June 28, 2018
Authorities in the southwestern province of Sichuan are moving ahead with the subversion trial of a former professor at a ruling Chinese Communist Party school, although a date has yet to be set for the trial, RFA has learned.
Zi Su was taken away from his home in Sichuan’s provincial capital Chengdu on Apr. 28, 2017, after he posted an open letter online calling on Chinese President Xi Jinping to step down as head of the party in favor of Hu Deping, son of late ousted Premier Hu Yaobang, whose death in 1989 sparked the student-led Tiananmen Square protests.
He was initially held on suspicion of “incitement to subvert state power,” but the charge was changed to the more serious “subversion of state power.”
Lawyers attended Zi’s pretrial hearing at the Chengdu Intermediate People’s Court on Tuesday, his defense attorney Ran Tong told RFA.
The defense is calling for an open trial, but the authorities have yet to make a decision on this or on the trial date.
Zi plans to plead “not guilty” to the charges. However, defendants in China’s judicial system who refuse to make “confessions” that are often broadcast by state-run media typically receive much harsher sentences.
Zi also wrote that Xi had launched an “unbridled attack” on rights lawyers and democracy activists, as well as on online freedom of expression.
He said the president’s much-vaunted anti-corruption campaign had been selective, and “waged under a one-party dictatorship.”
Most of all, Zi hit out at the “seven taboos,” a list of things never to be discussed in public life, which were the subject of party Document No. 9, which veteran political journalist Gao Yu was jailed for “leaking overseas.”
They are: universal values of human rights and democratic, constitutional government, press freedom, civil society, citizens’ rights, the historical mistakes of the Chinese Communist Party, the financial and political elite, and judicial independence.