A man who forced a mayor to wear a T-shirt printed with an anti-pollution slogan during a protest of residents opposing the construction of a pipeline carrying effluent from a Japanese paper mill in Qidong, Jiangsu Province will stand trial Wednesday.
Zhu Baosheng, 43, is charged with several crimes including assembling crowds to attack state organs and intentionally destroying public and private property, the 21st Century Business Herald reported Saturday.
Zhu was one of thousands of protesters who stormed the local government offices on the morning of July 28 last year to voice their opposition to the Jiangsu Oji Paper mill's sewage pipeline project that they believed would cause water pollution.
The local government warned residents not to participate in the demonstration that day, but protesters still took to the streets leading to violent confrontations between local authorities and some angry protesters.
The government of Qidong announced the cancellation of the project after the clashes, according to a previous Global Times report.
Zhu's defense lawyer, who was not named in a newspaper report, said that Zhu did put a T-shirt with an anti-pollution slogan over the head of Xu Feng, the mayor of Qidong.
According to the indictment Zhu broke through the police cordon, smashed a clock inside the government building, climbed on top of a car in front of the building and displayed and distributed objects taken from the government offices to the crowd.
The police took pictures and video clips of Zhu and detained him in August, the 21st Century Business Herald reported.
Li Zhiyong, a criminal lawyer with Guangdong Zhiming Law Firm, told the Global Times on Sunday that according to media reports, Zhu's behavior had not violated criminal law.
Zhu faces a maximum of 5 years in prison if found guilty, Zhu's defense lawyer said.
A dozen other protesters have also been charged with assembling crowds to attack state organs and intentionally destroying public and private property. No court date has been set for their trials.
Yin Zhonghua, who used China's social media to call on residents to express their concerns peacefully, told the Global Times that only the people involved in the violent incidents were charged.
"There were people stealing property from government officials; their aim was not to only protest against the construction of the pipeline project," Yin said.
"The violent confrontation might give the government more pressure, but I do not think people should achieve justice through illegal means," he said, adding that forcing the mayor to put on a T-shirt was not a crime.
The Qidong People's Court could not be reached Sunday.