The Latest: Chinese lawyer pleads guilty in subversion case


BEIJING (AP) — The Latest on the subversion trial of Chinese human rights lawyer Xie Yang (all times local):

7:00 p.m.

Chinese human rights lawyer Xie Yang has pleaded guilty to charges of incitement to subversion and disturbing legal proceedings and asked the court to be lenient based on his repentance.

“Everyone should take me as a lesson: You must behave within the boundaries of the law, avoid being used by anti-China Western forces,” he said in a prepared statement read to the court.

The trial in the central city of Changsha was wrapped up by midday without any witnesses called.

In a statement, Xie’s wife, Chen Guiqiu, called the entire trial a sham.

“Your play was performed beautifully,” said Chen, who fled to the U.S. with the couple’s two daughters earlier this year. “Changsha Intermediate People’s Court: history will remember your great trial. All the people who participated in Xie Yang’s trial: history will remember all of you!”

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4:50 p.m.

A Chinese court says prosecutors accused Xie Yang of using the 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.

The Changsha court said Monday on its social media account that Xie testified he briefly attended a legal training course in Hong Kong and South Korea, which prosecutors said indicates he had shadowy ties to foreign elements.

The accusations against Xie mirror those brought against other lawyers and activists detained as part of a 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.

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3:45 p.m.

Human rights lawyer Xie Yang has told a Chinese court 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 replies: “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.

Xie faces charges of inciting subversion against state power and disturbing court procedures.

Xie was arrested in July 2015 along with dozens of other lawyers and activists. His wife, Chen Guiqiu, and two daughters fled to Thailand, where they were pursued by Chinese agents, and then the United States after she distributed Xie’s account of his torture.