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Chinese Policeman Appeals 14-Year Sentence over call for democracy; Lawyer Silenced by Court

Posted by Author on February 9, 2013

Sources told Human Rights in China (HRIC) that during the three-hour appeals hearing on February 7, 2013 that ended without a ruling, the Shenzhen Municipal Intermediate People’s Court repeatedly interrupted the lawyers for Shenzhen police officer Wang Dengchao (王登朝), who was sentenced to 14 years in prison on “embezzlement” and “obstructing official business.” Wang, 38, has maintained that these charges were trumped-up.

Wang’s wife, Li Yangting (李彥婷), who attended the hearing, said, “Wang said in court, ‘I did not embezzle even one cent. I demand an open and fair hearing of my case, so that everyone can see clearly whether I have committed crimes. I would accept even the death penalty if I could have an open and fair hearing.’”
She added, “Wang was notified of this hearing only this morning. They took him to the bathroom to wait for the hearing to start; they handcuffed him and put a paper bag over his head.” She was not allowed to bring in their seven-month-old son, born after Wang was detained.

Li Jinglin (李静林), one of Wang Dengchao’s appeal lawyers, points out several procedural problems. Li said that the presiding judge acted without authority in unilaterally rejecting the appellant’s application for recusal of the panel of three judges. In addition, Li said, the court completely ignored new evidence that he tried to introduce.

When he was detained on March 8, 2012, Wang was an officer at the Luohu Branch of the Shenzhen Municipal Public Security Bureau as well as a manager at the seventh bureau of the Shenzhen Security Service Company, a business controlled by the Public Security Bureau. Before his detention, he had been planning a large public gathering at Shenzhen’s Lianhuashan Park to commemorate Sun Yat-sen and to call for democracy, social security, free medical care, and equal pension for all, using his own money and a bank loan to pay for 3,000 t-shirts printed with Sun’s picture and motto, “Justice for All” (天下为公). On a previous occasion, Wang caused a stir when he attempted to organize a union in the Shenzhen Security Service Company.

An internal document showed that the police authorities originally planned to cite him for 1) violation of political disciplinary rules for police officers (by “spreading any views that damage the state’s reputation, or organizing or participating in such activities as assemblies, processions, or demonstrations with the purpose of going against the state,” prohibited by the Regulations on the Disciplinary Actions against Civil Servants of Administrative Organs [行政机关公务员处分条例]), and 2) endangering state security (by “participating in, harboring, or conspiring any illegal act which harms state security,” prohibited by the  Regulations on the Disciplines for People’s Police Forces of Public Security Organs [公安机关人民警察纪律条令]). The latter violation would lead to a charge of subversion of state power.

Lawyer Li Jinglin wrote in a profile of Wang (Chinese only) that he believed that when the authorities failed to establish a case of subversion, they moved on to the charge of “obstructing official business.” And then to make sure that Wang would get a heavy sentence, Li wrote, they made up the crime of “embezzlement” which carries a minimum penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum penalty of death when 100,000 yuan or more is involved. The prosecution accused Wang of pocketing more than 2.83 million yuan from a Shenzhen Security Service Company contract to provide power grid security for the World University Games in Shenzhen in 2011.

According to the profile, Wang Dengchao graduated from the Northwest University of Political Science and Law, and previously served as the deputy director of a police sub-station after becoming an officer in Shenzhen. He has also given financial assistance to the daughter of imprisoned rights defense lawyer Gao Zhisheng (高智晟).

Wang was sentenced by Luohu District People’s Court of Shenzhen on November 26, 2012. The appeal hearing was originally scheduled for February 1, 2013. That day, when about 50 netizens from Guangzhou and Shenzhen and other parts of the country gathered in front of the Shenzhen Municipal Intermediate People’s Court to show their support for Wang and at the lawyers’ request, the court postponed the hearing to February 7.

– Source: Huamn Rights in China

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