Friday, July 9, 2021

The 7.09 Prosecutions: Zhou Shifeng Criminal Judgment (Summarized by the Supreme People's Court)

 No. 2 Intermediate People's Court of Tianjin

Case Summary by the

Supreme People's Court of the People's Republic of China

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Translator's Summary: This is a translation of the "Zhou Shifeng Subversion of State Power Case" (周世锋颠覆国家政权案) as it appears in Volume 119 of the "Reference to Criminal Trial," [刑事审判参考] (2019), published by the Supreme People's Court of the People's Republic of China. In its commentary on this case the Supreme People's Court stated: "The public trial of the case in accordance with the law simultaneously issued a solemn declaration to the anti-China forces in the West: China's constitutional and legal bottom line must not be challenged, and the fundamental interests of the Chinese people must not be trampled on. Faced with the "color revolution" and "wall pushing movement" under the cloak of so-called "democracy" and "human rights," the Chinese people are not paralyzed and will defend their system and regime with the strongest determination and the most powerful force. Any attempt to undermine China's harmony and stability, any scheme to subvert China's State regime or prevent China's peaceful rise is doomed to find no welcome in people's hearts, will be severely punished by the law, and will end in shameful failure!"

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A. BASICS OF THE CASE

Defendant Zhou Shifeng, male, Han ethnicity, born [INTENTIONALLY DELETED], 1964. Arrested on January 8, 2016.

The People’s Procuratorate of Tianjin, Division No. 2, charged defendant Zhou Shifeng with the crime of subversion of state power and filed a public prosecution with the No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court of Tianjin.

Defendant Zhou Shifeng raised no objections in court to the facts and offenses charged in the indictment.

The No. 2 Intermediate People's Court of Tianjin ascertained through public hearings: defendant Zhou Shifeng became dissatisfied with the country's political and judicial systems while practicing as a lawyer, and gradually developed the idea of opposing, confronting and subverting the State regime. Since 2011, Zhou Shifeng repeatedly made statements online and offline, attacking the socialist system  and inciting opposition to, and confrontation with, the State regime. Using the Fengrui Law Firm as a platform, he enlisted and instructed some lawyers and law firm executives who had the idea to subvert state power to act as counsel in cases, sensationalize hot-button cases, smear the judiciary, attack the system established by the Constitution, and incite hatred of the State regime. He collaborated with certain underground church members, illegal petitioners, and a small number of lawyers and other individuals to jointly plan to subvert the State regime, put forward strategies, methods, and processes to subvert the State regime, and carry out a series of criminal activities to subvert state power and the socialist system, jeopardizing national security and social stability.

The No. 2 Intermediate People's Court of Tianjin found that defendant Zhou Shifeng did, with the goal of subverting state power and overthrowing the socialist system, use the Fengrui Law Firm as a platform to participate and direct others in sensationalizing hot-button incidents, smearing the judiciary, attacking the system established by the Constitution, and inciting hatred of the State regime. He collaborated with others to put forward strategies, methods, and processes to subvert the State regime. He gave interviews to foreign media outlets where he attacked the socialist system, and his actions jeopardized national security and social stability. This constituted the crime of subversion of state power, and should be punished in accordance with the law.

On August 4, 2016, the No. 2 Intermediate People's Court of Tianjin publicly pronounced the judgment in this case and sentenced defendant Zhou Shifeng to a fixed term of seven years imprisonment and five years of deprivation of political rights for the crime of subversion of state power.

Defendant Zhou Shifeng pleaded guilty in court and accepted the sentence without appealing. The individuals involved in the case - Hu Shigen, Zhai Yanmin, Gou Hongguo, Li Heping, Wu Gan and others - were also sentenced to corresponding punishments for the crime of subverting state power.

B. DECISION RATIONALE

Article 105 of the Criminal Law stipulates that those who organize, plot or carry out the scheme of subverting the State power or overthrowing the socialist system, the ringleaders and the others who commit major crimes shall be sentenced to life imprisonment or fixed-term imprisonment of not less than 10 years; the ones who take an active part in it shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than three years but not more than 10 years; and the other participants shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than three years, criminal detention, public surveillance or deprivation of political rights. According to the provisions of this paragraph, the constitution of the crime of subverting state power does not require the occurrence of actual harmful results of subverting state power and overthrowing the socialist system. The crime is constituted as long as the perpetrator has organized, plotted, and carried out acts to subvert state power and overthrow the socialist system. The object of this crime is the stability of the State regime, and what has been infringed upon is the State power of the people's democratic dictatorship and the socialist system. The objective aspect can be manifested as any action whereby there is the organization, plotting, and carrying out a "peaceful transformation" through a so-called "color revolution," employing non-violent means to change the nature of the people's democratic dictatorship regime and the socialist system.

In this case, defendant Zhou Shifeng subjectively had the purpose of subverting state power and overthrowing the socialist system. In terms of objective behavior, Zhou Shifeng actively participated in gatherings organized by others, and specifically discussed becoming involved in a set of established issues and specifically discussed lawyers intervening in "labor movements" in order to have a direct impact on the State regime, as well as the necessity and feasibility of sensationalizing hot-button issues in order to divide and disrupt the State's political institutions. He also discussed specific operational methods and means, and jointly plotted using the aforementioned channels to promote carrying out a "color revolution" in China, and realize the goal of subverting state power and overthrowing the socialist system.

These gatherings exhibited relatively strong organization, and the main participants in the gatherings also exhibited a consistency in themes and opinions. Therefore, the gatherings were actually a specific plotting activity to subvert the state power.

Zhou Shifeng used the Beijing Fengrui Law Firm as a platform to act as counsel in cases, and enlisted and instructed certain law firm executives who had the idea of subverting state power by acting as counsel in cases, sensationalizing hot-button cases, fabricating and disseminating false facts, smearing the image of local Party committees and  judicial agencies, and aiming the point of a spear at the Party’s leadership and judicial institutions and the State system, inciting people who do not know the truth to become dissatisfied with the State institutions. Zhou Shifeng also maliciously attacked China's State institutions in interviews with foreign media, inciting others to hate the State regime.

The essence of Zhou Shifeng's behavior was a specific practice of gathering together to plot schemes to subvert state power by using sensationalizing hot-button incidents to challenge judicial institutions and attack the State regime. It was malicious in nature and the circumstances were severe, and should be regarded as a criminal act subverting state power.

C. AFTERWARD

"Color revolutions" refers to a series of peaceful and non-violent regime change movements at the end of the 20th century that took place in countries in Central Asia, the Middle East, and the Eastern European Commonwealth of Independent States. "Color revolutions" are illegal subversive activities under the banner of "legality." Their essence is to change or usurp the current lawful regime, and their goal is to overthrow the State regime.

In recent years, foreign anti-China forces have always regarded the Westernization and division of China as their strategic goals, and have attempted to use "color revolutions" and other means to carry out activities of regime subversion directed at China. It was in this context that defendant Zhou Shifeng and others who, owing to their dissatisfaction with the country’s current political and judicial systems,  were influenced by ideas such as Western democratic constitutionalism, "color revolutions," and "peaceful transformation" and gradually developed the criminal intent to subvert the State regime, and formed a criminal gang led by Zhou Shifeng, Hu Shigen, and others to carry out a Chinese version of a "color revolution." The case of Zhou Shifeng and others subverting state power is a model case of China blocking a "color revolution" in a new era and a new situation.

The trial of this case by the people's court in accordance with the law is of great significance to safeguarding the country's political security, system security, and regime security, and also highlights major rule of law warnings and educational significance:

The public trial of the case in accordance with the law has drawn three bottom lines for the lawyers: First, no one is allowed to use their status as a lawyer or use a law firm as a platform to sensationalize cases, attack the socialist system, or engage in activities that endanger national security. Second, no one is allowed to use their status as a lawyer to plan, instigate, or organize relevant interest groups to interfere with or disrupt the normal social order. Third, no one is allowed to use their status as a lawyer  to teach or instruct parties to interfere with normal judicial activities.

The public trial of the case in accordance with the law exposed to the sunlight of rule of law and justice a conspiracy of various lawless lawyers, illegal religious organizations, Internet promoters, professional petitioners, and overseas anti-China forces for the so-called "integration of domestic anti-system forces, promotion of intra-party division, and international intervention". It was a public trial in accordance with the law that subjected to the just punishment of the law criminal acts of illegally gathering in public venues, sensationalizing hot-button cases, attacking the State's constitutional legal system, inciting the creation of conflicts between officials and the people, and attempting to subvert state power and overthrow the socialist system. It has also sounded the alarm for every citizen, so that the public has a clear and sensible understanding of the "wall-pushing ideology," "color revolutions" and "peaceful transformation," and thereby consciously draws a clear line and consciously resists the temptation of anti-China forces, and does not "push against the wall," does not act as a pawn of the anti-China forces in the West, and guards the political bottom line of every citizen.

The public trial of the case in accordance with the law simultaneously issued a solemn declaration to the anti-China forces in the West: China's constitutional and legal bottom line must not be challenged, and the fundamental interests of the Chinese people must not be trampled on. Faced with the "color revolution" and "wall pushing movement" under the cloak of so-called "democracy" and "human rights," the Chinese people are not paralyzed and will defend their system and regime with the strongest determination and the most powerful force. Any attempt to undermine China's harmony and stability, any scheme to subvert China's State regime or prevent China's peaceful rise is doomed to find no welcome in people's hearts, will be severely punished by the law, and will end in shameful failure!

(Written by:

The Higher People's Court of Tianjin                    Jiao Zhimin
The No. 2 Intermediate People's Court of Tianjin            Li Zhanqiang

Edited by: The Supreme People's Court, Second Criminal Division    Wang Xiaodong)

周世锋颠覆国家政权案


一、基本案情

被告人周世锋,男,汉族,1964年[INTENTIONALLY DELETED]出生。2016年1月8日被逮捕。

天津市人民检察院第二分院指控被告人周世锋犯颠覆国家政权罪,向天津市第二中级人民法院提起公诉。
被告人周世锋当庭对起诉书指控的事实和罪名无异议。

天津市第二中级人民法院经公开审理查明:被告人周世锋在律师执业过程中,因对国家政治制度和司法体制不满,逐渐产生对抗、颠覆国家政权的思想。2011年以来,周世锋多次在网上网下发表言论,攻击社会主义制度,煽动对抗国家政权;以锋锐律师事务所为平台,网罗并指使一些具有颠覆国家政权思想的律师、律师事务所行政人员,通过代理案件,炒作热点案事件,抹黑司法机关,攻击宪法所确立的制度,煽动仇视国家政权;勾结一些地下教会成员、非法上访人员、少数律师和其他人员,共同策划颠覆国家政权,提出颠覆国家政权的策略、方法、步骤,实施了一系列颠覆国家政权、推翻社会主义制度的犯罪活动,危害国家安全和社会稳定。天津市第二中级人民法院认为,被告人周世锋以颠覆国家政权、推翻社会主义制度为目的,以锋锐律师事务所为平台,参与或指使他人炒作热点案事件,抹黑司法机关,攻击宪法所确立的制度,煽动仇视国家政权;勾结他人策划颠覆国家政权的策略、方法、步骤;借接受境外媒体采访攻击社会主义制度,其行为危害了国家安全和社会稳定,已构成颠覆国家政权罪,应依法予以处罚。

2016年8月4日,天津市第二中级人民法院对本案进行公开宣判,以颇覆国家政权罪,判处被告人周世锋有期徒刑七年,剥夺政治权利五年。

被告人周世锋当庭表示认罪,服从判决,不上诉。涉案人员胡石根、翟岩民、勾洪国、李和平、吴淦等人亦先后以颠覆国家政权罪被判处相应刑罚。

ニ、裁判理由

《刑法》第一百零五条规定,组织、策划、实施颠覆国家政权,推翻社会主义制度的,对首要分子或者罪行重大的,处无期徒刑或者十年以上有期徒刑;对积极参加的,处三年以上十年以下有期徒刑;对其他参加的,处三年以下有期徒刑、拘役、管制或者剥夺政治权利。根据本款规定,颠覆国家政权罪的构成不要求有颠覆国家政权、推翻社会主义制度的实际危害结果的发生,只要行为人进行了组织、策划、实施颠覆国家政权,推翻社会主义制度的行为,即构成本罪。本罪的客体是国家政权的稳固,侵犯的是人民民主专政的国家政权和社会主义制度。客观方面可以表现为通过组织、策划、实施所谓的“颜色革命”“和平转型”,以非暴力的手段实施改变人民民主专政的政权性质和社会主义制度的行为。

本案中,被告人周世锋主观上具有颠覆国家政权、推翻社会主义制度的目的。在客观行为上,周世锋积极参加他人组织的聚会,围绕设定的议题具体讨论了律师介入“劳工运动”直接冲击国家政权,借炒作热点案事件分化、瓦解国家政治体制的必要性、可行性,以及具体的操作方法、手段,共同策划通过上述途径,推动中国进行“颜色革命”,实现颠覆国家政权,推翻社会主义制度的目标。该聚会表现出较强的组织性,聚会的主要参与人也表现出在主题、观点上的一致性,因而该聚会实质是一次颠覆国家政权的具体策划活动;周世锋以北京锋锐律师事务所为平台代理案件,网罗并指使一些具有颠覆国家政权思想的律师律师事务所行政人员,通过代理案件,炒作热点案事件,编造、散布虚假事实,抹黑地方党委和司法机关形象,矛头指向党的领导和司法体制、国家制度,煽动不明真相的人对国家体制产生不满;周世峰还在接受境外媒体采访时恶意攻击我国国家体制,煽动他人对国家政权的仇恨。其行为的实质是借炒作热点案事件,挑战司法体制,攻击国家政权,是周世峰对聚会策划的颠覆国家政权方案的具体实践,性质恶劣,情节严重,应认定为颠覆国家政权的犯罪行为。

【编后语】
“颜色革命”,是指20世纪末期开始的一系列发生在中亚、东欧独联体国家的以和平和非暴力方式进行的政权变更运动。“颜色革命”打着“合法”的旗号进行违法颠覆活动,实质是改变或篡夺现行合法政权,目标则是推翻国家政权。

近年来,境外反华势力始终将西化、分化中国作为战略目标,企图以“颜色革命”等方式对我国实行政权颠覆活动,在此背景下,被告人周世锋等人因不满国家现行政治制度和司法制度,受西方民主宪政、“颜色革命”“和平转型”等思想的影响,逐渐产生颠覆国家政权的犯罪故意,并形成以周世锋、胡石根等人为首的实施中国版“颜色革命”的犯罪团伙。周世锋等颠覆国家政权案,是新时期新形势下我国阻击“颜色革命”的典型案件。

人民法院依法审理本案,对于维护国家的政治安全、制度安全、政权安全具有重大意义,也凸显了重大的法治警示和教育意义:

案件的依法公开审判,给律师界划出了三条底线:一是绝不允许任何人利用律师身份和以律师事务所为平台炒作个案,攻击社会主义制度,从事危害国家安全活动;二是绝不允许任何人利用律师身份策划、煽动、组织有关利益群体,干扰、破坏正常社会秩序;三是绝不允许任何人利用律师身份教咬、指使当事人干扰正常司法活动。

案件的依法公开审判,将个别不法律师、非法宗教组织、网络推手、职业访民、境外反华势力所谓的“整合国内反体制力量、促进党内分裂、争取国际社会介入”等颠覆国家政权的阴谋也暴露在法治和正义的阳光之下,使在公共场所非法聚集、炒作热点案事件、攻击国家宪法法律制度、煽动制造官民冲突,企图颠覆国家政权、推翻社会主义制度的犯罪行为受到法律的公正惩外案件的依法公开审判,也给每一位公民敲响了警钟,使公众对“推墙思想”“颜色革命”“和平转型”有了清醒、理智的认识,进而自觉划清界限,自觉抵制反华势力的引诱,不“推墙”、不做西方反华势力的棋子,守住每一个公民的政治底线。

案件的依法公开审判,同时向西方反华势力发出严正宣告:中国的宪法法律底线不容挑战,中国人民的根本利益不容践踏。面对披着所谓“民主”“人权”外衣的“颜色革命”“推墙运动”,中国人民没有麻痹,将以最坚定的决心和最强大的力量捍卫自己的制度和政权。任何妄图破坏中国和谐稳定,颠覆中国国家政权、阻止中国和平崛起的图谋,注定不得人心,也必将受到法律的严惩,最终走向可耻的失败!

(撰稿:天津市高级人民法院    缴治民
天津市第二中级人民法院    李占强
审编:最高人民法院刑二庭    王晓东)

 

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