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Pu Zhiqiang: the who, what, why, where and when of the high-profile human rights lawyer

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Pu Zhiqiang: the who, what, why, where and when of the high-profile human rights lawyer



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Friends and supporters of a prominent Chinese human rights lawyer have scuffled with police outside the courthouse where his trial is taking place in Beijing.

International media at the scene say several people were dragged away.

US and EU diplomats were jostled and shouted down when they tried to make statements outside the court.

Demonstrators shouted protests outside the court building. “If we, as ordinary people in China, don’t speak out, we will be repressed. Just like this, we will be ground down and repressed. We need freedom of speech! We need democracy! We need peace!”, cried one man.

Who is Pu Zhiqiang?

Pu Zhiqiang is a prominent Chinese human rights lawyer.

He has represented labour camp victims as well as the dissident artist Ai WeiWei.

What is he accused of?

Mr Pu is accused of “inciting ethnic hatred” and “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” by the Chinese authorities.

He posted comments on social media sites alleged to have mocked the governing Communist Party and questioning policies and treatment of the Uighur minority.

Mr Pu also posted comments in support of the Tibetan community.

He faces eight years in prison if convicted.

Why is the trial being held?

Mr Pu is the latest, and one of the most high-profile, people to be tried in China as part of a crackdown on lawyers, dissidents, and those accused of corruption.

Where is the trial taking place?

The trial is taking place at Beijing’s Number Two Intermediate People’s Court.

When are the offences alleged to have happened?

Mr Pu has been in detention since May 2014.

His lawyer, Mo Shaoping, says the case centres on seven posts the lawyer made on the social media site Weibo between 2011 and 2014.

Mr Pu was arrested after he attended an event to mark the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protest, in which he participated as a student.

He says he is innocent of all the charges against him.


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