CECC Chairs Statement on Guilty Verdict and Suspended Sentence Given Lawyer Pu Zhiqiang

CECC Chairs Statement on Guilty Verdict and Suspended Sentence Given Lawyer Pu Zhiqiang

Congressional-Executive Commission on China

Media Contact: 202-226-3777

December 22, 2015

(Washington, DC)—Following the guilty verdict and three-year suspended sentence given to public interest lawyer Pu Zhiqiang, the Chairs of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, Representative Chris Smith and Senator Marco Rubio, issued the following statement:

“While we are relieved that Pu Zhiqiang has been released from Beijing No. 1 Detention Center, he is hardly free under the terms of his sentence.  Moreover, the guilty verdict the court handed down effectively prohibits one of China’s brightest legal stars from practicing law.  This is a travesty.  We urge Chinese authorities to vacate Mr. Pu’s conviction immediately and unconditionally.  Because the U.S.-China relationship will define much of this century, we should insist on China doing more—more protections for universal rights, greater commitment to the rule of law, and more attention to those seeking redress from injustices.  The health and prosperity of bilateral relations will depend on such improvements.   Unfortunately, the Pu Zhiqiang verdict demonstrates again that politics trumps the rule of law in China and rights defenders, religious groups, and civil society actors will continue to face extraordinary restrictions, detentions, and disappearances.” 

 Information on Pu Zhiqiang’s case can be found in the Commission’s Political Prisoner Database (PPD), which contains records on more than 1,300 political and religious prisoners known or believed to be currently detained or imprisoned.  Additionally, Pu’s case was highlighted in the “Freedom of Expression” chapter in the CECC’s 2015 Annual Report issued in October.