A Chinese supreme court judge who went missing after exposing judicial misconduct at the regime’s highest court, is now under criminal investigation for “divulging state secrets,” state media reported.
State-run mouthpiece Xinhua said on Feb. 22 an official investigation found Wang Linqing suspected of crimes involving obtaining illegal benefits and leaking state secrets, adding that the matter was referred to the police.
On the same day, state-run television CCTV aired a video “confession” from Wang, in his first public appearance since he disappeared in early January following the release of two videos in which he alleges misconduct in two high-profile cases.
In these videos, Wang revealed that court files mysteriously disappeared in a multi-billion dollar mining case. He also alleged that the head of the supervision bureau within the court pressured him to decide a certain way in a separate mining case.
Judicial Misconduct Allegations
On Dec. 30, the state-run China Times newspaper published a video in which the civil division judge explained the circumstances surrounding the files’ disappearance in the mining case. The case concerned a mining contract dispute in northwestern China’s Shaanxi Province.
Wang said he asked the chief judge of the civil division, Cheng Xinwen, for surveillance footage after he discovered that case files had disappeared as he was about to start drafting the verdict.
Cheng told him that on the day that the files went missing, the surveillance cameras had malfunctioned and didn’t record anything, despite having been recently installed. Wang said he suspected that the cameras had been tampered with.
Wang’s allegations came off the back of an earlier claim by a well-known former state-television talk show host, Cui Yongyuan, that files from the Shaanxi mining case were stolen from a judge’s office.
On Jan. 2, Cui released a video to Chinese social media of an interview with Wang, in which the whistleblower also revealed how his supervisors had actively intervened in the case. As of November 2017, his supervisor Du Wanhua had made three alterations to the verdict.
In the Jan. 2 video, Wang also described another mining case in which he was pressured by the then-head of the supervision bureau within the court, Yan Changlin, to decide the matter in favor of a certain party. Wang said when he refused to comply with the request, he was told he would face “trouble” as a result.
Xinhua said the investigation found that Yan was suspected of intervening in the case after accepting requests from one party, and was thus suspected of violations of party discipline and laws.
In the two videos, Wang made allegations of misconduct against six high-level judiciary officials in the supreme court.
Lawyers Dispute Investigation
In a now familiar style of televised “confession” video, Wang admitted to taking the files home after he was told he would no longer be handling the case. He claimed that he took the files home “partly out of spite, and partly because I didn’t want anyone else dealing with the case.”
Chinese lawyers, however, told the Chinese-language Epoch Times that they were not convinced by the results of the investigation.
A former lawyer from Shanghai, Zheng Enchong, said he was in more than 30 chat groups on Chinese instant messaging app, Weixin, where people have been discussing this affair.
“No one believes the outcome of the investigation,” Zheng said.
A lawyer from Guangxi Province, Qin Yongpei, said on social media: “Can they re-establish public trust in the judicial system by having judge Wang Linqing make a ‘confession’ on CCTV? In my view, they are only making matters worse.”
Amid fears that Cui would also be targeted following the release of Wang’s confession video, Beijing-based lawyer Li Zhuang confirmed with Radio Free Asia (RFA) that he spoke to Cui on Feb. 24 and he was safe at home.
Meanwhile, the Chinese regime’s censors have banned the sale of all ten legal books authored by Wang, RFA reported.
An unnamed employee of Wang’s publisher, Legal Publishing Co., told the outlet that the company was ordered to cease distribution of Wang’s books as of Feb. 22.