April 21, 2017
RTHK reported that Xia’s wife and brother were allowed to attend the proceedings at the Beijing Higher People’s Court.
Prominent activists that the lawyer defended also include Tan Zuoren – who investigated the construction quality of structures affected by the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake, and Guo Yushan – a mainlander accused of supporting Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Occupy protests.
The prosecution argued that he defrauded some RMB 10 million in order to pay off gambling debts.
Hong Kong-based NGO China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group (CHRLCG) cited Xia’s lawyer Tong Zongjin as saying that the court did not conduct a hearing on Friday, but simply issued a reduced sentence for Xia.
“Appeal hearings in China are usually done by delivering only the written verdict and courts often ignore defence lawyers’ arguments,” Amnesty International researcher Patrick Poon told HKFP. “[This] exemplifies the problem of China’s criminal system.”