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Court Upholds Prison Sentences for Two Citizen Activists

July 18, 2014

The Beijing Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People's Court today upheld the sentences of New Citizens Movement advocates Ding Jiaxi (丁家喜) and Li Wei (李蔚).  In April this year, both were found guilty of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place” (聚众扰乱公共场所秩序) by the Beijing Municipal Haidian District Court. Ding was sentenced to three years and six months in prison and Li received a two-year prison term.

Both Ding and Li were prosecuted for their involvement in street actions in Beijing in early 2013 where participants held up banners and made public speeches calling for high level government officials to disclose their assets.

An informed source told HRIC that at least 19 supporters who went to the court this morning to hear the announcement were stopped outside the courtroom and loaded onto a bus. The source said that the individuals were first taken to Babaoshan Police Sub-station, and that, later in the afternoon, they were transferred to the Shijingshan Sub-station and Lugu Sub-station. They were released one after another in the afternoon, according to the source.

In April and June, the No. 1 Intermediate People's Court also ruled against the appeals by three other asset transparency advocates who were found guilty of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place” in connection with their alleged participation in the same series of street activities: Yuan Dong (袁冬) (sentenced to one year and six months in prison), Zhao Changqing (赵常青) (2 years and six months), and Zhang Baocheng (张宝成) (two years).

Ding Jiaxi, a native of Yichang, Hubei, is a lawyer and longtime citizen activist. He actively supported the Open Constitution Initiative (Gongmeng), a civil society organization that advocated for rule of law and greater constitutional protections that was shut down by the authorities in 2009. In 2010, Ding started promoting education equality to protect migrant children’s right to take university entrance exams outside of their hukou

Li Wei is a native of Wuhan, Hubei Province. In addition to his activism in asset transparency advocacy, Li also joined a 2013 protest against the removal of 10-year-old Zhang Anni (张安妮), daughter of Anhui rights defender Zhang Lin (张林), from a school she was attending in Hefei, Anhui Province.