Policeman Wang Dengchao jailed for graft 'after calling for democracy'

Officer was arrested ahead of rally to mark Sun Yat-sen anniversary, rights group says

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 January, 2013, 8:46am

A Shenzhen policeman was sentenced to 14-1/2 years' jail on corruption charges in November after he tried to organise a pro-democracy rally in a local park, his wife said yesterday.

On November 26, the Luohu District People's Court found Wang Dengchao, 38, guilty of embezzlement when he was among those in charge of security for the World University Games in Shenzhen in 2011, the rights group Chinese Human Rights Defenders said. Xinhua said in an earlier report that Wang had embezzled 2.8 million yuan (HK$3.4 million). He was also convicted of "obstructing official duty" for scuffling with a police officer in March.

A staff member at the court declined to comment yesterday.

Wang planned to stage a rally in Lianhuashan Park in Shenzhen on March 10 last year to commemorate the 87th anniversary of the death of Sun Yat-sen but was detained two days prior, his wife, Li Yanting, said.

Chinese Human Rights Defenders said Wang wanted to attract people's attention to calls for democratic reforms. It said he had tried to advocate pro-democracy ideas for years after making contact with local activists on online forums

A Xinhua report last month said Wang, who was also a manager of a company in charge of the security at the university games, had lied about staff and embezzled salaries and various payments worth 2.8 million yuan for non-existent staff.

His wife said he had been given the job by the government and insisted that he never kept the money, adding that the family was always short of cash.

"The money never entered his pocket … my husband never got involved in corruption and he shouldn't be treated like this," she said. "Some people are trying to set him up."

She refused to give details, citing concerns for her safety.

Li gave birth to a son in June, three months after her husband was detained. She said he had never seen the baby because she has not been allowed to visit him at the Luohu police detention centre, where he is still held.

She said her husband had appealed against the sentence but was still awaiting a response.