Chinese activist ‘Super Vulgar Butcher’ jailed for eight years

Yan Xin (L) and Ge Yongxi (R), lawyers for activist Wu Gan known by the online pseudonym “Super Vulgar Butcher,” sit at a hotel after Wu was sentenced at a court in Tianjin on December 26, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 26 December 2017

Chinese activist ‘Super Vulgar Butcher’ jailed for eight years

TIANJIN: A Chinese court sentenced an activist known by the online pseudonym “Super Vulgar Butcher” to eight years in prison Tuesday after he refused to plead guilty to charges of “subverting state power.”
Wu Gan, who was taken into police custody in May 2015, attracted authorities’ attention with performance art and caustic commentary on Chinese society and politics that he published online.
He was “dissatisfied with the current system of governance, and that gradually produced thoughts of subverting state power,” a court in Tianjin said in a statement explaining the verdict.
By “hyping up hot incidents,” Wu “attacked the national system that is the basis for state authority and the constitution,” the court said.
Wu also “spread fake information” and “insulted others online,” the statement said.
The prominent activist, with his recognizable bald head and glasses, became the subject of the state’s ire for using his larger-than-life online persona to draw public attention to human rights cases.
His nickname was a response to complaints about his use of “crude language.”
He became the subject of intense scrutiny by state media in May 2015 in what many activists saw as a sign of a looming crackdown on human rights defenders.
Wu’s lawyer Yan Xin said the sentence was aimed at setting “an example so other activists will say they are guilty when accused of crimes against the state.”
“It’s clear (Wu) was sentenced so harshly because he refused to plead guilty,” he said.
The verdict came the same day as a court in Changsha elected to exempt former human rights lawyer Xie Yang from serving a sentence after he pleaded guilty to charges of “inciting subversion of state power.”
Xie was released on bail in May after what critics described as a show trial.
He had previously claimed that police used “sleep deprivation, long interrogations, beatings, death threats, humiliations” on him.
But on Tuesday he denied he had been tortured, according to a video on the court’s official Weibo social media account.
“On the question of torture, I produced a negative effect on and misled the public, and I again apologize,” he told judges.
The court said he would face no criminal penalties following his full confession.
Both Xie and Wu were among hundreds of legal staff and activists detained in 2015’s so-called “709 crackdown,” where authorities detained more than 200 people, including lawyers who took on civil rights cases considered sensitive by the ruling Communist Party.


Suicide attack in Kabul wedding hall kills 63

Updated 9 min 10 sec ago

Suicide attack in Kabul wedding hall kills 63

  • At least 182 civilians have been wounded in the attack
  • The Taliban have condemned the attack and denied any involvement

KABUL: An Afghan official says at least 63 people have been killed when a suicide bomber detonated explosives in a packed wedding hall late Saturday night in Kabul.
Feroz Bashari, a government spokesman, says 182 civilians have been wounded in the attack that took place in western part of the city.
Interior Ministry spokesman Nusrat Rahimi says the attacker set off explosives among the guests.
The Taliban have condemned the attack and denied any involvement.
Both the Taliban and the local affiliate of the Daesh group have carried out bloody attacks in the capital.