Chinese Prosecutors Cite ‘Subversive’ Poem as Evidence at Dissident Trial

Posted January 31st, 2012 at 5:50 am (UTC-5)
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Chinese prosecutors on Tuesday presented the poem of a veteran Chinese dissident as evidence of inciting subversion.

The lawyer of Zhu Yufu said prosecutors at the trial in eastern China cited his poem, titled “It's Time,” which urged his fellow citizens to rise up and demand greater freedoms.

The poem was published during the height of the Arab Spring uprisings that swept across North Africa and the Middle East. Zhu was detained as part of a crackdown by Chinese officials on political dissidents who called for similar protests.

Zhu denies inciting subversion. He says he did not organize any protests. He also denied posting the poem to any public online forum, saying he only shared it with friends.

No verdict was given Tuesday as the three-hour trial concluded in Zhu's hometown of Hangzhou. His lawyer expects the court to hand down a verdict sometime in February.

Zhu's punishment is expected to be similar to those of three other dissidents who have received nine and 10-year prison terms for inciting subversion over the last two months.

The 58-year-old dissident has been convicted twice before for his activism. He spent seven years in prison after his first conviction in 1999, and served another two years in prison after a conviction in 2007.

Zhu's poem includes these lines: “It's time, Chinese people! / The square belongs to everyone / the feet are yours / it's time to use your feet and take to the square to make a choice.”