Chinese human rights activist and blogger Wu Gan has been sentenced to jail for eight years following a secretive trial.
He was accused of staging protests against the government and subverting state power. This is the harshest sentence passed on against human rights activists over the last two years.
Wu, popularly known by his online name “Super Butcher Guy,” staged several anti-Communist Party demonstrations outside official buildings including courthouses and other government offices. He was vocal in his criticism of the policies of the state and openly condemned Chinese officials in public. During one of the protests, Wu was seen holding two knives and saying he would “slaughter the pigs,” a reference to corrupt authorities.
Wu was taken into custody from a protest in May 2015 outside a court and remained in pretrial detention for nearly two years. His arrest came amid the sweeping "709 crackdown" that led to an unprecedented attack on lawyers and human rights advocates. At least 250 people were questioned or detained by the authorities at the time.
The long-awaited verdict came following a secretive trial by the Tianjin Second Intermediate People’s Court, near Beijing. Wu has been charged with seriously harming “national security” and “social stability”.
“Wu Gan has long used information networks to spread a great deal of rhetoric and to attack state power and the system established by the constitution,” says the verdict.
Despite his long prison term, Wu remains defiant. In fact, ahead of his trial in August, Wu said he would consider his impending punishment an "honor."
“I will be convicted not because I am really guilty, but because of my refusal to accept a government-appointed lawyer, plead guilty in a televised propaganda confession, and for exposing torture, mistreatment and violence and prosecutorial misconduct," he said. "A guilty verdict issued by a dictatorial regime is a golden glittering trophy awarded to warriors for liberty and democracy.”
Banner / Thumbnail : REUTERS/Damir Sagolj