zhong Yuan District People’s Court. In May 2001, the court decided to exempt Li from prosecution. The Dui Hua Foundation has been informed that the court has decided to drop the case against Li. The action, which amounts to an acquittal, is rare in such cases.
Li’s case has been championed by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions and several other labor rights groups.
The “New Youth Society”
The Dui Hua Foundation has received information on four “Internet dissidents” known as the “New Youth Society” who were arrested on April 20, 2001.
The four individuals – Xu Wei, Yang Zili, Jin Haike and Zhang Hongkai – were formally charged with incitement to subvert state power on September 10, 2001. Their trial at the Beijing First Intermediate People’s Court began on September 28, 2001. Because some of the evidence against them allegedly concerned state secrets, the court suspended the trial for further investigation. In February 2003, the court resumed the trial of Xu Wei, Yang Zili, Jin Haike and Zhang Hongkai. No verdict has yet been reached.
In recent days, The Dui Hua Foundation has received information on more than 50 other cases of individuals raised in the human rights dialogue with the Chinese Government. The provision of information took place at the conclusion of the visit to Beijing of Assistant Secretary of State Lorne Craner within the framework of the increasingly regular exchange of views and information that characterizes the bilateral dialogue on human rights. The information provided by the Chinese Government concerns prisoners convicted of counterrevolution, endangering state security and “using an evil cult to sabotage implementation of the law.” The information is being analyzed and shared with interested parties.
The Dui Hua Foundation
San Francisco, California
March 17, 2003