3 stand trial in Jiangxi for illegal assembly

By Fang Yang Source:Global Times Published: 2013-12-4 1:13:01

One woman and two men stood trial Tuesday for illegal assembly after staging a demonstration without approval and calling for government officials to declare their assets, their lawyers confirmed with the Global Times.

The defendants, Liu Ping, Wei Zhongping and Li Sihua have been in detention awaiting trial since April, after they unfurled a banner outside a housing complex on April 21 in Yushui district, Xinyu in Jiangxi Province. The defendants entered a not guilty plea Tuesday at the Yushui district courthouse in Xinyu.

Defense lawyer Yang Xuelin, from the Beijing-based Shou Xin Law Firm, who, along with five other attorneys, represents the three, said that the trial, which opened Tuesday morning, was adjourned until Wednesday as the defendants wanted more people to observe the case. "We hope the court will rule based on law and facts," said Yang.

Liu's daughter, Liao Minyue, told the Global Times that there were few relatives in court Tuesday, and she hopes more people can come to observe her mother's trial Wednesday. Liu, 48, a former steel worker, attracted attention for running as an independent delegate to the National People's Congress in 2011 for Yushui district.

In addition to the illegal assembly charge, Liu, who was formally arrested in May, faces charges of disturbing social order in a public space and undermining the law, Yang said.

The trial was scheduled to open in October, but was suspended after the defendants fired their lawyers and hired six new ones.

According to public security regulations, to hold an assembly or demonstration, one should submit an application to the competent authority. One can be sentenced to up to five years for severely disrupting social order though illegal assembly. The move toward officials' asset declaration and disclosure is part of efforts made by the Chinese government in its anti-corruption campaign.

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