Charges of sub­ver­sion send two to prison

China Daily Global Edition (USA) - - TOP NEWS - By LI LEI in Yueyang, Hu­nan lilei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

A court in Hu­nan prov­ince has sen­tenced Tai­wan res­i­dent Lee Ming-che to five years in prison for in­cit­ing sub­ver­sion of State power.

Lee, 42, was pros­e­cuted along­side Chi­nese main­land res­i­dent Peng Yuhua, 38, who re­ceived a sen­tence of seven years for the same of­fense.

Both have been de­prived of their po­lit­i­cal rights for two years, un­der a rul­ing by the Yueyang In­ter­me­di­ate Peo­ple’s Court.

The pair had formed an il­le­gal or­ga­ni­za­tion with the goal of over­throw­ing the Chi­nese govern­ment and its po­lit­i­cal sys­tem, se­ri­ously threat­en­ing na­tional se­cu­rity and so­cial sta­bil­ity, the court said.

Lee and Peng told the court they would not ap­peal the ver­dict.

In May 2012, Peng set up a chat group called Liang’an Lian­shou or Join Hands Across the Straits us­ing the QQ in­stant mes­sag­ing tool, and used it to at­tack the Chi­nese main­land’s so­cial sys­tem, the court said.

Four months later, Lee joined the group at Peng’s in­vi­ta­tion and later be­came a core mem­ber, it said.

That year, Peng re­named the group Weiguan Zhong­guo or Watch China and af­ter com­par­ing notes with Lee, drafted a doc­u­ment stat­ing the ul­ti­mate goal of the group was to es­tab­lish a new po­lit­i­cal party, over­throw the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal sys­tem and re­cruit over a mil­lion party mem­bers by the end of 2017, the court said.

Since 2013, the pair had set up mul­ti­ple chat groups on QQ and mem­ber­ship had reached 2,000.

They up­loaded ma­te­ri­als, books and videos, most of which at­tacked the Chi­nese po­lit­i­cal sys­tem and in­cited sub­ver­sion, the court said. The pair also sen­sa­tion­al­ized prom­i­nent so­cial is­sues and de­cided on dis­cus­sion top­ics for group mem­bers, it said.

The court also said that Lee had made sev­eral vis­its to cities on the Chi­nese main­land to hold meet­ings with group mem­bers and dis­sem­i­nate ideas slan­der­ing the govern­ment and its po­lit­i­cal sys­tem. He also in­cited sub­ver­sion via QQ, Face­book, WeChat and other so­cial net­works and ad­vo­cated the use of vi­o­lence if nec­es­sary, the court said.

On March 19, Lee was placed in de­ten­tion by the Hu­nan pro­vin­cial se­cu­rity or­gan on sus­pi­cion of sub­vert­ing State power.

The court said the pair’s acts had se­ri­ously threat­ened na­tional se­cu­rity and so­cial sta­bil­ity and amounted to sub­ver­sion.

The court also said it granted le­niency to both de­fen­dants on the grounds that they made hon­est con­fes­sions af­ter ar­rest and pleaded guilty dur­ing the trial.

About 30 peo­ple, in­clud­ing leg­is­la­tors, po­lit­i­cal ad­vis­ers, jour­nal­ists and the de­fen­dants’ fam­i­lies at­tended Tues­day’s pro­ceed­ings.

Footage of the ver­dict be­ing read in court was re­leased by the court via Sina Weibo.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Lee Ming-che (left) and Peng Yuhua are sen­tenced by the Yueyang In­ter­me­di­ate Peo­ple’s Court on Tues­day.

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