On Inside-Out China, Xujun Eberlain comments on the confusing case of lawyer Li Zhuang who has been convicted of fabricating evidence in the Chongqing corruption investigation. He first appealed his verdict, and then admitted guilt. China Daily reported:
Li Zhuang, the former lawyer of alleged gang boss Gong Gangmo, admitted he fabricated evidence and interfered with witness testimonies to save his client in a court in southwest China’s Chongqing municipality yesterday.
But Li’s lawyer, Chen Youxi, continued his defense, saying Li “did not mean what he said” and only made the “ironic” confession because he was deeply disappointed with the judicial system, adding he would continue to fight to prove the tainted lawyer’s innocence.
Last December, Gong, who is on trial for running a 34-member criminal gang, told a court that Li, his lawyer then, instructed him to fabricate evidence to prove police torture, leaving law practitioners across the country stunned.
A separate trial to hear Li’s case was ordered immediately. Li was convicted and sentenced to two and a half years in prison on Jan 8, and a week later he appealed the verdict.
However, as more complete coverage from independent media such as the Economic Observer appeared, it becomes evident that Li did not admit guilt genuinely, and that he tried to present obvious clues to that effect wherever he could. Here’s a small example: at one point, when examined by the prosecutor on how he incited Gong Gangmo, his client, to fabricate evidence of torture, Li said he leaned over an iron bar and whispered into to Gong’s ear. This is in complete contradiction to what Gong had told the court and CCTV, that Li gave him hints by “blinking his eyes.” Later, Li’s defense lawyer asked a police guard whether there was an iron bar in that room, and the witness said “no.” When it was Li Zhuang’s turn to question one witness, he asked, “Now there are two versions of how the ‘fabrication’ took place, so which is true?” Aha! He had created the 2nd version himself in order to ask this question. Though the witness evaded the question by answering “I don’t know,” Li fulfilled his purpose in revealing conflicting evidence.