China has charged Xu Zhiyong, a Chinese activist, and Ding Jiaxi, a human rights lawyer, with “subversion of state power.” These two Chinese human rights lawyers were detained for over two years. Now, they are expected to stand trial separately.

Back in December 2019, Xu Zhiyong, and Ding Jiaxi, were arrested when the two and a group of fellow activists and lawyers gathered in Xiamen to discuss the future of civil society and Chinese politics.

According to South China Morning Post, on June 13, the Linyi Intermediate People’s Court in Shandong province sent a notification to Xu Zhiyong’s lawyer, telling him that a pre-trial meeting would be held on Friday, June 17.

An informed source who requested anonymity told South China Morning Post that Ding Jiaxi, Xu’s colleague, is also in prison awaiting trial on the same charges soon. Notably, the trial will begin soon after Friday’s meeting.

The source added that “Xu’s lawyers will plead not guilty for Xu during the trial and defend him on the grounds that his arrest and detention violated legal procedures”

The wife of human rights lawyer Ding Jiaxi, Luo Shengchun, tweeted on June 15. She exposed the Chinese authorities. Ding Jiaxi’s wife said in a tweet that the lawyers were not allowed to meet the detained activists and were not given a copy of the files.

Wu Shaoping, a human rights lawyer, now living in the United States, told Radio Free Asia that a trial would be held soon, but he also questioned whether the two would get a fair trial. 

He said that the authorities wanted lawyers to exclude illegal evidence from more than 100 files in one day, and lawyers were not allowed to copy files at that time. He added that the authorities just want to go through the motions and take this complicated case fast forward to court.

Human rights lawyer Wang Yu also worries that the authorities’ purpose is to cover up the truth.

Wang Yu went on to say that whether a case is judged based on a court investigation or the presentation of evidence, it is only when the trials are merged that the facts can be discovered. However, if they are dealt with separately, it will be confusing regardless of whether witnesses present in court or the parties’ statements.

Xu Zhiyong and Ding Jiaxi are being held at the Linyi County Detention Center in Shandong. Xu Zhiyong’s girlfriend, women’s rights and labor rights activist Li Qiaochu, is also being detained there since February last year.

For publishing Xu’s articles online in September 2019, she was charged with “inciting subversion of state power.”

In a previous Twitter post, Li alleged that Xu and Ding had been abused while in prison.

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