Wang Quanzhang, Citizen of the People’s Republic of China
Photo: Kyodo News
On January 24, 2019, after more than 1,300 days of incommunicado detention, the Tianjin Second Intermediate People’s Court finally convicted me of the crime of subversion of state power; on April 24, 2019, the Tianjin Higher People’s Court quickly issued a ruling upholding the original judgment.
The judgment of the trial of first instance and the ruling of the second-instance court involved extremely serious, unlawful operations with respect to both facts and procedure.
After they interrogated me dozens of times, the investigators finally extracted and summarized three so-called “crimes” from my professional experience and daily life:
1. Participation in the incident involving meeting detainees at the Jiansanjiang Detention Center;
2. Establishing an overseas company with Peter [Dahlin] to apply for funds for legal aid;
3. Accepting media interviews relating to three Falun Gong cases I handled, including the “Jingjiang Court’s Judicial Detention Incident.”
It took “a half a year or even up to a year and a half” of “research” (in the words of prosecutor Gong Ning 宫宁) by police, prosecutors and court personnel to proclaim that the three incidents were found to be “a new type of subversion of state power, a mode of color revolution”;
Regarding the “Jiansanjiang Detention Center Incident,” the Jiansanjiang police agency had already dealt with it, and I was reprimanded for having “disrupted the order in public places”; the Tianjin law enforcement agencies (i.e., police, prosecutors, courts) continued to escalate and attack by violating the legal principles of the “prohibition against double jeopardy” and “res judicata.”
Regarding establishing an overseas company, the application for legal aid funds is protected by the Regulations of The People’s Republic of China on Legal Aid and the UN “Declaration on Human Rights Defenders,” which China agreed to when it was adopted by consensus. The company did not support any Falun Gong cases, nor did I personally take a cent from the US National Endowment for Democracy. The Beijing Municipal National Security Bureau already determined that the actions of the company’s main figure, Peter [Dahlin], did not constitute a crime. The Tianjin law enforcement apparatus nonetheless determined that my early participation in the organization was a crime, which violates the legal principle of “Nihil in lege intolerabilius est [quam] eandem rem diverso jure censeri,” or “Nothing is more intolerable in law than that the same matter, thing or case should be subject to different views of law.”
Regarding accepting media interviews in Falun Gong cases I handled, this is speech rather than behavior. Taking speech as conduct in order to judge and attack me shows that personnel from Tianjin law enforcement agencies handling my case lacked common sense, were confused in their understanding, and were unscrupulous in cooking up charges against me.
The language used by the media, the language of popular discourse and the language of law differ significantly with respect to the connotation and denotation of the same word, and in the legal context, the strictest and narrowest interpretation of a word is pursued. The legal definition of terms analogous to “subversion” used by normal countries across the globe is “armed overthrow.” Even if someone rambles on about “subversion,” it is not the meaning of “subversion” in law, and cannot be criminalized by the machinery of power arbitrarily. It is not the practice of a rule-of-law country to mix up legal terms with popular spoken language, language used by the media, and even literary terms. The machinery of power cannot take the conduct of citizens and arbitrarily “prove” such behavior to be subversion; it is even more shocking for the authorities to consider some of the methods of practicing lawyers in the normal course of their work, which at most could be seen as inappropriate, as subverting the regime.