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Wang Lijun sentence highlights 'harsh' legal environment

By Megan Malloy

27 September 2012 at 12:00 BST

A lawyer imprisoned for 18 months after being detained in a 'clean up' in the Chinese city of Chongqing has lashed out at the 'prejudice and inequality' he claims are rife in the country.

China: little respect for due process

Beijing-based Li Zhuang led a ‘smash black’ campaign during which thousands of people were said to have been thrown in prison without fair trials.
But subsequently, police chief Wang Lijun has been sentenced for defection, taking bribes, bending the law for ‘selfish needs’ and abuse of power after standing trial last week in Chengdu. Mr Wang is also linked to Gu Kailai, whose murder of British businessman Neil Heywood Mr Wang helped to cover up reports The Australian newspaper.

Little respect

Mr Li maintains that Mr Wang’s abuse of legal process is typical of the Chinese approach as a whole to the law, which shows little respect for due process.
‘Thousands of innocent people and cases need to be rehabilitated,’ said Mr Li, who still has not recovered a practising licence after his arrest in 2009 for his alleged involvement with organised crime in Chongqing.
Another lawyer, Ma Ziaopeng, told the newspaper: ‘Though the legal environment is harsh in China, I still believe that the majority of lawyers in China have a desire to work for justice, and the majority of lawyers believe Li Zhuang was innocent.’


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