Supreme People's Court Rejects Retrial Petition for Imprisoned American Businessman Jude Shao

February 15, 2005

According to information provided by advocates for imprisoned American businessman Jude Shao, China’s Supreme People’s Court (SPC) has rejected a petition for retrial in the controversial case. In 1999, Shao was convicted of tax fraud and sentenced to 16 years in prison. Shao maintains he paid all taxes and that he was unjustly prosecuted for his refusal to pay bribes to local officials. His detention and trial were marred by procedural irregularities, and a panel of Chinese criminal law experts retained by Shao issued a report raising serious questions about the evidentiary basis for his conviction.

In his petition for retrial submitted to the SPC, Shao submitted documentary evidence indicating that the taxes in question were paid. According to advocates for Shao, this evidence was not available at his original trial. Under Article 204 of the PRC Criminal Law, "a people’s court shall retry the case" in response to a petition where "the evidence upon which the condemnation was made and punishment meted out is insufficient, or the major pieces of evidence for supporting the facts of the case contradict each other." The SPC notice rejecting Shao’s appeal for a retrial does not explain why the new evidence presented by Shao, which appears to directly contradict the principal facts leading to his conviction, does not warrant a retrial. Moreover, the notice, which is dated November 2004, was reportedly not presented to Shao until January of this year.