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China blogger says court overturns his conviction

China blogger says court overturns his conviction

A Chinese blogger sentenced to a year in a labor camp said a court cleared his name Friday in the first known instance of judges overturning a case linked to China's biggest political scandal in years.
Fang Hong said a court in the southwestern city of Chongqing threw out his conviction for lack of evidence and ruled that the year he spent at the labor camp was an illegal detention. He said he would seek state compensation of about $6,000 and apologies from the city government and media outlets that put forward the accusations against him.
"I am very happy both personally and for the city of Chongqing," Fang told The Associated Press. "This is the start of a process of restoring the rule of law in the city."
The retired civil servant was arrested after posting a brief poem mocking now-disgraced politician Bo Xilai, who ruthlessly attacked critics and accused gang bosses in Chongqing before being dismissed as the city's Communist Party chief and suspended from other posts in March. He was convicted and sentenced in April 2011.
A clerk reached by phone at the Chongqing Third Intermediate Court confirmed that Fang's case had been heard Friday but declined to give details or her name in line with regulations. She said a verdict would be announced through state media. The official Xinhua News Agency also said Fang's case was being heard, but gave no verdict.
In an apparently related development, a former Chongqing district police chief, Wang Pengfei, and a former commander, Li Yang, were formally removed from their posts, the Chongqing Morning Post newspaper reported Friday. No other details were given, although earlier news reports said they had been detained months ago in relation to the Bo scandal.
Both men had served under Bo's former police chief and right-hand man, Wang Lijun, who is now in custody after making a shocking visit to a U.S. Consulate in the nearby city of Chengdu in January. Wang is thought to have told the Americans about Bo's transgressions and his concerns over the suspicious death last November of British businessman Neil Heywood, a longtime Bo family confidante.
Bo was reprimanded after Wang's consulate visit, sparked by a falling-out between the two men thought to be related to the investigation into Heywood's death. Formerly one of China's highest-profile politicians, Bo is currently under investigation by the ruling Communist Party's disciplinary body, while his wife and an aide have been named as suspects in Heywood's murder.


Updated : 2021-04-13 19:41 GMT+08:00