Zhu Yufu, 59, a Hangzhou dissident who previously served seven years in prison (1999-2006) for his role in founding the China Democratic Party, was tried by the Hangzhou Municipal Intermediate People's Court today for "inciting subversion of state power." The hearing lasted for two hours and forty minutes. The court did not hand down a verdict.

Zhu's wife Jiang Hangli told Human Rights in China (HRIC) that her husband has aged significantly after 11 months in custody, and his hair and beard have turned white. She said that the police allowed only two family members—her and their son, Zhu Ang—to attend the trial. According to Jiang, the judge continuously interrupted Zhu during his self-defense statement and did not let him finish. Jiang believes in her husband's innocence, but also that the defense arguments, though persuasive, would not help because the authorities have made up their minds to convict Zhu.

Other sources told HRIC that the authorities prevented other Hangzhou dissidents from attending the trial, including Lü Gengsong and Mao Qingxiang, placing others under tight surveillance and forbade them from leaving home.

Informed sources also told HRIC that the prosecution focused on four areas of Zhu's activities: First, operating as a member of the China Democratic Party, deemed illegal because the party is not officially registered; second, fundraising for political prisoners and their families; third, accepting interviews from foreign media to attack the government and socialism; and four, writing poetry to incite the public to gather during the Jasmine Rallies in early 2011.

In defense, according to the informed sources, Zhu and his lawyers argued that: first, no political parties in China [including the Communist Party of China] have ever lawfully registered themselves, and there is no law that bans the China Democratic Party; second, fundraising is a humanitarian act and does not constitute a crime; third, speak to the press, even in accusatory language, is an exercise of the right to freedom of expression, which right is protected under China's Constitution; and fourth, his poem does not incite the public to gather, and there is no law that prohibits gathering in public squares.

The poem in question that Zhu Yufu posted on the Internet is "It's Time." The following is an English translation by A. E. Clark, used here with permission:

It's time, people of China! It's time.
The Square belongs to everyone.
With your own two feet
It's time to head to the Square and make your choice.

It's time, people of China! It's time.
A song belongs to everyone.
From your own throat
It's time to voice the song in your heart.

It's time, people of China! It's time.
China belongs to everyone.
Of your own will
It's time to choose what China shall be.

In February 2011, after appeals posted on the Internet inviting people to gather for the Jasmine Rallies, Chinese authorities cracked down harshly on rights activists. Zhu Yufu was detained in March 2011 and formally arrested and charged in April. The Hangzhou Municipal People's Procuratorate withdrew its case in October because of insufficient evidence. But the Hangzhou Municipal Public Security Bureau later resubmitted the case to the procuratorate, and Zhu was indicted in January 2012.

This is Zhu's third trial. In 2007, one year after completing his seven-year prison term for "subversion of state power," Zhu was tried for "obstructing official business" and sentenced to two years in prison.

For more information on Zhu Yufu, see:

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