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China: Handling of Yang Jia's secret trial breeds widespread discontent

The fallout from the closed trial given to Yang Jia after he murdered six Shanghai policemen in July continues to bear down on the blogosphere as one of the most discussed topics.

Discussion has been intense and reactions to the verdict have varied; at least one YouTuber took it upon themselves to interview Shanghai residents on their thoughts on the trial and verdict:

Reads the introduction to the video:

“法律已经不是人民的法律,对杨佳的审判简直就是对中国人民的侮辱 !!!!”

“The law isn't even for the people anymore, and Yang Jia's sentence is simply insulting to the people of China!!!!”

For establishment artist and Olympic venue designer Ai Weiwei on his Sina blog, posting videos which have since been deleted of the crowd assembled outside of the Shanghai #2 Intermediate People's Court on the day of Yang's trial just prior and after the trial was held, after having having applied to attend it himself and then denied, were all decisions made after having written a post [zh] calling on his readers to take action in support not just of Yang, but for rule of law in China itself:

太多的任性,愤怒和漫骂,伴随太多的不信任,放弃和死亡。

如果放弃,依然失望,说没有办法,即是坐以待毙,成为被人诅咒的罪恶腐朽的一部分。

Too much gratuitous rage and violent language, followed by too much distrust, giving up, and death.

But to give up, to lose hope, and say it's all just futile, to sit and wait until they pull the trigger, is part of what people are cursing as a rotten sin.

九月一日,杨佳在上海被草率的判处死刑。地方政府和公检法系统,无视宪法赋予公民的神圣权利,践踏法律的尊严,扰乱司法程序,显露出上海公检法体制的严重综合缺陷。

事情还没有那么简单,杨佳案已经不再是关于一个可以被忽视的普通人,一个公民用赴死的意志,考验了中国实践司法公平和社会正义的信心与立场,唤起中国民权意识的觉醒。上海搞不明白的是,中国不是十里洋场,这要比你想象的宽阔复杂的多。

杨佳案并没有结束,对杨佳的宣判,表达了舞弊者蔑视法律尊严的愿望。污浊的灵魂决定了猥亵的命运,他们最终没有逃出背叛人民的逻辑,对权力的滥用和对法律的蔑视。应该提醒他们,这一次,他们依然会因为愚蠢而付出代价。

September 1st, Shanghai, Yang Jia was so hastily sentenced to death. The local government and judicial system, in ignoring the divine rights granted citizens by the constitution, trampling on the sanctity of the law, disrupting the legal process, revealed just how seriously flawed Shanghai's public court system is.

Things are not that simple, though; the Yang Jia case is no longer about some guy that can just be ignored. Through his readiness to die, a single citizen has not only put China's judicial fairness to the test, but its confidence in and stance on social justice as well, awakening China's awareness of civil liberties. The thing that Shanghai just doesn't get is that China is nothing like life along The Bund, in fact it's far more complicated than you could ever imagine.

The Yang Jia case is by no means over; the sentence against him, only illustrates these fraudsters’ desire to defile the sanctity of the law. Stained are the souls that decided upon this obscene fate, people who in the end are unable to break free from their logic which forsakes our people, the abuse of power and spite for the law. We ought to show them, that this time, they will have to pay a price for their stupidity.

为了杨佳,为了每一个有尊严的活着或是死去的,杨佳一样的青年,杨佳的母亲一样的母亲。

呼吁国家重审杨佳案,通过公开透明的司法程序,进行公开合法的审判,是对宪法的维护,是对中国司法改革的决心和力量的检测。

你与我一样,作为中国人,相信国家为社会公正司法改革所做的不懈努力,相信具有最高司法权力和荣誉的最高人民法院的公正和严谨,通过合法手段,再次履行职责。

请使用你的宝贵时间,写下你对杨佳案的看法,用行动呼吁公平正义。

For Yang Jia, for every person with dignity dead or alive, for those as young as Yang Jia, for mothers just like Yang Jia's mother.

I call upon the state to retry the Yang Jia case, through an open and transparent judicial process, with a public and legal trial, one that upholds the constitution, as a test of the resolve and strength of China's judicial reforms.

You and I are the same, in that as Chinese people, we believe that the state has made unremitting efforts toward implementing social justice and judicial reforms, believing that through legal means, the highest and most honored legal authority in the country, the Supreme People's Court, can and will resume its duties.

Please use your precious time, and write down your thoughts on the Yang Jia case, and through action, call for fairness and justice.

要求最高人民法院,撤销杨佳案原审判决,指定异地法院,重新公开审理,维护国家法制,维护公民权力。

呼吁国家领导人,责成中纪委、中央政法委、最高检、最高院、公安部、司法部成立联合调查组,介入杨佳案起因、审判内幕等违法作为的调查,整顿上海市公、检、法,扫清与国家对立、无视国法的地方势力,维护国家法制统一和宪法权威地位。

Demand that the Supreme People's Court dismiss the first trial verdict in the Yang Jia case, appoint a court in another jurisdiction, rehold the trial and make it public, uphold the state constitution, and uphold his rights as a citizen.

Call upon the national leaders to bring the Central Disciplinary Committee, the Central Politics & Law Committee, the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the Supreme People's Court, the Public Security Bureau and the Ministry of Justice together to form a joint investigative team, to get to the bottom of the origins of the Yang Jia case, and to investigate the illegal conduct of a closed-door sentencing; rectify the Shanghai PSB, Procuratorate and Courts; clean up those local forces working against the state and disregarding national laws; uphold the unification of the national legal system and the authority of the constitution.

以快递方式寄给

最高人民法院

北京市东交民巷27号最高人民法院 邮编100745,

Then courier this to:

Supreme People's Court
#27 Minxiang, Dongjiao
Beijing
100745

此时此地,我对你的努力充满敬意。

At this very moment, I'm brimming with homage for your efforts.

Indie blogger Robert Mao takes a look [zh] at the logic of Yang's case having been held in secret:

杨佳被判了死刑,说实话对此没有人感觉到惊讶。由于审判是秘密进行的,没有媒体和非官僚阶层的人能了解其内幕,因此只有“据说”。比如据说:“杨佳及其辩护人在宣判全程中未发一语,也未表示是否考虑上诉”, 杨佳一语不发,可以理解,因为他已经对这套系统失去了信心所以才自己去寻找说法了;而律师居然也一语未发,实在是让人感慨,的确公安局这个法律顾问的钱没白付啊,不但可以做顾问,还能帮自己的官司对手当不说话的辩护律师。

Yang Jia's death sentence, to be honest, didn't surprise anybody. Due to the trial being held in secret, with no media or people from outside the bureaucracy able to understand what went on behind the curtains, there is only hearsay. For example, it's said that “Yang Jia and his defence didn't say a single word throughout the entire sentencing, nor did they indicate whether or not an appeal is being considered.“ It's understandable that Yang Jia wouldn't have spoken a word, because it was precisely due to his lack of confidence in this whole system that he went looking for his own conclusion; but for his lawyer also to go without saying anything, that really just makes you sigh: money definitely wasn't wasted with having the PSB as a legal consultant! They don't just advise, they can even make the lawyer for the other side go dumb.

其实结果大家是能预料的,这些事实只不过进一步再次强化了大家对目前这套体系的认识而已。 对于类似我过去那样,或者类似杨佳过去那样,对司法体系的公正性还存在一丝幻想的人,可以说是进一步的棒喝 --该醒醒了。

In fact, everybody knew what the outcome would be, and the truth of it has only served to further strengthen people's perception of this whole system. For people like me before all this, or people like Yang Jia before all this, people for whom there still existed some sort of fantasy regarding the justness of the legal system, we can say this has been an eye-opener—and it's time to wake up.

More on the ‘legal consultant’ mentioned by Mao comes from lawyer and elected official Xu Zhiyong has also written [zh] on this, offering an analysis of the case and all the legal and constitutional holes in how it has been handled. Xu starts by pointing out that Yang's appointed lawyer, Xie Youming, as legal counsel for the People's Government in Shanghai's Zhabei district, where the crime took place and the trial was held:

…属于利益冲突,违反了《律师法》第三十九条关于”律师不得在同一案件中为双方当事人担任代理人,不得代理与本人或者其近亲属有利益冲突的法律事务”的规定。谢律师在接受媒体采访时说出明显不利于杨佳的言论,也受到民众的广泛质疑。

…constitutes a conflict of interest and violates article 39 of the : “Lawyers cannot simultaneously represent both parties in a case, or act as representation in legal matters in which there exists a conflict of interest with either yourself or your close relatives.” Things lawyer Xie has said in media interviews are clearly against Yang Jia's interest, and have given rise to widespread public distrust.

此案名义上是公开审理,但在8月26日开庭审理 “杨佳故意杀人案”时,法院把旁听席位全给了上海市公安局,前来旁听的国内外二十多家媒体和一些市民都被拒之门外。上海市第二中级人民法院的做法,违背了审判公开原则,也违反了《最高人民法院关于加强人民法院审判公开工作的若干意见》规定(”对群众广泛关注、有较大社会影响或者有利于社会主义法治宣传教育的案件,可以有计划地通过相关组织安排群众旁听,邀请人大代表、政协委员旁听,增进广大群众、人大代表、政协委员了解法院审判工作,方便对审判工作的监督。”)迄今为止,上海有关部门并没有对此进行任何解释。

拒绝披露真相,禁止媒体讨论,拒绝敢言律师介入,拒绝异地审理,不准记者和公众参加,不准被告亲属参加,所有这些,进一步加剧了公众对司法的不信任。

This case was tried publicly in name, but on August 26 when the “Yang Jia Premeditated Murder Case” trial was held, the court gave all observer seats to the Shanghai Public Security Bureau, and the 20-something domestic and foreign media and several residents who had come to observe were all refused entry. The Shanghai #2 Intermediate People's Court's actions have violated the principle of open trials, and have violated the regulation that “in cases widely observed by the public, with significant social impact or those favorable to Socialist Rule of Law propaganda education, plans may be made through the relevant organization to arrange for public observers, the invitation of People's Congress representatives and CPPCC members for the enhancement of their understanding and convenience in monitoring of court trial work.” Until now, the relevant departments in Shanghai have yet to offer any explanation on this.

To refuse to reveal the truth, to forbid media discussion, to refuse lawyers willing to speak out any involvement, to refuse holding the trial in a neutral location, to bar journalists and the public from attending, to bar the accused's family from attending, all of this, further exacerbates the public's distrust in the judiciary.

[…]

杨佳案很可能会成为中国司法史上具有标志性的案件,对转型中的中国社会来说意义重大。比复仇更重要的,是真相;比结果更重要的,是程序正义;比死刑更重要的,是对法治的信仰。有关政府部门应该深刻检讨警察执法的问题和警察制度的弊端,检讨秘密审判、新闻和网络管制给公众心理带来的巨大伤害,检讨社会冲突和危机的制度原因,反思我们如何才能建成一个健康的、开放的、人道的法治社会。

The Yang Jia case could possibly become one of the most symbolic cases in China's legal history and have enormous significance on China's transforming socity. More important than revenge is the truth; more important than results is procedural justice; more important than the death penalty is faith in the legal system. The relevant government departments ought to deeply reassess the the problems in how police enforce the law and abuse of power in the policing system, reassess the practice of secret trials and the enormous harm done to the public psyche through media and internet supervision, reassess the systematic reasons for social conflicts and crises, and reflect on just how we will be able to go about establishing a healthy, open and humane rule of law society.

7 comments

  • wenyanhua

    disponited,and angry
    要求最高人民法院,撤销杨佳案原审判决,指定异地法院,重新公开审理,维护国家法制,维护公民权力。

    呼吁国家领导人,责成中纪委、中央政法委、最高检、最高院、公安部、司法部成立联合调查组,介入杨佳案起因、审判内幕等违法作为的调查,整顿上海市公、检、法,扫清与国家对立、无视国法的地方势力,维护国家法制统一和宪法权威地位。

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