Chinese Law Prof Blog

Editor: Donald C. Clarke
George Washington University Law School

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Xu Zhiyong gets four years

Here's the report (in Chinese) from the court's Weibo feed, and here's some pre-sentence commentary from the Global Times. The spin is that Xu Zhiyong is being punished not for the content of what he was seeking, but for the way in which he sought it. Of course, the article contains the usual tendentious claims that people like Xu demand legal immunity for whatever actions they might take in pursuit of their goals - claims that are not backed by any evidence and are too silly to bother refuting.

[Some text and links changed from original post.]

Commentary, News - Chinese Law, People and Institutions | Permalink


I read Xu's "manifesto", and his allegation that the court was out to get him because they didn't allow any of his 5 witnesses to testify.

But Xu's manifesto never once asserted any valid legal defense to the charges of conspiracy to incite, nor complained that the law was vague or unjust, nor showed any relevance of his own "witnesses".

As you know, witnesses do not have absolute right to testify. Witnesses must be shown to have relevant information to a valid legal theory of defense of prosecution. Even in US, if a witness is irrelevant (or that there is no valid legal basis for the witness to testify for), then a judge would usually exclude the witness as irrelevant, and refuse the testimony.

Xu's manifesto is simply a long rant of everything from "democracy" and "freedom", to why he's a really good noble person. But that's not a valid defense. And merely talking about democracy and freedom does not make him a credible fighter for same – especially since the Chinese enjoy vastly more of both than ever in their long history.

I also note, the 4 years he got is similar to the UK Facebook Riot Incitement cases (where 2 guys got sentenced for posting stuff on Facebook, even when no riots actually took place.

Posted by: Gantal | Jan 26, 2014 6:28:57 PM

If you think Xu is all talk, then you obviously know nothing about him. Commentary is more persuasive if well informed. It's also more persuasive if not hidden behind a veil of anonymity. I sign my posts; what are you afraid of?

Posted by: Don Clarke | Jan 26, 2014 7:34:39 PM

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