Writer and publisher Tie Liu has been convicted of operating an illegal business after publishing the accounts of people persecuted as “rightists” under Mao Zedong. The 81-year-old Tie, whose real name is Huang Zerong, was given a suspended sentence of two and a half years. His assistant and housekeeper, Huang Jing, was also convicted. Tie had been detained in his Beijing home in September and charged in October. Chris Buckley reports for the New York Times:
Tie Liu, an underground publisher, was tried in Chengdu, in Sichuan Province, along with his maid, Huang Jing, and convicted of operating an illegal business, Mr. Tie’s former lawyer said. Both defendants received suspended sentences for publishing the memoirs of people persecuted nearly 60 years ago for criticizing the Communist Party.
Even with the relatively light sentences, the prosecutions have underlined the party’s determination under President Xi Jinping to eradicate what the authorities deem to be corrosive criticisms of the Communist Party, including of its turbulent past.
Mr. Tie’s real name is Huang Zerong, but he is widely known by his pen name, under which he published “Small Scars From the Past,” a journal with a small circulation that ran recollections of people who, like him, were persecuted as “Rightists” in the 1950s.
The Communist Party tightly controls accounts of its past, but Mr. Tie’s journal, circulated in Beijing, was tolerated by the security police who watched his activities. That changed in September, when Mr. Tie was detained after publishing scathing criticisms of party propaganda, like claims that the ideology chief, Liu Yunshan, had sabotaged Mr. Xi’s supposed liberal leanings. [Source]
Some of Tie’s more recent writings may have also made him a target, as Sui-Lee Wee reports for Reuters:
Last year, police in Beijing charged Huang with “causing a disturbance” in connection with 11 of his essays, the lawyer, Liu, said.
Six of the essays were critical of Liu Yunshan, the Politburo Standing Committee member who oversees propaganda, the lawyer said.
In an August essay on an overseas Chinese news website Boxun, Huang accused Liu Yunshan of “never having done a single good thing” for the country and its people.
Liu Yunshan was not available for comment. [Source]