A Chinese court sentenced agricultural tycoon Sun Dawu to 18 years in jail on Wednesday for a catalogue of crimes including “provoking trouble” after the outspoken billionaire and grassroots rights supporter was tried in secret.
The court in Gaobeidian near Beijing said Sun was found guilty of crimes including “gathering a crowd to attack state organs,” “obstructing government administration” and “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” a catch-all term often used against dissidents.
He was detained by police in November along with 19 relatives and business associates after his firm was embroiled in a land dispute with a state-owned competitor.
The charismatic Sun built one of China’s biggest private agriculture companies with his wife from a few chickens and pigs in the 1980s.
He has also been a vocal champion of rural reforms and a whistleblower during a devastating swine fever outbreak in 2019, posting photos of dead pigs online after local officials were slow to respond to the disease.
Sun was also fined 3.11 million yuan ($475,000) by the court on Wednesday.
The court hearing began at Gaobeidian People’s Court in northern Hebei province Thursday, according to his lawyers, who said in a statement that the secrecy of the trial “violated legal guidelines and did not protect the defendant’s litigation rights.”
Sun had previously been sentenced to prison for “illegal fundraising” in 2003, but this was overturned after a massive outpouring of support from human rights defenders and the public.
Afghanistan Taliban delegation visits China: Taliban spokespersonA nine-member Taliban delegation is on a two-day visit to China where they met with the foreign minister for talks on the peace process and security ... World News
Foreign journalists get death threats, covering China floods: Correspondents’ ClubJournalists from several media outlets covering recent floods in China were harassed online and by local residents, with staff from the BBC and Los ... World News
Watch: Sandstorm over 100 meters high swallows city in China near Gobi desertA wall of sand over 100 meters high swallowed a city on the fringes of the Gobi desert in northwestern China, in scenes reminiscent of a disaster film ... World News
US Secretary Blinken’s India visit puts human rights, China on tableUS Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in India on Tuesday to discuss strengthening Indo-Pacific engagement, seen as a counter to China, as well ... World News
China calls US policy ‘misguided’ in talks with Deputy State Secretary ShermanChina came out swinging at high-level face-to-face talks with the United States on Monday, blaming the US for a “stalemate” in bilateral relations and ... World News
US calls on China to be responsible powerA senior US diplomat called on China to look beyond differences and work with the United States on difficult global issues such as climate and the ... World News
China forces tutoring companies to go non-profitChina is forcing after-school tutoring companies to register as non-profits and banning classes on weekends and holidays, according to government ... World News
US to stress need for ‘guardrails’ to prevent conflict with China in upcoming talksUS Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will make clear to China in upcoming talks that Washington welcomes competition with Beijing, but there ... World News