Chinese activist ‘Super Vulgar Butcher’ goes on trial on charges of subverting state power
Supporters say human rights campaigner’s case started in closed court session in Tianjin 27 months after he was detained
Chinese rights activist Wu Gan, also known as “Super Vulgar Butcher”, stood trial in Tianjin on Monday for subversion of state power, according to his supporters.
Wu had “recognised his actions violated the criminal law and constituted a crime”, the Tianjin No 2 Intermediate People’s Court said in a statement on its Weibo account. A verdict will be delivered at an unspecified later date.
He has been held for 27 months at a Tianjin detention centre.
Public interest in the case has been high, and there was a heavy security presence outside the court. More than a dozen supporters were removed from the scene by police, while observers and diplomats were prevented from approaching the area, according to rights activists
Wu’s lawyer Ge Yongxi said it was “inconvenient” to comment on the case. “History will have its own interpretation. [It is] not convenient to comment for now due to various reasons,” Ge said.
Wu – who uses “Super Vulgar Butcher” on social media – worked in an administrative role at Beijing’s Fengrui law firm.
He made his name in 2009 when he campaigned for Deng Yujiao, a pedicurist who was arrested for stabbing to death a government official who was trying to molest her. The outrage turned her case into a national cause and she was eventually released.
He also campaigned on behalf of the family of Xu Chunhe after he was shot dead by a police officer in front of his mother and children in Qingan, Heilongjiang in 2015.
Wu was taken into custody after taking part in a protest outside a Jiangxi province court in May that year, this time seeking justice for four men wrongly convicted for rape and murder in 2000. They were exonerated late last year.
Before his trial, Wu said in a statement posted on Twitter by his father, Xu Xiaoshun, he would not plead guilty nor defend himself because he had not committed any crime and was only exercising his basic rights.
Wu said the accusations against him were based on “no more than my public speech” my “support and help to innocent victims, and my exposure of the authorities and officials’ abuse of power ... they are all the exercise of legitimate citizen rights”.
He added: “I knew I would be heavily sentenced but I will never regret my actions nor the choice I made today.”
Fengrui law firm was targeted in the government’s “709 crackdown” against legal activists, two months after Wu’s detention.
Patrick Poon, China Researcher at Amnesty International, called for Wu’s immediate release.
“Wu Gan’s trial is a cruel farce and it is inconceivable that he will receive a fair hearing in what is a politically motivated prosecution. He is merely being punished for refusing to stop his innovative and legitimate campaigns for justice in China.”