The trial of Chinese rights lawyer, Xie Yang, who is facing charges for inciting subversion and disrupting court order, was postponed this week after a crowd of supporters, including diplomats, gathered outside the courtroom. China Digital Times reports on Xie’s case – a case which drew international attention after Xie’s account of torture was circulated via worldwide news outlets.
Rights lawyer, Xie Yang, is one of few rights lawyers still awaiting trial after the “709” crackdown of 2015, which refers to the start of an aggressive response by Chinese officials to quash China’s rights defense movement – perceived by the Communist Party as a threat to regime security for its potential to energize civil society and expose abuses of power and the justice system. Massive police operations targeting human rights lawyers, coordinated by the Ministry of Public Security, began on July 9, 2015, across China. It is estimated around 300 rights lawyers and activists were detained, interrogated, threatened, or charged in what some rights groups and observers have called the harshest crackdown on human rights and civil society in decades.
Chinese law requires courts to provide three days notice to the family and lawyers of a defendant of any changes to a scheduled trial date but sudden delays are not uncommon.
A supporter outside the courthouse where Xie Yang was scheduled to appear told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that although China “is always emphasizing the rule of law,” through Xie’s case, “we can tell whether or not there is any kind of reality in that.”