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CCP Court finalizes trial date despite scheduling conflicts

Zhao Weikai (Photo: ChinaAid source)

(Lvliang, Shanxi province—September 27, 2022) Zhao Weikai, a coworker of Zion Reformed Church in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province who is suspected of spreading terrorism and extremism, will be tried soon. Fang Xiangui, Zhao’s defense attorney, was removed from Chinese social media for criticizing the court’s conduct in the case. 

Notice of appearance for Zhao Weikai's attorney (Photo: Fang Xiangui's public Weibo page)

Lvliang Municipal People’s Intermediate Court scheduled the trial of Zhao Weikai for September 29, at 9:30 AM. However, Zhao’s representative lawyer appears in court elsewhere the day prior. That said, attorney Fang Xiangui may have difficulty appearing the court and defending Zhao Weikai due to a scheduling conflict. He communicated with Lvliang Intermediate Court multiple times requesting to postpone the trial. Judge Liu Huiping rejected Fang’s proposal, so Fang publicly chastised the conduct of Lvliang Municipal People’s Intermediate Court on Weibo, the social media platform in China. His Weibo page was not accessible an hour later.  

 

Fang Xiangui’s other case involved seven other clients in Qingdao, Shandong Province.  He was not likely to attend the trial of Zhao Weikai scheduled for the next day even if his other trial could be done within the limited time, so Fang communicated with Judge Liu Huiping of Lvliang Intermediate Court.  They finally spoke on September 21. Judge Liu Huiping said that the court already notified the prosecutor, forensic expert, and witnesses. Fang could miss the trial because his client has two lawyers, after all.  

 

Thereby, Attorney Fang Xiangui suggested that Judge Liu Huiping should study the Regulations about Protecting Lawyers’ Professional Rights by Laws issued by the People’s Supreme Court, People’s Supreme Procurator, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of State Security, and Ministry of Justice together in 2015 in depth. Article 25 Clause 1 of the Regulations states explicitly, “If the lawyer requests that the trial should be rescheduled due to the appropriate reasons including the scheduling conflict of a trial, People’s Court should take it into consideration, if it is decided to reschedule the trial, the court should notify the lawyer in a timely manner.”  

 

Attorney Fang said that lawyers’ defense right is independent and has nothing to do with other counsels. He advised that Judge Liu study relevant laws and regulations and legal principles basis well.  

 

Attorney Fang Xiangui severely condemned Judge Liu Huiping’s conduct of forcibly arranging the trial regardless of the attorney’s scheduling conflict and infringing on his professional right. In the meantime, he called on Lvliang Intermediate Court, Lvliang Procuratorate, Shanxi Province Procuratorate to investigate the incident under the Regulations about Protecting Lawyers’ Professional Rights by Laws Articles 41 & 42, ordering Lvliang Intermediate Court to rectify it.  

Fang Xiangui at the entrance of Lvliang Intermediate Court (Photo: Fang Xiangui's public Weibo page)

Zhao Weikai, Attorney Fang Xiangui’s client, is a coworker of Zion Reformed Church in Taiyuan. He and An Yankui have been close friends since their childhood. Later, they attended West China Seminary founded by Pastor Wang Yi together, and served churches in Taiyuan after graduating. Zhao Weikai and his wife Li Xin have three children. They insisted that their children should be homeschooled to avoid China’s brainwashing schools. Relevant Chinese departments coerced them to send their kids to public schools and threatened to arrest them, but Zhao Weikai refused.  

 

On May 17, 2021, authorities summoned Zhao Weikai and raided his home. They charged him with “religious deception”, and summoned Li Xin the same day. Police took all of Zhao’s computers, hard drives, and thumb drives without issuing any legal warrants or an inventory list of confiscated items. Li Xin wasn’t released until 12 hours later, but Zhao Weikai was sentenced to 15-day administrative detention. Authorities officially arrested Zhao on July 20 and changed his charge.  

 

Fang Xiangui requested to meet with Zhao Weikai multiple times, but he was denied.  

 

~ Yu Bing, ChinaAid Contributing Reporter