A leading Chinese political dissident sentenced to 15 years imprisonment in an unprecedented trial last month had his last appeal rejected, China's Official press reported today.
The official New China News Agency and several Peking papers said the Peking municipal High People's Court affirmed the verdict against Wei Jingsheng yesterday after a 3 1/2-hour hearing. Although the agency called it "a public trial," there appeared to be no prior public notice and foreign journalists appeared to be unaware that the hearing had been held until the government released the news early Wednesday morning.
Wei was convinced of "supplying a foreigner with Chinese military intelligence and carrying out counterrevoltionary agitation." The former underground magazine editor gave the same defense as he did at his trial, denying that the information he supplied about the Sino-Vietnamese war was secret, the agency said. He also denied that his writings in the magazine "Explorations" were counterrevolutionary and asserted "his right to freedom of speech to write and distribute articles."
In his original trial Oct. 16, Wei, a 29-year-old zoo electrician, declined the services of a lawyer. But at the appeal hearing, the agency said, "Liu Shufeng, a woman lawyer of the Peking Lawyers Association, was entrusted by Wei Jingsheng with his defense.
Wei's sentence also includes three years deprivation of political rights after the 15 years in prison is over. Unofficial transcripts of Wei's original trial posted in Peking say he identified the foreigner to whom he gave information as Reuter bureau chief Ian Mackenzie. Mackenzie has denied the allegation, and the official press continued to decline to identify the foreigner.