The blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng’s nephew Chen Kegui, charged with “intentional injury,” was tried and sentenced on November 30. On December 1, his lawyer Si Weijiang (斯伟江), who had been prevented by the authorities from serving his client, issued the following statement. As the first source in English (I believe so) that broke the news of Chen Kegui’s plight and provided a complete interview of the young man describing the events of that night, this site continues to monitor his case and advocates for his freedom. Churchill translates. –Yaxue
As one of the lawyers engaged by Liu Fang, the wife of Chen Kegui, in the stages of indictment and the first trial in Chen Kegui’s alleged intentional injury case, I present the following statement with regard to the adjudicative decision made by the People’s Court of Yinan County at the end of the first trial that convicted Chen Kegui and sentencing him to 3 years and 3 months in prison:
I. These proceedings of this case were completely illegal
All throughout the investigation, review and indictment stages of this case, Chen Kegui’s lawyers Si Weijiang and Ding Xiguo, engaged by Chen’s family, were prevented from meeting with the client. Especially in the investigative phase when we first contacted the investigators, the Yinan Public Security Bureau did not at all put forward that Chen Kegui had requested for legal-aid lawyers. In violation of the law, the Public Security Bureau did not allow us to meet with our client, nor did they inform Chen Kegui that his family had retained lawyers for him. During the Yinan prosecution’s investigative review and indictment period when Ding Xiguo and I met with the prosecution’s investigators, the prosecutor’s office refused our request to keep Chen Kegui informed and open to choices. According to the laws of our country, Chen Kegui did not meet the requirements for legal aid application since his family had already retained lawyers for him. To appoint aid lawyers for him was a covert denial of Chen Kegui’s proper right to a defense, and therefore the judgment of this case involves no justice to speak of. Furthermore, the appointed legal-aid counsels did not communicate the court news to Chen Kegui’s family in advance, the trial was announced and held suddenly, and the judgment was made and announced at the end of the same court session.
II. The conviction of this case has completely confused reality
On April 26, 2012, just like anyone else, Chen Kegui was staying at home with his parents and child. His child was experiencing a fever, but at past midnight, a group of people climbed over the walls, broke the door’s lock and stormed in, and beat Chen Kegui with bats from inside the house to outside. Because it was a large group of intruders, Chen cried to his mother for help. Faced with life threatening circumstances, Chen pulled out a knife extemporarily from his kitchen in self-defense, slashing the face of Zhang Jian, a town government official who led the pack of intruders and the assault. As soon as Zhang Jian and others stopped offence, Chen Kegui halted the use of knife, and Zhang Jian and the others left on their own. The actions Chen took are in complete accordance with the 20th article in China’s criminal law that lays out legitimate self-defense.
As Liu Zongyuan (柳宗元) writes in his Discourse of the Snake-Catcher, “When the government officials came to my village, they scream and shout and bully the villagers.” Now, the actions of Zhang Jian and the others went far beyond that. Under the laws of our socialist nation, our town officials are sneaking in the deep of night into ordinary citizens’ homes, using violence against innocent citizens, and when the citizens take action in self-defense, stopping before it goes too far, they are unexpectedly charged with intentional injury. According to The Tang Code, “any intruder invading another’s home at night will be caned with bamboo 40 times. If the homeowner kills the intruder on the spot, he is exempt from criminal charges.” The Ming Code and Qing Code also state: “In any instance that an intruder enters another’s house without cause, he will be caned with a rod 80 times. The owner will not be charged should he kills the intruder on the spot.”
Chen Kegui’s actions were lawful self-defense and in no way criminal. Any civilized country would not implicate, let alone none in the Chen family is a criminal. Judicial officers involved in this case have “ravaged” common citizens in the name of national interest, but what are these so-called national interests? What is a country good for if people living peacefully at home cannot use self-defense to protect themselves and defend their homes?
Whose country is this anyway? Who has brought this shame to our country? Who is the one harming this country’s national interests?