Lawyer Xie Yang tells Chinese court confession wasn’t forced


BEIJING (AP) — Chinese human rights lawyer Xie Yang told a court Monday that he wasn’t forced into confessing to crimes after being detained in a large government crackdown on the country’s legal professionals.

The Intermediate People’s Court in Changsha posted a brief video on social media in which Xie was asked that question as his trial opened Monday. He replied, “No, I haven’t, and furthermore I’ve not been tortured.”

Xie gave his lawyer an account in January saying he had been beaten, deprived of sleep and held in stress positions. The statement said any future confession from Xie would be due to prolonged torture.

Arrested in July 2015 along with dozens of other lawyers and activists, Xie faces charges of inciting subversion against state power and disturbing court procedures.

His wife, Chen Guiqiu, and two daughters fled to Thailand, where they were pursued by Chinese agents, and then to the United States after she distributed Xie’s account of his torture.

Prosecutors told the court that Xie used the encrypted messaging app Telegram to conspire with people inside and outside China to distort incidents of police brutality to subvert state power, overthrow the socialist system and harm national security and social stability, according to the court’s account.

Xie also testified that he briefly attended a legal training course in Hong Kong and South Korea, it said. Prosecutors said that indicated he had shadowy ties to foreign elements.

The accusations against Xie mirror those brought against other lawyers and activists detained as part of the July 2015 crackdown.

With little evidence shown, they have been accused of contacting international news media to spread stories about human rights abuses and of receiving aid and training from overseas rights groups, an indication, prosecutors say, that they sought to destabilize China and smear its government.