Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that imprisoned dissident Zhang Ming, who has been on hunger strike for several months, may be granted retrial.
According to sources in China, China’s Supreme People’s Court has approved Zhang’s application for an appeal, and has notified the Shanghai Supreme Court to retry Zhang Ming’s case, a step that is necessary before the Chinese Supreme People’s Court can take on the appeal. The Shanghai Supreme People’s Court earlier this year upheld the judgment of the Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court on September 26, 2003, which sentenced Zhang to seven years in prison on charges of “abuse of executive benefits.”
Zhang Ming, one of the student leaders of the 1989 Democracy Movement, previously served three years in prison on charges of “counterrevolutionary incitement.” His most recent detention began on September 9, 2002, when he was arrested on charges of “endangering public safety” through an alleged plot to explode a multistory building. At the time of his arrest, Zhang Ming was president of a successful Shanghai company, and the amended charge on which he was ultimately convicted related to his business. Sources say the real reason for Zhang Ming’s most recent arrest was official envy over his success, and his refusal to recant his political principles or express regret for his previous actions. Zhang Ming’s trial at the Intermediate Court reportedly involved a number of irregularities, and Zhang has conducted a series of hunger strikes protesting the abuse of protest, reducing him to a skeletal condition.
HRIC welcomes the Chinese Supreme People’s Court acceptance of Zhang Ming’s appeal. “It’s especially appropriate, as the 15th anniversary of the June 4th Massacre approaches, that a veteran of the protests should be offered the hope of justice,” said HRIC president Liu Qing. “We hope the Chinese Supreme People’s Court will closely monitor the proceedings in Shanghai and ensure that Zhang Ming is given the opportunity for a full and genuine defense.”