WASHINGTON, July 18, 2003--Chinese authorities have formally charged a U.S.-based democracy activist with spying and entering the country illegally, according to his lawyer and his wife. Yang Jianli, a permanent U.S. resident, could face trial as early as July 28.
�I received the indictment papers yesterday,� Yang�s lawyer, Mo Shaoping, told RFA�s Cantonese service. �The trial date is tentatively set for 10 days from now. But we don�t have the definite date yet--it may be early August.
�I can�t say whether I am optimistic or pessimistic," he said. "The evidence in this indictment has been sent to the court. � I will see Yang Jianli on Monday." Mo told RFA's Mandarin service he expects the trial to be closed because it involves national security.
"We went to the court house yesterday afternoon and made copies of the relevant documents and material," Mo said. "An official from the public security bureau's detention center where Yang Jianli is being kept called me. He informed me that Yang Jianli had been given a copy of the indictment and had asked to meet with his lawyer."
At the trial, Mo said, "Yang Jianli will be in court as the defendant. The prosecutor will be there. And I will be there as the defense attorney. I will probably bring my assistant. There will be three judges and a court record-keeper. That's all."
According to Yang�s wife, Christina Fu, the Beijing Bureau of National Security Prosecution has accused Yang of spying for Taiwan's Nationalist Party. The indictment accused Yang of gathering information on China's Taiwan policy and living conditions. Fu has publicly rejected the accusations against her husband.
The international community has lobbied Beijing to free Yang, 39.
Yang flew to China in April 2002 to research labor protests and to speak with democracy advocates. Not long after arriving, he was detained at Kunming Airport for having false papers. He was able to call his wife once from the hotel where he was detained; he hasn�t been heard from since.
Yang, a Chinese mathematician and economist with permanent U.S. residency, is founder and head of the Foundation for China in the 21st Century in Boston. Before his trip to China he lived in Massachusetts with his wife and two children.
He was detained by Chinese police in April 2002 while trying to board a plane in Kunming using false papers. He was not allowed to see his lawyer or family members until about 10 days ago, as word about the potential charges began to leak out.
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a resolution calling for Yang's release, and high-ranking U.S. officials have raised his case in bilateral talks.
You can read more about Yang at www.yangjianli.com
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