The Case Of Liu Yao

Just a little something to remind us on a Friday that the Chinese legal system isn’t representing plaintiffs as it should … this sort of story reminds AALE of what Chicago must have been like in 1910 .. Studs Terkel would recognize the following..

Joshua Rosenzweig the Senior Manager, Research & Hong Kong Operations of the The Dui Hua Foundation posts to the China Law Discussion list

Last year I believe the case of Liu Yao 刘尧 was raised on this list.  Liu, a prominent Shenzhen attorney who has been active in representing plaintiffs in "rights defense" suits, was alleged to have led villagers in damaging a hydroelectric construction project after failing to reach agreement with the company on a dispute over land.

Liu was initially sentenced to 4 years’ imprisonment by the Dongyuan County People’s Court in a verdict that drew significant criticism from the Shenzhen Lawyer’s Association, which argued that Liu was merely carrying out his professional responsibilities and did not instruct or otherwise incite others to cause the damage.  The sentence was reduced to 2 years in September.  Following a hearing on April 10, which was reportedly attended by a number of local dignitaries, the Heyuan Intermediate People’s Court handed down an 18-month sentence, suspended for two years.  Liu maintained his innocence throughout and requested acquittal.

An official account of the trial can be found here:

I’m a bit unclear on the process here.  My understanding was that the sentence was reduced in September by the court of second instance, in which case I’m not sure why there would be another trial of second instance.  More likely the case was remanded for retrial by the original court of first instance.  Someone please correct me if you know the details.