My Statement on Not Seeking an Appeal

Yang Jianli
May 18, 2004 (Released May 27, 2004)

On May 13, 2004, after 164 days of illegally prolonged extension since my trial, the panel of judges responsible for the trial and sentencing of my case finally issued its verdict.  As I claimed in the court before my verdict was announced, this panel had violated the Criminal Procedure Law of the People’s Republic of China.  I consider its “trial” and “sentencing” illegal.  In my view, the question of whether or not to appeal doesn’t exist to me.  This does not imply that I obey the illegal conviction.  I simply refuse to be put on show any longer with the so called “People’s Court.”  

Here, I am not commenting on either the so-called “evidence”, “testimony” or “confession” related to my case or the legality of the procedure used to obtain these materials (especially the private correspondence).  My lawyer Mr. Mo Shaoping has defended me thoroughly, powerfully and eloquently.  I deeply respect Mr. Mo and his assistant Mr. Xie Wei for their professionalism and their sense of justice.  From them I have seen a gleam of hope for China’s judicial independence and complete rule by law.

In the meantime, I am also not condemning the inhumane treatment that I have suffered since my arrest on April 27, 2002, such as physical punishment, beatings, long-term solitary confinement, and enforcement of extra restraining devices.  I believe that time will help find the best ways to resolve these problems.

Today, what I want to point out are the severe violations of the law and the infringement of my human rights by the Chinese Government.

• The Right of Communication:  Since I was arrested, my right of communication has been violated.  However, I believe that the right of free communication that the Constitution provides every citizen does not change only because the citizen is suspected of a criminal offense.  The Criminal Procedural Law does not place any restriction on this right.  Therefore, to restrict a suspect’s right of free communication is violating the Constitution and breaking the law.
• The Right of Privacy: My right of privacy has been also violated.  In almost 20 meetings between my lawyer and me, except for the most recent two, police officers were always on site to watch and take notes. (However, I do not know whether or not a monitor was used during the two recent meetings.)  Article 36 of the Criminal Procedural Law regulates: the lawyer and the suspect in custody (whom he/she represents) can write letters to each other.  However, any written material that I sent to the lawyer had to be examined, and almost all of them were blocked.  The defense statement that I wrote was also examined.

• The Right of Defense:  The violations of my right of privacy have certainly and directly influenced my right of defense.
• The Illegally Prolonged Extension:  According to the Criminal Procedure Law, the deadline for issuing a verdict on my case expired on December 1, 2003.  I authorized my lawyer to appeal to the Supreme People’s Court and Supreme People’s Procuratorate, respectively.  I, myself, also appealed to the Office of Beijing Prosecutors in the detention center of State Security Bureau.  None of the appeals received any formal response.  At the end of last year, in the campaign to eliminate illegally prolonged detentions in a grand scale, the Supreme People’s Court and Supreme People’s Procuratorate specifically stipulated that these detentions are indeed illegal.  Despite such obvious violations, every officer my lawyer and I have contacted in both the enforcement and judicial branches have indicated that my case was beyond what they could decide.  Even the leader of the judicial panel that has plenary power to conduct first trial and sentencing expressed the same opinion.  This has clearly demonstrated that some administrative offices, or some social organizations, or some individuals outside the “People’s Court”, have exercised interference over the course of trial and sentencing of my case.  This is exactly what the Criminal Procedural Law specifically prohibits.

• Open Sentencing:  The Criminal Procedure Law, Section 163, stipulates that all sentences must be pronounced publicly.  In the so-called “court” with the second “hearing” on May 13, the “presiding judge” abruptly announced that a verdict would be pronounced in court, which gave my lawyer and me no more than twenty-five minutes to respond.  My eldest brother, who happened to be in Beijing awaiting news of my second hearing (not verdict), was allowed to sit in on the “verdict” upon a request by my lawyer.  The “court” randomly “recruited” to the courtroom five or six individuals, who were observing or awaiting news of other cases.  The officials took pictures (maybe also videotaping) to fake the scenes and make the event look like it was conducted publicly.  With this approach, any verdict issuance could be essentially non-public.  This is merely another wretched trick by the government of a magnificent country.

All those obvious violations by both enforcement and judicial branches occurred at the same time when the Chinese Government has vigorously emphasized the importance of governing the country by and in accordance with law.  These violations occurred during and after “respecting and protecting human rights” was written into the Constitution.  It has completely demonstrated that not only is it ultimately impossible for my case to have a fair judgment, but also that development of its legal procedures has been illegally manipulated throughout the process.  These manipulations were imbued with arbitrary, peremptory, and functional manners.  Therefore, I do not acknowledge this verdict and any forthcoming procedures.  I will, as always, uphold the principle of non-violence in response to this verdict.

I hope the experience of my case will be the last one in Chinese judicial history.  Even if there may be similarly misjudged cases in the future, it would only be errors under rule of law, not a repeat of practice under rule of man.