Second Man Sentenced in China's Chengdu Over Tiananmen Massacre Liquor


2019.04.02
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china-tiananmen-liquor-hk-june-2017.jpg A bottle of liquor and portraits of Chinese dissidents Chen Bing, Fu Hailu, Luo Fuyu and Zhang Junyong are displayed at a museum in Hong Kong, June 2, 2017.
AP Photo

A court in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan has handed down a suspended three-year prison term to a second man who sold liquor with references to the 1989 Tiananmen massacre on the label, following a secret trial.

Zhang Junyong was handed a three-year suspended jail term by the Chengdu Intermediate People's Court, which found him guilty of "picking quarrels and stirring up trouble" on Tuesday, after a trial that lasted less than an hour, the Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch group said via its Twitter account.

"Zhang Junyong, the second defendant in the Chengdu liquor case stood trial today, receiving a three-year jail term, suspended for four years, for picking quarrels and stirring up trouble," the group said.

It said defendant Luo Fuyu would stand trial on Wednesday, while the trial of the fourth defendant, Chen Bing, is scheduled for Thursday.

Teahouse proprietor Fu Hailu was found guilty of "picking quarrels and stirring up trouble" in a trial at the Chengdu Intermediate People's Court on Monday and handed a three-year prison term, suspended for five years.

The trials came after the four were held for three years in pretrial detention, amid repeated delays and postponements by the authorities.

Fu’s wife Liu Tianyan said he was out of prison, but unable to give media interviews during the five-year suspension period.

"There are restrictions; he has to be at their beck and call," Liu said. "But he's doing OK right now."

The four were initially detained in May 2016, after they marketed bottles of liquor bearing the words "June 4, 1989" and a cartoon of a man in front of an advancing column of tanks on the label. The label also says "Never forget, never give up."

According to another slogan on the bottle, the baijiu spirit had "matured for 27 years," the length of time since People's Liberation Army (PLA) troops put an end to weeks of student protests on Tiananmen Square, using tanks and machine guns on largely unarmed civilians.

Media reports at the time said the Tiananmen-themed liquor had been designed for private circulation among groups of friends on social media, rather than for public sale.

Other defendants

Luo's wife Gao issued a statement calling on the ruling Chinese Communist Party to face up to the judgment of history on the massacre, which took place 30 years ago.

She said Luo had sacrificed more than 1,000 days of his personal liberty to commemorate those who died.

Gao said she expects that Luo will also undergo an unfair trial.

"This is highly likely, because Fu Hailu and Zhang Junyong were both given suspended sentences," she told RFA. "I don't think Luo Yufu should get a suspended sentence; they should have allowed him to come home anyway, because he is innocent."

Meanwhile, Chen Jiahong, sister of Chen Bing, has been taken ill after being contacted by state security police about her brother's trial, Chen Bing's wife Wang Xiaoyan told RFA.

"She fainted, and was feeling unwell so she went for a check-up, then she came home," Wang said. "Her health isn't so good, and she has been under a lot of psychological pressure."

Sources close to the case said the U.S. consulate had sent someone to attend Fu's trial, but that they were refused entry to the court building.

China regularly implements nationwide security measures aimed at preventing any public memorials linked to the June 4 crackdown, which was styled a "counterrevolutionary rebellion" by the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

Reported by Wen Yuqing for the Cantonese Service, and by the Mandarin Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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