Ai Weiwei’s lawyer, Zhou Shifeng, sentenced to seven years in prison

Ai Weiwei, S.A.C.R.E.D. 2013

In a trial that lasted just half a day, human rights lawyer Zhou Shifeng – who represented Ai Weiwei – was sentenced to seven years in prison for ‘subversion’, the Financial Times reports. Having previously prosecuted the Sanlu Group, the state-owned dairy products company that caused the 2008 Chinese milk scandal in which baby formula was found to have been tainted with melamine, and represented members of the persecuted falun gong religious sect, Zhou (along with two other lawyers from the firm Fengrui) was taken by three ‘unidentified men’ in July and reported missing by the South China Morning Post. The state-run news agency Xinhua has said that Zhou confessed to being influenced by ‘overseas forces’ that hope to overturn the Chinese communist leadership. Ai Weiwei has not commented. 

5 August 2016