27, Dec 2017 | CJP Team
The Guardian reported that Wu Gan, a blogger who is known as Super Vulgar Butcher, his screen name, routinely promoted instances of abuse of power by the government, online as well as in street protests. Wu was sentenced to eight years in jail for “subverting state power” on December 26. Earlier in the day, lawyer Xie Yang was also tried, having pleaded guilty to subversion charges, according to Quartz. Quartz reported that both were arrested months prior to a widespread “crackdown” on human rights lawyers in the country that took place in 2015. Quartz noted that holding these trials during the Christmas season “wasn’t a coincidence”. In a statement, Amnesty International’s China Researcher Patrick Poon said, “China has a history of engaging in politically motivated actions against well-known activists during the Christmas holidays”. Poon said that “carrying out unfair trials and politicised sentencing of human rights defenders at the very time when diplomats, journalists, international observers and the general public are less likely to be able to respond reeks of a cynical political calculation.” Quartz noted several instances of activists being arrested or tried in the holiday season in past years.