Lawyer Li Zhuang first made headlines more than two years ago. He was defending an alleged crime boss targeted by the so-called “beat the black” campaign in Chongqing. That's the same campaign that made Chongqing Communist Party Secretary Bo Xilai and his former police chief, Wang Lijun, famous./nAnd now that Bo and Wang are in the middle of a growing political scandal, Li Zhuang is making headlines again. That comes after he spent a year and a half in prison./nLi says that the police pressed false charges against him in order to stop his defense of his client, the alleged “gang leader” Gong Gangmo. Gong himself would testify against Li in an act that would save him from execution./n[Li Zhuang, Beijing Lawyer]:
"Out of 34 defendants, Gong was number one. Later, the second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth defendants all received the death sentence. Why didn’t number one, [Gong get the death sentence]? That’s because he turned against me. Basically the Chongqing police told him to do it, or risk losing his life."/nGong told authorities that as his lawyer, Li Zhuang, had told him to give false evidence and to testify that he was tortured while in police custody. On the basis of Gong’s testimony, Li was tried and sentenced to 18 months in prison in February 2010./nHis case shook China's legal world. It was widely seen as a sign that Bo Xilai's Chongqing anti-crime campaign was ignoring the rule of law./nLi Zhuang was released in June of last year. He says he's innocent, and that authorities had him tortured. He also says he had no choice but to confess so that he could be released on probation and be able to prove his innocence. His confession letter contained a secret plea./n[Li Zhuang, Beijing Lawyer]:
"It was a strategy to confess. This was clear in the acrostic poem I wrote. The first character of each paragraph combined says 'forced to confess to get probation' and the last character says 'definitely appeal once I’m out.'"/nWang Lijun, the former Chongqing police chief, made headlines recently when he fled to the US consulate in Chengdu in a bid for asylum. At first, when Wang's whereabouts were unclear, Chongqing's state-run media reported that he was taking an extended vacation as treatment for stress./nFor his part, Li Zhuang has offered free legal services for any “patients” currently on vacation for stress.