After 57 depositions, initial handling as a state secret case, ten months and three days in court, sentences were handed down Friday to the Fujian Three; aside from being the only prosecutions resulting from the alleged rape and murder of Yan Xiaoling (严晓玲) at the hands of police, also remarkable about this trial was the number of people who rallied in protest outside the courthouse Friday.
Lawyer for one of the defendants, Liu Xiaoyuan (刘晓原), updated his blog [zh] soon after the trial ended:
More than a thousand people gathered outside today, netizens were both level-headed and excited. In court today, I also witnessed the dark side to the legal system.
Leading up to Friday's trial day, it was reported that Lin Xiuying, mother of the deceased, had been offered money and a house in exchange for keeping quiet; according to Liu, attempts to call Lin as a witness were met with the court's refusal. The night before the trial, Lin along with several others connected to the case, was detained by police; Friday morning she somehow managed to free herself and joined the crowd gathered outside the courthouse where an attempt by authorities to whisk her off in a van was stifled by onlookers.
Unremarkable about this case, writes former CCP Central Party School director Du Guang (杜光) in a guest post on Liu's blog, is how it fits within the larger ongoing trend of cracking down on rights activists:
On June 6, she went up to the Wuyi mountains to see a social activist friend and was followed and filmed by undercover police. Her publishing of Lin Xiuling's oral statements online created a large stir both domestically and overseas, and was followed by the release of articles detailing fear tactics used by authorities against Lin Xiuying which ended up leading directly to her arrest. You Jingyou is a bridge engineer and graduate of Southwestern Jiaotong University; his colleagues all describe him as an outstanding employee, skilled, modest and highly responsible. For many years, at the same time that he was outstanding in completing work required by his day job, he was also devoted helping the weak uphold their rights, and as a result was questioned and warned by police on multiple occasions. The reason he was arrested this time is due to an “in her own words” video he filmed of Lin Xiuying after seeing Fan Yanqiong's articles, which he then spread around online.
Wu Huaying, familiar with the pain of injustice after her younger brother, Wu Changlong, was arrested following an explosion on June 24, 2001 at the front gate of the Fuqing Disciplinary Commission building. Through to the end of the second trial, facts were unclear and evidence was lacking, and the case has yet to closed even to this day. Throughout the several hearings, Wu Changlong and others being tried all deny their involvement in the crime, and claim they were tortured into giving confessions during the investigation period. Their lawyers have all tried to make the case of their innocence, but none have yet to succeed. Eight years have gone by and Wu Huaying is still on the move, petitioning and appealing, and has been placed in administrative detention multiple times as a result. Which is why she has such sympathy for Lin Xiuying and making recordings, publishing them online.
Nonetheless, it seems the trial generated enough interest that the #fjwangmin Fujian netizen hashtag topped Google China's list of search keywords yesterday and for Han Han to even write about the case, which became a topic for discussion itself. Han's post has been deleted, but a copy is still up on Liu's blog. In his somewhat flippant tone, Han goes to the heart of the matter in the Yan Xiaoling case and many others like it, why holding secret autopsies or denying them altogether can lead to mass incidents and damage government credibility:
On the other hand, a department the mainland needs far, for more urgently, is an independent “autopsy department”, and this autopsy department would be required to be just as independent and credible to the public as the ICAC, doing autopsies on television when required. Thinking carefully to mass incidents that have taken place in China over the past few years, how many of them began as a result of an autopsy? An autopsy department is an important department in maintaining social stability, because regardless of whether they're true or false, autopsy results today just aren't believed by the public. This incident aside, while I do feel that it's very possible that many autopsy result reports are accurate, the public's suspicions are not unfounded.
With a government that likes to cast guilt first and the crime later, it's not hard for the public to catch on, which is why I think we need to forgive the public when they automatically assume their relatives have been murdered, that the government is protecting the perpetrator, and that the government tampered with the autopsy. Because in this society, if you don't form your conclusions on evidence, then I don't need evidence either; if you're not transparent, then I'll speculate, and the minute I do, you say I'm guilty of slander; if I keep with it, then you say it's a state secret. If I make a big deal of it, you'll just…you'll just…well, you'll spare yourself the trouble of doing anything and instead just have the relevant departments notify news departments not to report on the incident. But then, the only thing that ends up burying are seeds of hate.
The netizens who traveled to protest the trial came prepared to blog it, uploading a steady stream of video clips, audio tweets and photos while several hundred police kept them cordoned off at a distance from the courthouse; here are a few of the photos, the first two taken by citizen journalist Tiger Temple and the remainder posted anonymously:
Lin Jingyi's blog post [zh] about proceedings of the netizen trial: http://liu6465.fyfz.cn/art/610530.htm