By China Change, published: November 28, 2014
Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄) and Sun Desheng (孙德胜) were tried November 28, 2014, at Tianhe Court in Guangzhou, for “allegedly gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place.” The trial began at 9am and, after 18 hours, concluded shortly before 3 am on November 29. The court will announce the verdict another time. Radio Free Asia talked to Li Jinxing (李金星) and Zhang Lei (张磊), two of Guo Feixiong’s defense lawyers, shortly after the trial, and Chen Jinxue (陈进学), Sun Desheng’s lawyer.
Li Jinxing told Min Zhang of RFA that, during the course of the entire proceeding, the court violated the rights of the defendants and the defense lawyers. The court repeatedly and rudely interrupted the speeches of the defense lawyers and the defendants, and also repeatedly warned and chided the defense. It did so while the defense lawyers spoke, during the cross-examinations, and while the defendants spoke. In the end, Sun Desheng was interrupted while making a closing statement. The young man told the court how he grew up and how he chose to be a democracy activist. The court ordered the court marshals to take away Guo Feixiong’s written statement and then arbitrarily announced the end of the trial. China Change has presented a full English translation of Guo Feixiong’s closing statement – The Sovereignty of the People: My Conviction and My Dream.
Nonetheless, Mr. Guo Feixiong spoke intermittently for about a total 40 minutes during the course of the trial, defending himself forcefully and eloquently. His core defense was that Chinese citizens are entitled to their civil and political rights, that he advocated the peaceful and rational practice of constitutional rights such as freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly. He said that he is innocent and that he was not afraid to bear the consequences of his advocacy.
In fierce speeches and confrontations, the lawyers defended their clients.
Lawyer Li Jinxing told RFA that “in my ten years of practice as a lawyer, this was the most barbaric court I have ever been to.” “We felt the court was like a fascist, Cultural-Revolution style apparatus, and the judge pushed the trial forward so crazily that it felt like a tank bulldozing the proceeding.”
Indeed the court seemed to be determined to conclude the trial in one day. It gave only two breaks after defense lawyers repeated protests, each half-an-hour long: one around noon and the other not until 7:40 pm. Guo Feixiong was so hungry that he almost passed out in his chair.
Lawyer Zhang Lei told RFA that “I am very angry. The court seriously violated the right to defense of the lawyers and the clients. Shamelessly they disregarded the law in an important case like this. We are considering to sue the head judge for abuses of the law and his power.”
RFA also spoke to Guo Feixiong’s sister. “This is the first time that I ever attended a trial. What I saw is an unjust and unfair trial. The judge would not let my brother speak, keeping interrupting him and his lawyers.” She also said that a lot of witnesses’ testimonies were so blatantly false that even dates and locations of events were wrong.
For 470 days since his arrest in August, 2013, Guo Feixiong has not been allowed daily time outside as other prisoners. Sun Desheng was subjected to the same inhumane, illegal treatment. Sun’s lawyers and family members told RFA that Sun Desheng was mistreated in jail with the prison holding up his letters and personal items sent by family such as clothes and blankets.
On social media, activists described that, outside the court and in nearby intersections and subway exits, there were a large number of police officers to check IDs and to prevent activists from converging on the scene. Some travelled to Guangzhou from other parts of the country to lend support for the two activists on trial. A few Guangzhou-based dissidents and activists were taken away from the city by forced travel.
The trial was initially held on September 12 but adjourned when the defense team walked out in protest of irregularities.
The Sovereignty of the People: My Conviction and My Dream. Guo Feixiong’s court statement, November 28, 2014.
Meet Guo Feixiong, a profile by human rights lawyer Xiao Guozhen
Guo Feixiong: Willing to Be Cannon Fodder, Will Be a Monument, a profile by Xiao Shu