As the trial continues and the arguments get into the nitty-gritty details of various incidents, the daily briefings, written in what short time the defense lawyers have after long hours of court sessions, may not always be immediately clear in terms of who is who and what is what. We are doing our best to provide clarity. We ask for readers’ patience in staying with us, and them, through this valuable set of briefings on an important case. – The Editors
July 19, 2021, the fifth day of the Dawu trial began at 9:30 this morning, following yesterday’s hearing that concluded at 11:42 p.m. Most of the defendants were detained in the Baoding Municipal Detention Center, which is nearly 90 kilometers away from the Gaobeidian Municipal People’s Court, and the daily round-trip is thus nearly 180 kilometers. Such continuous, high-intensity days are a severe challenge for Sun Dawu (孙大午) and many defendants in the case. Some defendants are older, and some defendants’ physical constitutions are extremely frail. The pace of the trial is accelerating and unforgiving, and whether the defendants’ physical conditions will be able to withstand the toll is worthy of attention.
Before the court session began today, a defense lawyer asked Sun Dawu if he felt fit to continue and why he looked listless. Sun Dawu said that he had only four hours of sleep the night before. Having had his head shaved, Sun Dawu’s newly-grown stubble was completely white, but his speech was still sonorous and loud. Sun Dawu said, as the day’s trial began, “Through this trial, you will also discover what kind of person I really am”.
Today the court session centered on hearing the first incident for which Sun Dawu was indicted ––the crime of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” (寻衅滋事)–– namely, the incident that occurred on September 14, 2015. In response, Sun Dawu himself denied the allegation, believing that the charge was a reversal of right and wrong.
1. The Cause of the incident
Sun Dawu said that on September 14, 2015, the date alleged in the indictment, he was not at home, but instead had gone out to see a doctor with his wife. When he turned to the road leading to Dawu Co. at 12 noon, he found it was blocked. He wanted to take a detour via Langwuzhuang Village. As he did so, he heard the radio calling Langwuzhuang villagers to block the road to Dawu Co. So the road from Langwuzhuang Village to Dawu was also blocked.
A woman named Wang Suxia (王素霞) set up stalls to sell swimsuits and caused a traffic jam. The Dawu Hot Spring Co. cleared her stalls. She became angry and blocked the road [by lying in the middle of the road for 6 hours].
Langwuzhuang is Sun Dawu’s home village, why did the villagers block the road to Dawu Co.? According to Sun Dawu, it was because the village head at that time gave out high-interest loans, and Sun Dawu did not allow Dawu employees to lend money to the loan sharks. They couldn’t borrow money from Dawu employees, so when others blocked the road, the loan sharks joined.
The primary cause of the accusation against Sun Dawu was the incident in which Wang Suxia blocked the road. The indictment alleges that the handling of the road- blocking incident by Sun Dawu, Dawu executives, and employees constitutes the crime of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.”
2. The road was blocked for 6 hours for a length of 3 km, costing a loss of 1.6 million yuan.
According to the court’s investigation of several parties, the road block started at around 9 a.m. and lasted until 4 p.m. that day, when it was cleared. It lasted at least 6 hours. The blocked road was 3 kilometers long. Wang Suxia, who was blocking the road, had clearly committed a crime, but the public security organ simply ignored it, and did nothing about it.
The government asked the Dawu Co. to report its losses, which reportedly amounted to 1.6 million yuan. Sun Dawu said that the daily visitor flow of the Dawu Co. averages about 10,000, with a peak of 20,000 per day. And at its peak, the company received 4.5 million people a year. Many tourists turned around and left that day because the road was blocked.
3. Setting up stalls to occupy the road seriously damaged Dawu’s reputation and caused multiple traffic accidents.
The location where Wang Suxia set up her stalls was on the right side of Dawu Road, which is also the road leading to Dawu Hot Springs. When visitors to Dawu Hot Springs stopped to buy swimsuits on the roadside, they inevitably disrupted traffic, causing subsequent vehicle congestion. Dawu Hot Springs did not restrict villagers from selling swimsuits, and provided a special location and market for selling swimsuits. In order to cheat customers, however, Wang Suxia [did not set up her stall in the designated location] but set up her stalls on the road that tourists had to pass to reach the springs, profiting as much as 1,000 yuan for each swimsuit. Tourists found out later that they had been cheated but were unable to return the goods for a refund. They inevitably filed complaints with Dawu Co., which damaged the company’s reputation.
As a result of the villagers’ stalls occupying the road, the road was congested and chaotic, leading to multiple traffic accidents and deaths.
4. Wang Suxia, who blocked the road, is a notoriously unreasonable person in the village. She had also used a similar method to block the road the year before.
The defense lawyers found in Sun Dawu’s 2014 blog that there was a picture of Wang Suxia lying in the middle of the road, blocking the road. This occurred in 2014, which was a year before the 2015 incident. It was not the first time that Wang Suxia had blocked the road. Sun Dawu recorded the road blocking incident of 2014 on his blog, along with photos of the incident. The photos clearly show the situation of Wang Suxia blocking the road.
5. Wang Suxia is not an ordinary person, even the District Communist Party Secretary could not do anything about her.
Sun Dawu said that they (Wang Suxia) belonged to an influential family and they were still operating ponds for fishing. Sun said, “The country’s regulations did not allow it, and we have always lodged complaints. This old lady is called ‘gun dao rou’ [滚刀肉, an impossibly unreasonable person] where we are from. I have talked to the Secretary of our District Communist Party Committee, and he said that the issue would be difficult to deal with because she had some powerful backers. Because of this incident, the government was afraid that she would “shang fang” (上访), or lodge a petition with higher levels of government, and gave her 150,000 yuan to appease her. Zhang Baojun (张宝军, a Langwuzhuang villager) asked for 180,000 yuan. When the government rejected his demand, he went to Dawu and smashed things. Later, he was sentenced to 8 months in prison.”
6. Two District Party Standing Committee members visited Wang Suxia.
During the court session, Sun Dawu said: “Wang Suxia’s daughter Li Min (李敏) was a very unusual person. At that time, we [the Dawu Group] cooperated with New Hope Co. (新希望) and accounted for 49% of their shares. The general manager sent by New Hope was called Liu Kechang (刘科常, phonetic transcription). Liu Kechang hired Li Min, a Dawu employee. Li Min is a very pretty young woman. What task did he give her? Procurement! Procure transportation suppliers. Li Min’s family has two trucks. If we invited bids from the public, the transportation cost would be 75-85 yuan per ton, with the more expensive option being 85 yuan. But for Li Min’s family trucks, we paid 120 yuan per ton. We bring tens of thousands of tons a year from Tongzhou (通州). One truckload is 30 tons, and the cost of transportation between these two trucks was nearly a million a year. After Li Min was hired by Liu, she developed more contacts than I had ever had. Later on, when dealing with the road-blocking incident, two District Party Standing Committee members went to Li Min’s home and sat at the bedside of Li Min’s mother [Wang Suxia] to discuss the matter — that’s what the two members of the Standing Committee told me when they came to meet me afterwards. The pig farm was contracted to one of the households that had a relationship with one of the government leaders. Contracting a project from Dawu, a 2-million yuan project, they asked us to pay more than 6 million yuan. I was not the one who issued the contract for the pig farm. Liu Kechang dealt with it later and was detained by the police. When it came time to litigate the lawsuit, they found me through several of my contacts, and I issued a statement of understanding. We [the Dawu Co.] didn’t want to be entangled in this small case. I reached an agreement with the New Hope Co. and we purchased all the shares of the joint venture. I don’t want to talk about this anymore; the police have already dealt with it, and I want to save Liu Kechang’s face and the face of the New Hope Co.”
7. Why did Dawu Company organize the September 24  march?
Sun Dawu: “Loudspeakers in the village mobilized villagers and used a bulldozer to block the road, but no authorities were there dealing with the road blockage. Among the people who took part in blocking the road was the village chief, nicknamed Old Number Four, who was later removed. I went to see the Party Secretary of the District, and he promised to resolve this matter, but he did not. Later, he said the dispute was very complicated and he couldn’t handle it. I heard that he had even slammed his fists on the table. According to the Road Traffic Management Law (《交通管理法》), roads that are in use should be managed by traffic police. We reported this matter to the government; we went to the government many times, but they didn’t deal with it. If the government refused to deal with it, we would have to. If we wanted to survive, we had to get the traffic moving again.”
8. I didn’t assault Wang Suxia. Years have passed, the procuratorate has long since closed the case, and now you are digging it up again. What’s wrong with the law?
The defense lawyers asked Sun Dawu: “The employees of Dawu Group petitioned in front of the government building, and they did not cause any damage. Now you are charged with “gathering a crowd to assault state organs.” On the other hand, Li Min’s mother [Wang Suxia] lay on the road for 6 hours, blocking the traffic for several kilometers, but the public security authorities did not do anything about it. Do you have any comments on the way the indictment sets forth the issue?”
Sun Dawu replied: “Not only this! The whole thing is upside down! It was she who committed a crime by blocking the road and disrupting traffic; how in the end is it we who are incriminated? Chairman Xi said that the people are the country. Are Dawu’s 10,000 employees not the people? Look at the stuff you have come up with for a mere 300 yuan, 500 yuan… the shame!” [Given that there is no specific reference to 300 yuan and 500 yuan elsewhere in the briefing, the translator takes what Sun Dawu said to mean ‘for such trivial matters’.][Sun Dawu:] The procuratorate later investigated the 2015 incident, and concluded that it was Wang Suxia herself who toppled the stalls. Personnel from the procuratorate asked me questions too, and I said that I didn’t assault Wang Suxia and had video footage to prove it. The procuratorate reached its conclusion, which Liu Ping (刘平, General Manager of Dawu Group) showed to me. You can ask Liu Ping to see if it can be found in our archives. I remember that the procuratorate’s conclusion was that the Public Security Bureau had flaws in its handling of the case. Yao Wang (姚旺, a Dawu employee and a defendant) was criminally detained but released on the same day, as I remember. Years have passed since his release, and now you are digging it up again. I don’t know what’s wrong with the law.
Dawu Legal Team
July 19, 2021