The Case of Chen Baocheng

Caixin   Caixin Statement Regarding Detained Reporter Chen Baocheng  August 12, 2013

On August 10, Caixin Media Co. learned from Internet posts that a Caixin employee and reporter, Chen Baocheng, had been detained by police in Pingdu City, Shandong Province, over disputes related to forced demolition.

Caixin immediately tried to get in touch with Chen, but failed. It then commissioned a lawyer to contact the Pingdu police to learn more about the incident and law enforcement procedures. However, as of the release of this statement, the police have not responded. On the night of August 10, Caixin prepared a written inquiry to send to the Pingdu police bureau. A police officer surnamed Ma who answered our call said the bureau's fax machine was broken and refused to receive the letter or answer any questions about Chen.  

More than 24 hours have passed since the detention and the Pingdu police have not released any information to the public. This despite repeated efforts from Caixin and the great attention on social media sites.

The demolition disputes in Pingdu, Chen's hometown, have garnered broad public attention for several months. In February, when Chen was home to attend his grandmother's funeral, he was attacked by a group of unidentified people. At the time, Caixin issued a public statement that called on the Pingdu government and relevant departments to investigate the attack. They have not responded.

Caixin is closely following the detention of Chen. We call for restraint and for all parties to act rationally. Actions should fall within the framework of the law. We hope that the authorities in Pingdu can disclose information in a timely manner and handle the case with justice and transparency.

Legal Affairs Department, Caixin Media Company
August 11, 2013

Radio Free Asia   Chinese Journalist Detained For Role in Demolition Standoff   August 12, 2013

Authorities in the southwestern province of Sichuan have detained a reporter on charges of "illegal detention" after he became involved in a forced eviction dispute, his relatives and lawyer said Monday. "I visited him this morning, although there was very little time," said Li Huiqing, a lawyer acting on behalf of Caixin Media reporter Chen Baocheng, who was reported on social media last week as having been detained by police in his hometown of Pingdu city, Sichuan. Li added: "He was in a good state of mind, and he thanked everyone for their concern and support." He said he had already applied for bail for Chen, who was detained after helping villagers to make a "citizens' arrest" of a bulldozer driver who was about to demolish their homes.

According to Li, Chen was detained last Friday following the standoff. Villagers reported the bulldozer driver for illegal demolition, but police took no action, he said. "I don't think there is a crime to answer here ... so I think they should allow bail under the provisions on bail in the Criminal Procedure Law," Li said. "Chen's ... analysis is that ... he is being detained as a precautionary measure ... and this illegal detention charge is being cooked up against him."

Caixin statement

An employee who answered the phone at the Pingdu municipal police department declined to comment, saying the department's fax machine was broken, and unable to receive queries. Caixin Media issued a statement on Sunday after also failing to confirm the details of Chen's detention with Pingdu police. "Caixin is closely following the detention of Chen," the group's legal affairs department said in a statement carried on its website. "We call for restraint and for all parties to act rationally." It added: "Actions should fall within the framework of the law. We hope that the authorities in Pingdu can disclose information in a timely manner and handle the case with justice and transparency." The statement said Chen's detention came after he had covered forced evictions of local people by officials and property developers in Pingdu. "The demolition disputes in Pingdu, Chen's hometown, have garnered broad public attention for several months," Caixin Media said. "In February, when Chen was home to attend his grandmother's funeral, he was attacked by a group of unidentified people." It said the Pingdu authorities had yet to respond to calls from Caixin Media for an investigation into the attack on Chen.

Chen's wife Li Xiaobo said the February attack had used a car traveling at high speed to slam into Chen. "He was beaten up at the end of last year, and then there was the flying car incident in February," she said. "They have used all kinds of methods to take revenge on him."

Forced evictions

Top Beijing-based rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang, who is also part of Chen's legal team, said forced evictions were an increasingly emotive issue for Chinese people, and unprecedented even compared to imperial times. "There has never been a dynasty like [the ruling Chinese Communist Party], which grabs land from ordinary people on a national level, and pulls down their houses, nor one in which the government is so closely bound up with evil developers, to the extent where they become enforcement mobs for their interests," Pu said. He dismissed as trumped up the charges of "illegal detention" against Chen. "This is a journalist who understands the law," Pu said. "People were protecting their own homes from illegal demolition, and the government did nothing when they called the police." "People suddenly show up and start arresting them, and they say they were illegally detaining people? It's crazy," he said.

In China, all land is ultimately owned by the state, but is allocated to communities under collective contract under a system that replaced state-run farms and communes under late supreme leader Deng Xiaoping. Land acquisition for development, often resulting in lucrative property deals for local officials, sparks thousands of protests by local communities across China every month, many of which escalate into clashes with police. Press freedoms came under greater attack in China last year, amid increased government censorship and attacks on individual journalists, according to media experts and rights monitoring groups. China has one of the world's worst records on press freedom, with controls on state-run media and netizens showing no signs of abating, according the Paris-based global media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF). China, which RSF said it is "the world's biggest prison for Internet users," ranked 173rd out of 179 countries in its 2013 World Press Freedom Index.

Reported by Xin Lin for RFA's Mandarin Service, and by Wen Yuqing for the Cantonese Service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.

(China Daily)  Journalist in detention after demolition hostage drama.  Zhao Lei.  August 14, 2013

A journalist is being held in criminal detention in Shandong province for allegedly keeping a man in illegal custody during a protest over forced home demolitions. Chen Baocheng and six of his fellow villagers in Pingdu, Shandong province, have been detained since Saturday after allegedly keeping a construction working captive for 25 hours, according to local police. The reporter covers news on judiciary and law enforcement matters for the Beijing-based Caixin Media group, but originates from Shandong province.

The case has received huge public attention since it was first reported online on Sunday.

Then on Tuesday morning, a three-minute video clip appeared on apparently showing Chen wielding a stick with a knife attached to one end. The website is the leading news website in Shandong, and is run by the provincial publicity department. The video was provided by local police, and also showed two men in the cab of an excavator machine behind Chen. One of the men in the cockpit, Guo Xiaogang, was the machine's operator and had been kept hostage for 22 hours by the time the video was shot, the police said in the clip. "I gave you enough time to resort to reason and law, but what have you done during that time?" said Chen in the video. "Now you are saying nice words to me, but it is too late. Do you really believe that wearing uniforms enables you to do whatever you want? I am practicing my legal right to defend myself. You only protect those who forcibly demolish our homes!" Pingdu police said in a report on that Chen and his fellow villagers had poured several bottles of gasoline on Guo and threatened to set him on fire. Officers had to subdue Chen and the villagers after attempts at negotiations failed, the report said.

Chen and the villagers had been in a long dispute over land expropriation issues with local government stretching back several years, his wife, Li Xiaobo, told China Daily on Tuesday. "Chen doesn't agree that his family's house should be demolished to make way for commercial development because the heads of the Jingouzi village committee failed to produce any official document proving they are authorized to expropriate our land and make us move," she said.

Li Huiqing, a lawyer from Beijing Huayi Law Firm, who represents Chen, said: "The house of one of the villagers (who was with Chen) was demolished without his consent on July 4. So Chen and the others were convinced that the excavator had come to the village on Friday to destroy their houses." After taking control of Guo, they called the police several times, saying they had caught a man who wanted to damage their properties. However, the police officers that came to the scene did not take any action and left the scene, leaving Guo overnight, according to Li. Another lawyer, Pu Zhiqiang from Huayi, said that based on this fact, it seemed Chen had been framed by local authorities.

Li also said that Guo had been treated well and was not harmed in the incident. He said that Chen had recorded a statement from Guo on his cellphone to the effect that he had not been harmed and was staying with Chen of his own will. "However, the cellphone is in the police's hands and I have not yet verified the recording," Li said.

Authorities in Pingdu could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

(South China Morning Post)  Lawyers challenge detention of journalist who opposed demolition of home  August 16, 2013

Police detained seven people in eastern China last week for protesting against the forced demolition of their family home. Their plight, similar to thousands of cases in the mainland every year, would normally not have attracted much attention.

But this time one of the protesters was journalist Chen Baocheng.

Chen works for prominent financial magazine Caixin which immediately issued a statement calling for his release. A week later, more than 20 activist lawyers, including Pu Zhiqiang and Si Weijiang, travelled to Chen’s home village of Dinggouzi in Shandong province to represent his family. Chen and six members of his clan were held on suspicion of "illegal detention" of a bulldozer driver near their village, whom they believed was about to destroy their family homes. Police say the villagers trapped the driver in his bulldozer for more than 25 hours at the weekend and doused him with petroleum, threatening to burn him alive if police or officials approached. Police freed the driver when they launched an assault on the villagers on Saturday, and arrested seven villagers including Chen. Chen's family claim that the standoff was the result of months of fruitless complaints against illegal seizure of their land, and continued harassment by thugs hired by developers and local government officials. They deny having detained the driver by force, and said the incident was an entrapment scheme to provoke them into breaking the law.

Chen's case has become a cause celebre against involuntary land seizures, explained Pu Zhiqiang. “His case is that of every single person in China,” he said, speaking on the phone from nearby Pingdu, where police told Pu he could not see his client. “No matter where you are, your home can be destroyed,” he warned.

Local governments are increasingly turning to real estate deals to fill their empty coffers, Amnesty International said in a report on forced demolitions last year. “The pace of forced evictions in China has accelerated in part because local officials have a fiscal incentive to clear the land for development. Income from the sale of land rights comprises the single largest source of revenue for local governments.” The human rights group estimate that “thousands” face the type of forcible eviction which Chen’s family experienced. Chen, his father and other relatives, stand accused of “illegally detaining” a demolition worker and threatening to set another one on fire with petrol.

On Thursday, Pingdu police rejected an application for bail, extending Chen’s detention for another 30 days. Chi Susheng, the lawyer representing Chen’s father, said she did not plan on leaving because support for them was increasing. “I’ve lost track of how many lawyers have come here. More are coming,” said the former delegate to the National People’s Congress. The group hopes they can change the fate of Chen’s family home, said Yuan Gulai, a renowned defence lawyer from Zhejiang. “They are convinced that a combination of lawyers, scholars and journalists can bring about justice,” he wrote on a microblog post.

(TIME)  China’s Emerging Civil Society Prompts Fresh Media Crackdowns  August 20, 2013.

Together with his neighbors, journalist Chen Baocheng had been involved in a long-running land-confiscation dispute with the local authorities in Pingdu, a city of about 1.3 million people in the northeastern Chinese province of Shandong. At 10 a.m. on Aug. 10, an anguished post appeared on his Weibo feed (Weibo is the Chinese equivalent of microblogging service Twitter).

“We have caught a suspect who demolished our neighbor’s house illegally yesterday,” he posted. “We called local police, however they refused to place this on file.” Chen, who ironically covered judicial and law-enforcement news for the Beijing-based Caixin media group, then grew worried that he would be arrested by the police instead, on the grounds that he had detained one of the demolition crew who had torn down his neighbor’s home.

That’s exactly what happened. At 3 p.m. the same day, Chen’s wife posted on Chen’s Weibo account the news that he’d been arrested. The detention was widely reported by Chinese media and became a trending topic on Weibo. One user summed up the feelings of many in a post: “Pay attention to Chen Baocheng. Nowadays, if you belong to the powerless masses, your rights may be trampled by the public organizations at any time. In order to protect yourself, in order to give your offspring a fair and righteous future, we should help Chen.”

Chen’s case is just the latest episode in a series of recent clashes between Chinese journalists and the police. Since June, there have been at least four high-profile detentions or abductions of journalists by police — and the country’s burgeoning civil-society movement is the catalyst, explains Du Bin, a journalist who has himself been in detention and was only recently released. “With the help of Weibo,” he says, “people are getting more opportunity to learn what is happening around them, they are more actively voicing their views and protecting their civil rights, and that’s why more and more people are colliding with the government.” Journalists, perhaps unsurprisingly, are in the forefront of those confrontations.

The above is what you can find in English-language coverage.  Below are some of what can be found in Chinese-language.

(Ji Xiaoguang's blog via Wu Fatian's blog)  August 14, 2013

[in partial translation]

Pingdu city Chinese Communist Party committee
Shandong province Pingdu city people's government

Ever since Chen Baocheng and others were suspected of having committed violent crimes, public intellectuals from his alma mater China Politics and Law University as well as other law professionals have taken down their masks of "advocating the independence of the judiciary" and organized the so-called joint appeal document without conducting any field investigations or examining the ironclad objective facts.

The appeal document presented the one-sided statement of Chen Baocheng as well as partial quotation of the favorable so-called media report (in fact, that reporter was not present at the scene and his reporting was clearly biased).

The signatories of the so-called appeal document avoided the mention of the objective facts around the suspected crimes of Chen Baocheng and failed to provide any constructive legal advice. They merely repeated terms such as "Qingdao is a beautiful city", "Chinese dream" and so on. The signatories even said "We have known Chen Baocheng for many years ..." These words showed that they are trying to make excuses for Chen Baocheng out of personal feelings.

The contents of the appeal document showed that the signatories are suspected of applying public opinion pressure to the superiors (the Qingdao city Communist Party committee, the city government and the highest administrators) in order to induce them to interfere with the judicial process and exonerate the suspect Chen Baocheng. This is a serious affront to the dignity of the law.

In this appeal document, the former dean of Chen Baocheng's alma mater and other legal scholars who have always advocated the independence of the judiciary have stripped away their last veneer of pretense. When their own student and good friend is suspected of committing a violent crime, they did not consider using proper legal means to defend the suspect. Instead they attempted to use their own influence to gain favors from Qingdao city Communist Party secretary Li Jun and mayor Zhang Xinq. This is a serious slight to the law in China.

Based upon these facts, I recommend:

(1) Everyone is equal before the law, and the Pingdu authorities should uphold the independence of the law. The public security bureau, the procuratorate and the court should put aside all interference and set up an case in an independent manner. They shall conduct the investigation and trial of the suspected violent crimes of Chen Baocheng and others, using the facts as the basis and the evidence as the standards.

(2) Without affecting the investigation of the case, the Pingdu authorities should disclose suitable details and progress of the case. The evidence should speak for itself and smash those who advocate "justice through violence" in their effort to hold a public opinion trial of this case.

Ji Xiaoguang


There are eight main points in the public opinion about this case.  I will explain them point by point.

[1] Are Chen Baocheng's actions "proper self-defense"?

According to this photograph, the excavator was more than 300 meters away from Chen Baocheng's own home (as indicated by the blue arrow). The debris was left behind by a demolition that took place a month ago.

So what property was Chen Baocheng trying to protect? Whose property was it?

This is a recent photo of Chen Baocheng's home. It has not been demolished.

At 14:33 on August 9, Chen Baocheng wrote on his microblog that they had already restrained the driver and "poured gasoline on the excavator".  This is perplexing.  Chen had already called the police, so why did he pour gasoline on the excavator? Is he a citizen trying to defend his rights legally? Or is he just a thug?

At 15:49 August 9, Chen Baocheng had already taken the driver hostage and he wrote on his microblog, "I am going to test the law."  At 16:52 the same day, Chen Baocheng wrote again to the Pingdu police: "Must we beat the suspected criminal to death?"

Chen seemed to be a hero who had just apprehended a "criminal." But as the photo showed that the excavator operator Guo Xiaogang did not demolish Chen's home and he was not even on Chen's land. His excavator was several hundred meters away. So why did Chen Baocheng seize him?

[2] The public intellectuals said :"Chen called the police, who refused to come over."

At around 1pm on August 9, the excavator operator Guo Xiaogang came back to retrieve his vehicle and was held. Subsequently Chen Baocheng wrote on his microblog that "gasoline has been poured on the vehicle." At the same time, Chen posted on his microblog that the police came to the scene in about one hour and "observed from afar."

This showed that the police responded properly. Why were they observing from afar. There is a good explanation: If you were the police, how would you handle a hostage situation in which gasoline has already been sprayed around? Would you dare to rush up and make a rescue? Or would you negotiate?

[3] Did Chen Baocheng held the driver hostage by force?

The public intellectuals are saying that Chen Baocheng engaged in "proper self-defense." The video showed Chen Baocheng yelling to the police that "I am engaged in proper self-defense. This is none of your business ..."

In proper self-defense, the individual or other citizens are threatened with bodily harm first and then their defensive actions become justified.

From the video, we see that nobody was violently harming Chen Baocheng or other villagers. Chen's property was not being damaged either.

As the video showed, Chen Baocheng was wielding a home-made broadsword to prevent plainclothes police men from rescuing the hostage. Meanwhile his partner Zhang Pengke poured gasoline many times on the driver's seat, head, chest and arms.

So is this "proper self-defense" or "violent hostage-taking"?

If you were the driver and you are detained for almost 27 hours in a cramped space with gasoline all over yourself, being allowed to eat only two cucumber sticks and some pears during the whole time, would you say that Chen was making "proper self-defense"?

[4] Was there a "conspiracy" within the police?

The public intellectuals are now speculating that the police "deliberately postponed the rescue operation in order to make this an ironclad case against Chen Baocheng".  Does the court need to consider the length of detention in a hostage-taking case where a person was subject to grave danger of loss of life?

At 15:38 on August 9, Chen Baocheng emphasized on his microblog that "gasoline has been poured on the vehicle" and the police was present.  At 00:01, Chen Baocheng set a bottle of gasoline on fire and wrote on his microblog: "I just set a bottle of gasoline on fire. This means to show that this is gasoline, not water."

So is it so wrong for the police to proceed cautiously when the suspect said that he has poured gasoline on the vehicle and even publicly demonstrated that the liquid was gasoline.

[5] Did the police handled the hostage situation properly?

After the video was published, the public intellectuals protested that the video had been edited to "deliberately omit the scene of the beating of Chen Baocheng after his arrest."

My video was provided by a fellow villager of Chen Baocheng and not by the police. Before posting the video, I edited out the section in which Chen threatened this villager about "smashing the camera" as well as a quarrel between them. This villager made that request because his voice is unique enough to be identifiable. The villager had no interest in becoming a celebrity.

I have no physical evidence that Chen Baocheng was beaten up after his arrest. As China Politics and Law University professor Wu Fatian said, "In America, this kind of violent crime might have resulted in the police sniper blowing the hostage-taker away."

[6]  Can Chen Baocheng use "defending his rights" as the justification for committing crime.

Chen may be unhappy with the government, and he may have misgivings about developments in his village. But he can go through the judicial process to resolve these issues.  Instead he chose to use violence.

At 07:53 on August 11, Chen Baocheng's lawyer Wang Liangcai publicly stated on his microblog: "I believe that in the face of forced demolition, any choice (except surrender) made by Chen Baocheng would be justified." So this lawyer is openly trying to make excuses for the suspected violent criminal Chen Baocheng. But does Wang mean to say that Chen can commit murder and arson? If so, then why do we need any laws for this country. Why don't we all march into the streets and take hostages left and right?

[7] Did hooligans and thugs held to rescue the hostage?

Chen Baocheng claimed on his microblog many times that "the police and several hundred hooligans and thugs are in the village ..." Many people who were not at the scene believed firmly in Chen's characterization.

But the photos only showed many plainclothes persons at the scene. How can anyone tell who is a plainclothes policeman or a "thug" or a "hooligan" or a regular resident?

[8] Why did I come out to expose this case?

Many public intellectuals say that I am "a person without principles", that I am a "hit man for the government," that I "took money under the table from the government", and so on.

Let me say this once again: Unlike public intellectuals who crave fame, I only care about the truth and fairness. I believe that the truth is the only principle. I with not pre-establish my position and then create a "truth" to fit the needs of that position.  I welcome anyone to provide evidence that I received any money or favors from the Shandong province Pingdu city authorities.

When Chen Baocheng was defending his rights and getting assaulted earlier, I made many microblog posts to support him.

(  By Fang Zhouzi.  August 20, 2013

[in translation]

On the afternoon of August 11, a party of seven persons including Chen Baocheng were formally detained by the Pingdu police on suspicion of illegal detention.  Two days later, Jiang Ping, He Weifang, Cheng Haida, Sun Xinqiang, Sun Guodong, Xu Xin, Li Youhua, Song Shaofu, Zhang Chengming, Yang Yusheng and others released the <Appeal to Qingdao city Communist Party Secretary Li Jun and Mayor Zhang Xinqi to overturn the police detention of journalist Chen Boacheng and others>.  But this appeal document contained many assertions that are contradicted by Chen Baocheng's own microblog posts during the incident itself.

The appeal document claimed: "Former <Beijing News> and <Southern Metropolis Daily> reporter and current <Caixin New Media> reporter Chen Baocheng and six others were detained by the Shandong province Pingdu city police while defending against the forced demolition of their ancestral homes. They are being detained on suspicion of illegal detention."

But Chen Baocheng published a microblog at 09:53 on August 10: "On August 9, the land around the home of husband-wife Zhang Pengke and Chen Qingsha was illegally excavated. We detained a suspect on the scene along with a vehicle involved in the criminal act." This showed that Chen Baocheng was not defending "his ancestral home against forced demotion."  Instead, the cause was the "illegal excavation of the land" of another family. Based upon the photos, the ancestral home of Chen Baocheng was several hundred meters away from the scene of the incident, and Chen's building is still standing at this time. Forced demolitions are usually carried by an army of personnel, so why was one single driver of an excavator sent in this time? Does the man want to die?

The government said that the driver Guo Xiaogang took the excavator there to level the "construction debris."  The debris came partly from the family of Jiang Hanbin, which had signed the relocation agreement. Another part of the debris from the family of Chen Qingsha, which had also signed the relocation agreement. On July 8, Ji Xuguang had posted on his microblog a photo of Chen Qingsha's relocation agreement that was signed in May 2008. The <Beijing Youth Daily> reporter also said that he saw the agreement in the office of the village Communist Party secretary, although the veracity of the signature and handprint could not be confirmed. These are likely to be genuine.  If so, the incident is not connected to forced demolition. Even if this is a case of demolition, we can deplore the situation but it cannot become the justification to commit criminal acts.

The appeal document quoted the <Beijing News> report which contained Chen Baocheng's recollections: "On the afternoon of August 10, many unidentified persons appeared at the scene. They claimed to be the vehicle owners and the family members of the vehicle operator, and they demanded the operator be released. At the time, I seized a kitchen knife and repeated what I had said before. I was going to turn over this driver who destroyed the property of others to the police." These people then wanted to take the driver back by force. At the time, Chen's knife was taken away by his friend Zhao Xiaoguang. So Chen picked up a wine bottle, but Zhao took that away as well. Later on, Chen found out that the bottle contained gasoline."

According to the Chen Baocheng's live microblog posts, the vehicle owners asked on 9pm August 9 for the driver to be released. On the afternoon of August 10, Chen Baocheng described those present to be "several dozen plainsclothes police officers, firemen and more than one hundred village thugs."  The microblog stated many times that the police was present at the scene." So why does he change the story and said that these were "unidentified persons at the scene"? What happened to his heroic post of fighting the police till death? He knew that these were policemen, so why didn't he turn over the "suspected criminal" to them?  Instead he held his knife and gasoline bottle to prevent the police from freeing the driver? What could this be except hostage taking?"

Based upon the video taken at the scene, Chen Baocheng was not holding a kitchen knife.  He was holding a long, big knife, which looked like the Lord Guan-style broadsword that appeared in the "Final Duel" photo that he posted at 00:32 on July 6.

Was he aware that the wine bottle contained gasoline? Please look at his own microblog post made at 00:03 on August 10: "I set a bottle of gasoline on fire in front of the two vehicle owners. I wanted to show them: 'This is gasoline. This is not water.'"

The appeal document also claimed that Chen Baocheng "has been defending the property rights of his ancestral home in accordance with the law in a rational manner, and this has received broad attention from society." "In the face of citiziens defending their rights in accordance with the law, the behavior of the Pingdu authorities is not helping the resolution of disputes and conflicts. Instead, they are creating the factors for social instability and seriously hurting the building of a harmonious society."

But Chen Baocheng's live microblog post clearly stated: "If the local police dare to enforce the law selectively and attempt to restrain us forcibly under the pretext of 'illegal detention', we will beat them to death." (08:53 August 10)  "Justice is dead. Kill!" (11:11 August 10)  "Come on over, rabbits, there are only heroes willing to die in battle here!" (11:28 August 10)  So what is "in accordance with the law"? What is "rational"?  To make excuses for him now is to diminish his heroic stance.

In his microblog, He Weifang said: "Good people will only be bullied by the law, whereas rebellion is righteous!" This showed that even He Weifang believed that Chen Baocheng broke the law for the sake of righteousness.  Regardless of the correctness of this allegation, at the very least it showed that He Weifang did not believe afterwards that Chen Baocheng was "defending his rights in accordance with the law in a rational manner."  If He Weifang is desperate enough to tell everybody that abiding by the law will only result in being bullied and to urge everybody to break the law in the name of righteousness, he is no longer fit to be a professor of law. Once again, I urge He Weifang to switch occupation, because his lack of professional ethics is letting his law school students down.

The appeal document said, "Since the local authorities may have local interests in the matter, we sincerely hope that Secretary Li and Mayor Zhang will pay attention to this case which has drawn broad attention inside and outside China in order to resolve the conflicts in a fair manner in accordance with the law. This will make the city of Qingdao even more beautiful, and let the people of Qingdao including Pingdu to live happily and enjoy the 'Chinese dream' advocated by Secretary-General Xi Jinping."

Jiang Ping, He Weifang and others have been criticizing the lack of independence of the judiciary in China. But when someone within their own circle is arrested on suspicion of crime, they will not follow the judicial process to defend his rights.  Instead, they write an open letter to call for the local city Communist Party secretary and the mayor to interfere with the judicial process. Isn't this ironic?

These renowned legal scholars, law professors and lawyers refuse to discuss the facts fairly when one of their own is suspected of committing crimes. Instead they leverage the public dissatisfaction against forced evictions/demolitions to mis-represent the facts, mislead the public and even request the senior local party/government officials to interfere with the judicial process. Isn't that very pathetic?