(Xiamen, China—May 1, 2023) During the appeal process, a court revoked Christian lawyer Yang Hui’s initial verdict. He was tried for selling books on a website but was not required to pay a fine. Yang must now pay over $40,000.
In April 2023, Fujian Province Xiamen Municipal People’s Intermediate Court made a verdict on the second trial of Yang Hui selling secondhand books on the Confucius website. The verdict repealed the first trial’s decision by Xiamen City Siming District Court that no fine was given to him.
Renowned lawyer Yang Hui
Lawyer Yang Hui attends a Christian house church, actively involving himself in Christian human rights cases. He represented Early Rain Covenant Church in the 129 crackdown and Pastor John Cao. In the Winter of 2020, he represented the “12 Hongkongers”, a renowned case. Due to his sensitive cases, the police asked Yang to speak with them many times.
Selling used books
Xiamen City Jimei District Law Enforcement of Culture Market investigated him in early February 2021 at his home. He rejected the search because they failed to show a warrant. Later, he was asked to come to Jimei District Law Enforcement of Culture Market to collect evidence. Yang loves to read, with 8,000 books in his home. He sold the books he used before on sale on the Confucius website. He also used the site to buy other books.
Authorities gave Yang an administrative penalty because he registered on the Confucius website to purchase and sell used books since 2017. They fined him seven times his proceeds, totaling 283,497.20 yuan (~$41,000). His notice stated: “[Yang Hui] registered on the website for exchanging used books operated by Beijing Old Castle Books Ltd. [the Confucius used books website] without obtaining the publication business license, ran an online store (named ‘Browsing Bookstore’) and engaged publication and distribution.”
Initial verdict and appeal
Lawyer Yang argued against the charges. He explained to Xiamen Siming District Court that the regulation police cited does not ban consumers from selling their books. The Court rescinded the administrative penalty. However, Jimei District Law Enforcement of Culture Market disagreed with the verdict and filed an appeal to Xiamen Intermediate Court. On April 10, 2023, Xiamen Intermediate Court annulled the verdict of the first trial.
Crackdown on lawyers
According to the analysis of insiders, the aim of severely punishing Lawyer Yang is to retaliate and crack down on Christian human rights lawyers.
~Yu Bing, ChinaAid Special Correspondent