In the appeal defense statement filed on behalf of Liu Xiaobo, Liu’s lawyers charged that the trial court abused its public power in finding Liu guilty of “inciting subversion of state power” and sentencing him to 11 years’ imprisonment.

In the statement filed on January 28, 2010, with the court of second instance, the Beijing Municipal High People’s Court, Liu’s lawyers of the Beijing Mo Shaoping Law Firm, argued that Liu’s essays - cited as “criminal evidence” in the verdict - criticized the government and the ruling party, and not state power. Liu’s lawyers charged that the Beijing Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court, the court of first instance, in finding Liu guilty, lacked the “common sense”  to tell them apart, and conflated the concepts of government, ruling party, and state power. (Liu’s lawyers invoked the same distinction made in the defense of Chen Duxiu, a founder of the Communist Party of China [CPC], who was tried in 1932 for endangering the Republic of China, the regime that the CPC replaced on the mainland in 1949.)

In their legal arguments, the lawyers also point to “gross irregularities” in the investigation, Liu’s pre-trial detention, and the trial of first instance. The irregularities include, the lawyers said, Liu’s “residential surveillance,” during which he was kept not in his own home, as required by law, but in solitary confinement in a small, windowless room; and that, during the “surveillance” period, Liu was denied permission to meet with his lawyers, as permitted by law.

The lawyers further argue that the lower court’s verdict was based on a blurring of the line between criminal activities and Liu’s constitutional right to free speech. The lawyers contend that the “criminal evidence” cited in the verdict - Charter 08, which Liu co-authored, and six essays he wrote - was in fact criticism of the government and the ruling party that Liu made in his capacity as a citizen. The lawyers argue that the lower court, a government organ, abused public power in sentencing Liu to 11 years of imprisonment for voicing his views.

The court has indicated that it would not hold a hearing - officially called “trial of second instance." By law, the court of second instance is required to rule on an appeal within one month, or at the most, one month and a half, after receiving the notice of appeal (filed by Liu on December 29) and the case files and evidentiary material from the lower court. Attached is HRIC’s English translation of the appeal defense statement.


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