Date
18 December 2017
Pu Zhiqiang has been detained since May for alleged provocation. The charges were based on comments he posted on Weibo. Photo: Reuters
Pu Zhiqiang has been detained since May for alleged provocation. The charges were based on comments he posted on Weibo. Photo: Reuters

Lawyer: Pu Zhiqiang merely expressed the wrong views

A defense lawyer for detained civil rights champion Pu Zhiqiang said the jailed activist did not break the law even if his views were deemed wrong by the government. 

Citizens are entitled to freedom of speech under the constitution and Pu was merely expressing his opinions, Ming Pao Daily quoted the lawyer as saying.

Pu, a human rights lawyer, has been detained in Beijing since May 7 for alleged provocation after he attended a seminar leading up to the 25th anniversary of the bloody 1989 Tiananmen crackdown.

He has been charged with provoking trouble, inciting national hatred and inciting a split of the state.

The charges were based on 28 posts by Pu on Weibo, a Twitter-like microblogging service, between July 24, 2012 and May 7, 2014.

In one article, Pu wrote that China is a savage country. He singled out the case of former political star Bo Xilai, who is serving life imprisonment for corruption, and the 2012 anti-Japanese protests in which a citizen was beaten by an angry mob for driving a Japanese car.

In another article, Pu mocked the “rubberstamp” legislature.

Pu’s lawyer said the views Pu expressed in his articles are protected by free speech.

If these views are illegal, anyone who expresses an opinion could be incriminating himself, he said.

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TL/AC/RA

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