China: Prominent rights lawyer’s delayed trial opens in China

May 8, 2017

This photo taken on April 25, 2017 shows supporters of lawyer Xie Yang outside the Intermediate People's Court in Changsha, in China's Hunan province

The trial of a prominent Chinese human rights lawyer began on Monday without prior public notice, following delayed proceedings in the case which sparked international concern after allegations he was tortured.

Xie Yang, who had worked on numerous cases considered politically sensitive by China’s ruling Communist Party, was among hundreds of legal staff and activists detained in a crackdown in the summer of 2015.

“On May 8 at 9:30 am, the trial of defendant Xie Yang opened. (He) is charged with inciting subversion of state power and disrupting court order,” the Changsha Intermediate People’s Court said in a post on its verified microblog.

The court also posted what appeared to be a transcript of opening proceedings.

Last-minute delays or sudden announcements of sensitive trials are not uncommon even though Chinese law requires courts to give a defendant’s family and lawyers three days notice of any changes.

On April 25, dozens of supporters and at least seven diplomats had gathered at the Changsha court in central Hunan province — a long way from Beijing and Shanghai — only to be told the trial was indefinitely postponed.

Since they received no confirmation of the new trial date, diplomatic sources told AFP they were not prepared to head to Changsha again to observe the trial.

Bill of Indictment Against Human Rights Lawyer Xie Yang

Xie Yang’s Handwritten Statement on January 13, 2017 (CHINESE)

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