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Former criminal lawyer Li Zhuang. Photo: NYT

Claiming set-up by Bo Xilai, lawyer Li Zhuang seeks review on conviction

Former lawyer jailed for aiding crime boss during Bo Xilai's anti-triad campaign believes he will be cleared after meeting court officials

Bo Xilai

Li Zhuang, a former lawyer who was jailed for fabricating evidence for a crime boss prosecuted during disgraced former Chongqing party boss Bo Xilai's anti-triad campaign, said yesterday after a meeting with senior court officials that he was optimistic he would be vindicated.

Xinhua reported yesterday that officials from the Chongqing No 1 Intermediate People's Court met Li yesterday morning before discussing the appeal he lodged. Li also met officials from the Supreme People's Procuratorate last Friday.

Li said yesterday that the Chongqing court officials, including a criminal court deputy chief, Huang Xu , were enthusiastic about his case during the meeting. Li said Huang would be the judge responsible for hearing his appeal.

Li was upbeat yesterday: "I'm almost 100 per cent sure my case will be reversed sooner or later, particularly after the meeting. Once my case is vindicated, I believe scores of officials from the police, prosecution and judiciary will be subject to punishment, which means the impact will be huge."

He said Bo's case might be heard after his case was settled. Bo has been accused of graft and abuse of power but the formal charges he will face have yet to be announced.

Legal experts are optimistic as well. Chen Youxi , Li's defence lawyer in late 2009, said yesterday: "It's almost certain that the court will accept the appeal. The media, including the official media, have made a huge noise already, which put them under pressure."

Li was deprived of his qualification to practise law and jailed for 30 months for fabricating evidence in his defence of Gong Gangmo , an alleged triad boss, in early 2010. Li has maintained he was a victim of Bo's political campaign, although his prison term was reduced to 18 months and he was released in June last year.

The result of Li's case may give some hint as to the likelihood that other contentious judgments during the Chongqing crackdown might be reversed. Dozens of triad bosses and their alleged friends in the police force and government were targeted.

The Guangzhou-based reported yesterday that three convicted triad bosses, Gong, Li Jun and Li Qiang , had filed appeals against their verdicts while at least 900 policemen had cleared their names after Bo's downfall.

This newspaper reported in May that more than 1,300 police officers in Chongqing had appealed for their cases to be re-examined, with almost half already under review by then.

Professor Jiang Ping, the former head of China University of Political Science and Law, said the mainland had much to do to fix its judicial system.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: crackdown casualty awaits vindication