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1st LD: Chinese lawyer gets 7 years in prison for state subversion

Xinhua, August 4, 2016 Adjust font size:

Zhou Shifeng, a lawyer and former director of Fengrui Law Firm, was convicted of subverting state power and sentenced to seven years in prison Thursday.

He was also deprived of his political rights for five years, according to the No. 2 Intermediate People's Court in Tianjin, a northern port city close to Beijing.

Zhou, 52, pled guilty and told the court he would not appeal.

Two other men connected to Zhou's activities were sentenced by the same court on Tuesday and Wednesday.

More than 40 people, including lawyers and journalists from home and overseas, observed Thursday's trial. None of Zhou's relatives were present, at his request.

Zhou is originally from Anyang City, Henan Province. He was director of the Beijing-based Fengrui Law Firm, which was suspended in 2015 after a police investigation into several of its employees.

Zhou has long been influenced by anti-China forces and gradually established ideas to overturn the country's political system, said a court statement.

Since 2011, Zhou has verbally attacked the socialist system and the "one country, two systems" policy that applies to Hong Kong and Macao, and incited confrontation, the statement said.

He used the law firm as a front for his subversive agenda, recruited like-minded lawyers and other staff and together they discredited judicial organs, attacked the judicial systems and promoted anti-government sentiment by interfering in and exaggerating sensitive cases.

Along with members of an illegal religious organization, paid protestors, lawyers and others, he plotted and established "strategies, methods and steps" to subvert state power and carried out a series of subversive activities, which endangered national security and social stability, it said.

"I plead guilty," Zhou said in his final statement, "My actions have brought instability and risks to society." Endi