January 5, 2017
A Shanghai court has agreed to hear a defamation suit brought by the father of a human rights activist against a state-backed media outlet.
Jiang Lianghou, father of activist Jiang Tianyong, received a notice from the Jingan District People’s Court on Wednesday saying it had accepted his case against Shanghai Dongfang Newspaper, which owns news portal Thepaper.cn.
Jiang Lianghou claims the online news service published a report in December that damaged his son’s reputation. The report was republished in various other government-backed outlets, including Legal Daily and Procuratorate Daily.
“Jiang Lianghou is of view that the report in Thepaper.cn about Jiang Tianyong is not based on facts, judged him guilty before the court process and damaged his reputation,” according to a statement from Chen Jinxue, the son’s defence lawyer.
Jiang Lianghou filed similar suits in Beijing and Guangzhou against media outlets but they were rejected, according to Chen’s statement.
The Chaoyang District People’s Court in Beijing and Guangzhou’s Yuexiu District People’s Court refused to accept or process the applications filed, the statement said. The courts also refused to explain why the applications were rejected.
Jiang Tianyong, a lawyer until he was disbarred in 2009, went missing on November 21 in Changsha, Hunan province. He was later confirmed to be under heavy guard at a residential location in Zhengzhou, Henan province, on suspicion of subversion.
His disappearance drew international concern with numerous parties expressing fears for his welfare.
He had most recently helped to publicise the plight of nearly two dozen lawyers arrested in a broad crackdown that began in July last year and resulted in hundreds of rights campaigners being rounded up.
DAY OF THE ENDANGERED LAWYER JANUARY 24, 2017 (CHINA):